Monday, July 25, 2016

Design Wall Monday

Freeing the Muse

Music City Modern Quilt Guild hosted Michelle Wilkie for a design workshop Saturday. She is a NC transplant from New Zealand, has a degree in marine biology and works in the technology industry in Cary.
Michelle Wilkie (quilt shown with permission)

A relatively new quilter, Michelle takes a well organized approach to the creative process. First she showed several of her own quilts and described the inspiration -- from traffic signs to indigenous art to architecture -- and how she loosely interprets what she sees. Sometimes it is obvious, other times not so much.

During the workshop she led the group through a series of quick design exercises to get our creative juices flowing. 

NYC Cityscape - my interpretation
In one exercise we had to work from photos that we had brought for both color and design inspiration. After my recent Frank Lloyd Wright pilgrimage, I have been wanting to translate some of his decorative art into a quilt. Specifically, I want to use the fireplace frieze in the Hollyhock House (Los Angeles) as the basis for a quilt.

The modernist bas-relief above the fireplace at the Hollyhock House
Photo by Joshua White

My first attempt
The most difficult thing for me is the ability to divorce myself from a literal interpretation of what I see. I just need more practice.

Michelle wrapped up the day talking about construction, getting an original design from paper to fabric by breaking it down into sewable components.

What a great way to spend a steamy hot Saturday!

Linking up with Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday.


  1. Looks and sounds like your type of workshop. Glenda would have loved it too. I would have been totally confused as usual. I like your first attempt!

  2. Sounds like an interesting workshop! I like that sort of brain-stretching activity. Happy playing!

  3. That workshop sounded so great. I used to design quilts while sitting in boring meetings. Being retired I am rarely bored and thus do not do as much designing. I think I will try to use what you shared to get back into that portion of creativity. Thanks.

  4. What a wonderful way to remember your vacation. I am looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.

  5. Sounds like a fascinating workshop. Your fireplace frieze sketch has some interesting possibilities. There's a design exercise where you take a portion of a sketch and exaggerate or distort it over several iterations to generate a new design. So many inspiring elements in that FLW house!

  6. How interesting! I look forward to seeing how you interpret the Hollyhock House design when it comes to cutting and sewing.

  7. I like your starting sketch. I agree that it is difficult to get away from a literal interpretation. I find if I put the original photo away and work from my sketches, distance comes quicker.

  8. Very interesting! I can't say I've attempted this kind of interpretation but it looks like a lot of fun to play with the elements!


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