I am a traditional quilter at heart. Making a block someone named "Monkey Wrench" or "Squirrel in a Cage" a century and a half ago makes me feel somehow proud and I'm not sure why. Is it a link to my fore-mothers on the prairie who, when needing another blanket reached for the only resource they had: scraps of some wearable that couldn't be used any other way? (Or was it the other way around: they had useless hunks of fabric and didn't have it in them to waste anything so they needled them together and found they made a bed covering?) Perhaps it's my desire to continue a truly American tradition that might be lost if we didn't remember those before us.
Frankly, it's probably a lot less noble a reason than that. I'm obsessed with COLOR. Walking into a quilt shop energizes me and I know the main reason is all the colors, patterns, textures and the combinations they create when I put them together my own, individual way. So, even though I might be creating a block pattern that's been made by other quilters 10 bazillion times, I know mine is totally unique: my color sense, my particular textural comfiguration my workmanship.
However, after a dozen plus years of practically maniacally putting these fabrics together into traditional quilts, I've begun to take that fork in the road toward a more 'art-sy' quilting experience. Who of us hasn't desired to make one of those "pictorial" quilts we've seen of someone's grand-daughter, with a couple handfulls of skin-tone hand-dyes creating the nuances of her face? Or a wall-hanging of the sunset over the Maui beach we once captured on our Vivitar.
Because of a friendly challenge to create a "self-portrait" I discovered an easy way to produce this type of quilt. (That's me holding the finished quilt at left). I call the class "Fusible Images". Taking a digital photo on your computer and manipulating it with photo software (pretty much everyone has this type of software installed on their systems whether they know it or not) and with the aid of Kinko's or another friendly, neighborhood copy center, you can fusible-web you way to a fabric photograph that will WOW! your friends.
Leave me a comment at the end of this page if you'd like to set up a class to learn this technique.