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    Pattern for the Ormen Lange bargello quilt

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Inspiration to quilt

Eva at the blog “Lappedamen” has invited quilting bloggers to write about what inspire their sewing.

That is easy, I thought, – but when thinking about it some more, it was not really so easy after all. There is no single answer to the question of what inspires my works. I might as well say “Everything”, only that is not very precise, and is certainly not reflected in my works, as I have not made all that many quilts.

I could also say “Anything”, which is true in the sense that the most unexpected things could somehow inspire or influence a quilt in some way or other.  But, – as a rule, – I am more often inspired than actually getting to make the inspirations materialize into quilts.  There are thousands of ideas, but only very few make it to the fabric and thread stage.

I decided to take a tour through my gallery and try to recall what had actually inspired the quilts there.

I find there are several stages to go through before the initial inspiration has become a quilt, depending on what the inspiration is.  The easiest thing might be to be inspired by an actual quilt, to want to make one exactly like the original, – or at least as close as I can get, – and there also happens to be a written pattern for the quilt.

That is what I did with the quilt above. The only difficulties here will be to get hold of the pattern (Book by Piecemakers), the right fabrics, and then have enough time on my hands to actually make the quilt.

Sometimes the inspiration is to learn a new technique. That was also the case in the above quilt. I saw the quilt, and wondered how on earth to go about making it, – which was not too difficult once I had the information. After I had made  the one above, I was further inspired to make use of the technique to make something different, so I then drew and made my second bargello quilt.

That one quilt can inspire the next one, is quite often the case.

After I had finished the pulpit hanging above, which was a commission, and I therefore had to stick to the original plans, – I wanted to do something else with grapes on it.

On this wall hanging I could work freely, choosing fabrics, colours and placement on the spur of the moment, without being bound by previous plans. After having worked on commissions for a while, I always feel the need of doing “my own thing” – either inspired by the quilts I have been working on, or doing something completely different.

I see that many of my quilts have been inspired by what could be classified as “nature”. I love taking photos, and when capturing beautiful motifs with my camera, – whether it is a lovely flower or a breathtaking sunset, – I often wish “to make a quilt like that”. Of course, most of them never happen, – it takes a lot more than a vague wish for quilts to materialize.

I would have to decide on a motif, or combine two or more motifs, – then decide if I want it to be “exactly” as in the photo, or a more abstract rendering. Next, I must decide how to go about making it, – what materials to use and how to put them together, – then make drawings and pattern pieces if needed, audition colours and fabrics (my favourite part)………  …… and actually make it.

The wall hanging above was a bit special in that the landscape motif was not taken directly from a photo, but was already a painting. That made it easier to translate it into fabric, – a photo has a lot more details, and most often needs to be simplified for applique.

The quilt above is inspired by sunset, – not a particular scene, but  just a general idea of the colours  displayed when the sun is setting over land and water. A similar “idea” was shown in one my recent posts about ice.

With all the new technologies that keep appearing in our time, we now have a wider choice of means and methods when making those nature inspired quilts.

This is a combination of two photos, the two photos were worked into one on the computer, and also made half transparent, before it was printed on some handpainted fabric from Skydyes .

Sometimes things that just “happen” when “playing” with photo editors on the computer, can also end up as quilts.

I was working with a photo of a yellow rose, doing lots of different things to it, and saving some stages, – and then I started to group some of the resulting photos, and liked the effect. Stems and leaves were added before everything was put onto a bacground (I actually tried several before choosing one), and printed on fabric.

I think I must stop here before I bore everybody to death, – and maybe go making some quilts instead of just talking about it. 🙂


5 Responses

  1. You have so many beatiful quilts in this post. It was a very inspiring article. I fell in love of the appliqued landscape and the quilt inspired by the sunset. Stunning! Thank you for taking the challenge to write about what inspires you.

  2. Dear Eldrid,

    You have always shared so much of your inspiration and also have been inspiration for quilters around the world. Each one of the quilts showed in this post is unique.
    I was thinking, couldn’t you share more on the Edmund Cluett’s method of small scraps? The small quilts you have made after his workshop were so beautiful, and I have waited for another one, the one with the mushroom… Anyways, Edmund has shutdown his website, what has become of him? Has he returned from Asia? A lot of questions, I am sorry.
    Thank you very much for this wonderful post.

    • Thank you for your kind comments, Alexandra.
      I will put the Edmund Cluett method on my to-do list. Actually, I have also seen other artists constructing their work in tha same way long before I met EC, but his works are very colourful. Many miss his website.
      As far as I know he is still employed at the United World College at Flekke http://www.rcnuwc.no/index.html , I saw him mentioned as one of the staff who was to meet the Queen when she was to visit the college a couple of weeks ago (the visit was cancelled due to volcanic ash flight restricitons). After the trip to Asia, he has been involved in an exchange program in Western Sahara http://www.sahanor.org/index.html , so I guess he is rather busy and has other priorities now.
      They kept a blog during the Asia trip, – lots of inspiring photos there: http://edmundcluett.net/volunteer/

  3. I enjoyed visiting your blog.Thanks for the inspiration.

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