My Creative Process

Recently I agreed to take a Process Pledge and share how I work to design and make my quilts.

Firstly I should tell you that I make quilts just because I want to. I have no practical reason for quilts. I just like to make them.

I enjoy the thinking and problem solving processes involved in designing my own quilts. I want to do my own maths (there’s A LOT of maths involved in quilt-making), make my own mistakes (there are a lot of mistakes involved in quilt-making) and draw my own pictures.

My quilts do have a quality about them that makes them able to be identified as mine. People who have seen several of my quilts can tell at a glance that I designed a particular quilt. I don’t see that myself, but I quite like that I must have a style.

I know that I use simple piecing. I don’t really like sewing lots and lots of little pieces into lots and lots of little blocks to make a quilt. I prefer to whip up a pieced top in an afternoon. I know that every quilt I make has my drawings made into applique. I like to draw. I’ve always like to draw. I remember the day in grade 5 when I drew a kangaroo, looked down at it and realised that it really looked like a kangaroo. I feel proud that I can draw, so I include my drawings on every quilt I make.

Mostly my quilts are fabric inspired. I see fabric that I love and want to use it. It’s usually colour that attracts me to a fabric first. I love reds and browns and pinks and turquoises. I generally work within a fabric range.  I like to challenge myself to use as many fabrics from a range in one quilt as I can. When I see a fabric I begin to think about my drawings. I think, “That fabric would be perfect for pirates/ elephants/ dragonflies.” The piecing for a quilt is the last thing that I consider. I think of piecing as a way that the colours and design will bring your eye to my drawings.

I always think about the quilting when I am making a quilt. I want every element to work together. Long before the quilt is finished I know how the quilting stitches will pull the background back and allow the applique shapes to pop.

Along the way I have learnt a few very important lessons:

  1. Once a long time ago someone said upon viewing one of my new quilts. “Huh! All of your quilts are designed for children.” I had never noticed this, but on reflection realised it was true. For some time after that I tried to be a grown up and change the way I designed quilts. That was silly of me. I don’t really believe that I am designing a kids’ quilt when I am making it, but if that is how it turns out I don’t mind. I like kids and all kids should have quilts.
  2. I felt like a dodgy quilter for always working within a range. I thought the best quilters used a variety of fabrics and tried to change my process to seem like a clever fabric selector. Now I don’t worry about that at all. I admire that designers can use a limited palette of colours and designs to make 40 different fabrics that work together beautifully. I celebrate their cleverness in my quilts.

I recently read a quote and I am paraphrasing it here. It said that power and freedom come from not having to please. I think this is how I feel about quilting and perhaps about blogging too. I don’t do it to please, but it pleases me to do it. I am what I am and so are my quilts. I love my quilts, every one of them.

I feel creatively free when I make quilts for no reason at all.

I just want to make quilts… 


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19 responses to “My Creative Process

  1. I am the very lucky recipient of one of your quilts. I love to read about your creative processes but would just like to add that if your other quilts are like mine (and I know they are) then people know that each stitch in my quilt reflects the love and care with which you do your beautiful work.

  2. You say it so well. The freedom felt when not having to please anyone is wonderful.

  3. I love that you make quilts just because you want to! Me too. I would have trouble if someone commissioned me to make a quilt but they decided all the fabrics, colours and design elements. It would work if we had similar tastes, but if not, I’d have no interest in making it. I have the same[sort of] rule for making quilts as for buying clothes—if you don’t love it don’t buy/make it. In quilts I think the love and the passion come through. If they’re not there to begin with, what’s the point? And I love the idea of freedom coming from not having to please….when you’re not trying so hard you end up pleasing more!

  4. You lost me at maths. LOTS of maths. 🙂

    I love the product and find myself fascinated by the process and indeed do think you have a unique style.

  5. grandma

    And you make us so proud.

    I love the way you share – your knowledge, your skills, your passion, your technique (both learned and self-developed) and your colour selection. Your day job excellence flows on to quilts as your patience and skills as a teacher are so evident – from Chelsea at nearly nine to your mother and aunt.

  6. Your quilts are wonderful, and filled with joy, it seems to me. And, I think you make them for the best possible reason- because you want to.

  7. Oh, I hear you! I make things to totally please myself. I love that I have a story behind each and every thing I make. I’m very anti-quiltpolice and usually am quite brash about my anti-ness. In fact I am quite well known around these parts as breaking every rule in the so-called quilting handbook.

    I love your quilts, and I love the way your put your colours together. And as long as you love them most – that’s all that matters, right?

  8. I love your quilts & don’t think the appliques are childish at all. And if they are (which they aren’t), I guess I am childish too. So there.

  9. Rhu

    I adore your quilts, and know I will still adore them when I grow up. Whenever that may be. 🙂

  10. I love that bit where you said you don’t do it to please but it pleases you, and that blogging is the same thing. I think that is patently true and one of the reasons I like you so much xx

  11. THanks for sharing so much about why you quilt the way you quilt – it’w one of the reasons why i read blogs…for the why!

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