I had planned to provide an update on my quilting life in July as a midpoint for 2022. Yet, like many of you, I’m unsure where the time has gone. So now into early December, as the temperatures begin to cool, especially for us in The Coachella Valley, I best make it happen, or it will be the end of the year.
At the end of 2021, I had taken my quilting as far as I could go if I wanted to grow as an artist. I had accomplished many patterns and had taken a foray into color. Yet, until then, all that I learned was through watching internet lessons but very few actual classes. But before I discuss those classes, I do want to mention that the internet, especially numerous YouTube videos provided by fellow quilt experts, is phenomenal. These online videos make a perfect environment for anyone wanting to learn how to quilt or to learn to improve their current quilting experience.
There are so many videos that I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the sheer numbers that are available. So many designers have created their own patterns, fabrics, bags, and techniques-and to no fault to them; for a “type A” person like me, the feeling of being overwhelmed by it all. For some of us, the magnitude of the current quilting world can sometimes hinder or create barriers to our creativity. There’s just so much material, sometimes creating a sense of overload, and I had to find a way to calm the excess in order to make some progress.
At the end of 2021, I had come to a fork in the road of my sewing world. And two important events happened for me in early 2022, which changed my journey and progress as a quilter and now fiber artist.
The first thing that happened to me was that I intentionally set out to actively take classes (preferably with teachers who offered more than day courses) as a resolution to myself. This resolution led me to two excellent instructors, Carolina Oneto and Sheila Frampton Cooper.
From Carolina at www.carolinaoneto.com, I learned the importance of color, the beginnings of quilting without patterns, and different techniques beyond traditional sewing. Carolina has a wonderful online presence (@carolina_oneto on IG) and offers numerous classes, mainly using a Zoom approach. Additionally, she is tremendously generous with her time and is the most giving and kind teacher, especially to beginner students.
And Sheila, well, I can’t even begin to explain how she changed my fiber art life in 2022. I took a series of classes with Sheila (@sheilaframptoncooper), who opened my eyes to the world of curves and how to use them successfully. Sewing curves is a challenging sewing technique, but practice makes something close to perfect! I probably will forever be a curve sewing guy…..it just works for me, and I love the outcome. Sheila also taught me a lot about color, how to use color families to make a bold impact, and how to start appreciating improv piecing. I relate to Sheila also because of her story and how she found her way to quilting and fiber art which I find remarkable. It’s Sheila’s story, so you’ll have to befriend her and or take a class with her to learn from this incredible artist and teacher. See her classes at https://www.fiberartworkshops.art/courses/express-your-true-self-one-piece-at-a-time-january-2023
The second thing I did that changed my quilting journey was that I attended Quiltcon 2022 in Phoenix in February. Quiltcon, which for those of you who don’t know, is a wonderful convention or meeting that encourages a more modern approach to sewing, perhaps more wall art than something you would place on a wall. You can read an earlier Blog of mine that discussed my experience at Quiltcon, but in a nutshell, that experience literally changed the way I sew. In fact, I call the art I now accomplish fiber art, or the use of fabrics and sewing to produce art pieces. Anyway, at Quiltcon, I learned that there is another way of quilting that is very different than traditional quilting. I also met many outstanding artists and discovered a sense of permission to sew differently and even to think differently than I ever had before.
So mostly, I have stepped away from traditional quilting and using patterns to create my art. But as I was leaving the realm of pattern quilting in January of 2022, I created the quilt “Most Days,” which was my first quilt ever selected to hang at a National Quilt Show. Most Days consists of 90 blocks from the Tula Pink excellent pattern book “City Sampler: 100 Modern Quilt Blocks” (@tulapink), along with 10 of my own created blocks. The colors of pink, aqua, acid yellow, and orange were inspired by the works of Jennifer Packer (https://www.sikkemajenkinsco.com/jennifer-packer), an extraordinary African American artist that I was lucky enough to see her exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC. My favorite painting of hers, though they are all amazing, is”Blessed Are Those Who Mourn (Breonna! Breonna!!).
Anyway, “Most Days” was juried into “A Celebration of Color” for the International Quilt Festival, traveled to Salt Lake City, Long Beach, and Houston, and continues on the circuit into 2023 to other cities in the US. This quilt will always be my favorite because it was the one that showed me that my quilts can be enjoyed by a broader audience and symbolizes that I might have something to say with my work.
So 2022 was a good year for me. I have entered more quilts into major shows…..but a discussion of those may happen in my wrap-up blog for 2023.
What’s my point about all of this? If you feel stuck or overwhelmed by all this fantastic art form of quilting, seek education from some of the quilting experts and consider attending a quilt show like Quiltcon or the International Quilt Festival.
Tune in at the end of December when I’ll share some of my plans for 2023 (including news about two educational opportunities I have planned—yes, a trip to THE BARN)!!! I’ll also present a wrap-up of the quilts and fiber art that gave me the most joy in 2022.
Until then……thanks for reading!!!!