teaching sewing confidence, tip by tip

Monday 23 May 2016

It Fell On The Floor - Art Quilt: Quilting By The Lake 2015

At Quilting By The Lake 2015, I took a 5-day Composing Composition workshop with Textile Artist/Quilt Maker, Cynthia Corbin.  

For 3 days we worked on different studies each day and at the end of the week, we could explore one of these studies further or work on a new piece.

Two of my studies I'm not ready to share, they're still WIPs and I won't to hang on to them until they've finished developing and becoming in my head - they've been on my design wall since I got home last July and I look at them daily.  The third piece I finished soon after QBL and I'm ready to share along with a little of my idea development/process.

On Day 3 we were told to take an element of a piece we'd worked on during Day 1 and add to/expand it to create a larger piece and it shouldn't be obvious that it's an extension of the Day 1 piece. 

I'd kept all my scraps from Day 1 so I placed them on the design wall (upper and lower left).  That was my starting point and then I took 'inherited from another student and the tutor' fabric and created a background piece (far right).

Over Day 1/2 I'd become frustrated with my need to plan things through to completion before starting a piece and during Day 2 I tried to move away from this way of working.  By Day 3 I was determined not to plan and to be more random so I decided that each piece would be attached using a different embroidery stitch and a different colour thread.  I wouldn't look what the stitch was I'd just press buttons on my machine and I would look what colour the thread was, I'd just put my hand in my thread box and pull a reel out.

By the time, I'd joined these 6 pieces I realised that far from being spontaneous I was busy making 'rules' for myself again.  I even had them all written down and pinned to the design wall to make sure I followed them correctly.

I immediately ditched the written rules and just did what felt right with each piece of fabric as I took it off the design wall.  I placed the background fabrics onto a further backing fabric and the scraps from Day 1 were placed on top in their original layout from the design wall.  Nothing is fused, hemmed or pressed not my usual way of working at all!!!

I free motion scribbled around the edges of everything to hold it in place.  I didn't cut my threads and I didn't stop stitching at any point I just sewed off one piece and across the background to where ever the next piece was that needed fastening down.

I purposely used red thread as the eye is always drawn to red in any work, be it a painting, quilt, whatever and I wanted my stitching method to be obvious and an important part of the finished piece speaking strongly to the viewer of my stitched journey.

I didn't have any batting with me to quilt the piece but I did have the batting I was using for my design wall so I cut a piece out of that much to everyone's amusement in class.

By the time I left QBL this is how the quilt looked.

And this is how it looks now hanging in my apartment's entrance hall.


When I'd finished attaching all the Day 1 scraps to the quilt at QBL I turned back to the design wall and spotted one of the scraps had fallen on the floor.  Rather than add it retrospectively to the front I quilted it into the back of the quilt.

Hence the name for my Art Quilt

It Fell On The Floor

This was an amazing class, the other students were wonderful and very supportive of each other and Cynthia is an incredible teacher.  The class was life changing for me, bringing to the surface emotions about my work and direction that I was locking away and Cynthia supported and encouraged me throughout and we have stayed in contact since, I feel it was one of those meetings and moments in life that was meant to be.

I'll write another post about QBL very soon but if you're interested in finding out more about this year's courses I'll leave the details here for you, classes are filling/full but I know there are still some places left.

Quilting By The Lake
17-29 July 2016

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  1. Well done for making a move from your usual way of working and into the exciting world of art quilting. I love to see your usual work and enjoy following you blog for its clean lines and the great tutorials you very generously share. I've learned a lot from you since I've been following. Your new piece is lovely and energetic despite the struggles you had with it and even if you never made another I bet it's opened you up to lots of new possibilities and you've learned a lot about yourself. I do like the idea of selecting a stitch at random on the machine. I might have a go with that myself. I love the title too. I once called a wall hanging 'They Made Me' because my friends entered me into a show and 'forced' me to make a quilt/wallhanging to go with theirs.

  2. This is beautiful! And improv is hard - great job Chris!

  3. It is so interesting to read about the thoughts and process that goes into making a quilt. It is strange how the mind takes over, even though we try hard not to let it, it slips back into familiar thoughts and patterns of thinking which hinders improv quilting and makes it so difficult. It is a skill for us to recognise it and centre ourselves back in the present moment. I am trying to apply mindfulness to the improve quilt I am about to make but even the decisions in choosing fabrics hinders the true meaning of improv. Thank you for sharing.

  4. I love this idea, and most especially the title. It does look (and is) art. And I'm thinking this is maybe the type of quilting that I want to try! Thank you so much for sharing at The Really Crafty Link Party! Pinned!

  5. It's amazing to see what a difference the quilting made. Maybe I'll be a brave as you one day.

  6. very cool. i like how the quilting made it a cool and unique piece. i love the title!

  7. Thanks you Chris for sharing how you created this beautiful at piece. Very inspiring. It is jewel in your hall!!

  8. This is a really interesting piece. I love how it came out.

  9. Love the name of this one! So fitting. https://tunaquilts.wordpress.com/

  10. What a lovely piece of art Chris. It certainly looks and sounds like the class was inspirational in all sorts of ways, you couldn't ask for more :)
    Thanks for linking up to New to Me too

  11. What a lovely piece of art Chris. It certainly looks and sounds like the class was inspirational in all sorts of ways, you couldn't ask for more :)
    Thanks for linking up to New to Me too

  12. I had to smile and chuckle when I saw the back... and your inspiration description! I love seeing the whole creativity process as you made your art quilt ... and then seeing how much of a difference the quilting has on the piece.

  13. What an interesting post. I think the finished quilt looks rather Matisse-like.

  14. It's so interesting to hear how you created the piece, I often find if I'm trying to do something random that unconsciously I start to follow rules again.

  15. Love to read about creative process that each of us takes, I tend to be 'go with the flow' although always start with a clear idea

  16. I looove this happy, scrappy creation! what a great title...it is almost a philosophy in a quilt!


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Chris Dodsley

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