Where does your creative inspiration come from? Is it in line? Colour? From nature? All of the above? If you’re like most creative types inspiration comes from everywhere and from everything. What a quilter can conceive they can achieve. When thinking of the quilting greats in the arena of contemporary quilt design so many names come to mind. Just to name a few: Michael James, Joe Cunningham, the late great Yvonne Porcella, and relatively new to the modern quilt scene, Tamara Leberer who creates amazing quilts using a technique called silk fusion. Looking at their designs I get really inspired and find myself looking at every object, every amazingly designed fabric and every bit of colour with new eyes – with creative quilting eyes. Their designs inspire me to dig deep within myself for that something different only I can bring to my own quilting creations.
And that’s the wonderful thing about observing and learning from those that come before us in the quilting world. Not for us to copy what someone has already done (because seriously, who can copy the complex yet simple beauty of a Yvonne Porcella quilt?) but to take their work as a jumping off point to our own unique ideas. Seeing the accomplishments of other designers gives us the inspiration to attempt and succeed in our own.
Because I’m always looking for inspiration, I love attending trunk shows and quilt exhibits and when they are available, to take a class from an inspiring teacher. I never fail to walk away from these events feeling refreshed in my personal ideas and thoughts about what I can take from their techniques to make it my own with my unique interpretation. The saying is that ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’. But I think taking a creative spark from an inspiring teacher in order to walk down my own artistic path is much more gratifying.
A beautiful piece of fabric by inspiring designers (let’s name names….Tula Pink, Anna Maria Horner, Cotton + Steel ….) can be the beginning of a concept quilt. It only takes one piece of fabric. One bit of colour. One inspired design… to open the window to the next masterpiece made by me. Unique to me and only me.
Learning is unique to the human experience. There is always something new to learn in the ever changing, ever inspiring world of quilt making.
I’ll see you at the next class.