What a class!

Last week was so busy and really exhausting for me.  I'm starting to feel the radiation fatigue.   Other than that it's going fine.  I have to make myself rest more because I'm used to running here and there.  Anyway, the class with Jean Wells, Intuitive Quilting, was an eye-opener for me in the color theory department.  It was really good to see how Jean thinks about color.  I'd admired her free pieced quilts recently and now that I understand where she's coming from, color wise, I can see I have so much to learn.

Our first task was to randomly select 5 strips of fabric from a stack that she supplied.  I was the last one there, so I got the dregs.  These are not my favorite colors, but I had to make do.  We arranged them according to what we thought was a value gradation.  Then Jean brought out the red plastic value finder.  I have known about these things for years, but never tried one.  It really was quite amazing to see how we all had our fabrics in the wrong order.  Once we figured out the true value gradations we were to make these free pieced squares.  We had to combine the values in different ways such as light center, dark border; dark center, medium border.   After making 4 of those we made the rest in whatever fashion we wanted.  Now, this is my kind of piecing.  I had lots of fun with these and it went quickly.  I think I'll  probably finish this into a mini quilt sometime.

Next, Jean showed us how to do these gentle curves.  I had tried this technique last year with great results.  One thing that was new to me was the technique for adding the really skinny strips.  If you click on the photo above you can see the little blue strip on the left and the tiny red piece inserted in it.  That was fun to do.

Jean showed us how she develops her color ideas.  My favorite illustration of this was the one above, in the first photo.  Here's a better look at it.  Jean says she often gets her color ideas from fabrics (especially Kaffe Fassett prints), photos, paintings, and magazine illustrations.  She has a design notebook full of clippings and such.  Here she took the colors in the fabric in the upper left hand corner and separated them out in solids (see the reds and greens just below and the grays in the upper middle.  Then she tried emphasizing the various colors- red, green or gray.  I love the different effects and can see how exciting it is to play around with these ideas.   

Next she talked about her method of designing a larger quilt based on a sawed off tree trunk. She had the photo and to provide the color she went to all the clippings you see here on the left side.  The mini quilt is a smaller study to prepare for the larger quilt.  This one was not free pieced because she wanted it to look exactly like the tracing she did of the photo (upper right).

I got some photos of some other quilts done in the free pieced style. I really love these and the colors are so inspirational, though the photos don't do them justice.  I like the subtle curves and surprising little bits of color.  This one is all solids which makes me really want to just focus on color this way and not have to worry about pattern. 

Jean took a class with Nancy Crow several years ago and that's when she started working this way.  One of the assignments she had in that class was to work in black and white and that was the ultimate test.  Taking quilting right down to the bare bones.  She showed a photo of the black and white study she did (I don't think it was ever sewn together) and it was quite striking.  She thought it reminded her of a nearby burned forest area in the snow.  Blackened trees against a field of white.

This one has a few prints mixed in with the solids for a nice effect.

On the second day we were given free reign to try any of these techniques.  I decided to develop a page in my brand new design notebook, courtesy of my sister, and used a greeting card for inspiration.  I chose this one for the colors and the design lines which would call for some curved piecing.

This is as far as I got during class.  Jean has kindly offered to have a follow-up class next week, so I hope to get a little more done on this before then.

The last thing we discussed was how to  finish a quilt with asymmetrical edges.  I like this facing technique and will be giving it a try sometime soon.  I think it's the same idea as what is presented in the Art Quilt Workbook, but I didn't understand how it worked until seeing it in person.  Jean also showed us some really great free motion quilting samples that gave me some ideas.  It was an exhilarating class that left my mind reeling.  I have so many WIP's right now that I'm feeling overwhelmed.  Luckily, I got the beading done on Chloe's quilt today and have only to add the sleeve.  Photos to come soon!