I recently facilitated an Improv Round Robin workshop and spoke at the Santa Clara Valley Quilt Association. When I asked the 300 or so members present at the guild meeting, if they had improvised a quilt, more than two-thirds raised their hands! Improv patchwork is catching like wildfire, even in the long established guilds.
The Improv Round Robin was super fun. I was so impressed by the cohesiveness of the group. You can see by the outcome of their quilts that they listened and responded with skill and courage! Click on the thumbnails to get a closer look.
If you participated in this or one of my other Improv Round Robins, or have organized one on your own with friends, I want to hear about your surprises, discoveries, satisfactions and dissatisfactions! Please share!
Oui, oui je suis à Paris France!
La ville la plus romantique dans le monde. Paris est beau! Plus venir…
The most romantic city in the world. Paris is beautiful! More to come…
QuiltCon registration is opening soon. Wondering which workshop to take? I’m debuting three improvisational workshops and a lecture based on projects featured in my forthcoming book, The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters, which will hopefully be available at QuiltCon – finger’s crossed! I just saw the first galleys of the book design and it’s so exciting…
Anyway back to QuiltCon choices.
Thursday February 19: 2 – 2:45 PM Improvisational Process and Patchwork
Improvisation is a process of mind at the heart of every great creative endeavor. Music, dance, theater, painting, drawing, design, cooking, conversation, relationships, play, life, and even science benefit, survive, grow, transform, and innovate through the flexibility of mind that improvisational process engenders. We all improvise every day, so why not bring it into our quilt making! This multi-media presentation includes images of classic African-American quilts in the improvisational style, new work featured in The Improv Handbook For Modern Quilters (available early 2015), student work, and time-lapse video of my process.
Friday, February 20: 030 Bias Strip Curves
Master the innovative improvisational technique of strip piecing on the curve with troubleshooting tips on how to flatten internal distortions as they arise. Explore construction methods for incorporating bias strip curve piecing in both traditional and improvisational compositions. This technique will challenge your skill set and awaken your beginner’s mind.
So this isn’t an easy class, but that’s the whole point. The challenge presented by tricky piecing situations is a gateway for improvisation and innovation. Not only will you learn how to strip piece on the curve without the use of a ruler or templates, you will be encouraged to discover, master, and innovate your own unique set of patchwork techniques based on the skills you already have. Take this workshop if mastering challenging techniques and/or working with curves lights your fire!
Saturday, February 21: 512 Improvisational Patchwork Doodling
Doodling is the model for this playful approach to improvisational patchwork. A doodle is not planned or random, but responsive. You will be urged to let go of expectations and commit one-step-at-a-time as you build patterns with simple shapes and negative space into a surprising composition, utilizing basic ruler free sewing techniques.
This is going to be a totally fun and playful workshop. You will learn how to create a quilt responsively –a middle path that falls between random scrappiness and planned blocks. All the ruler-free patchwork techniques are easy to master and you get to use scraps. Working with simple shapes outside the structure of the block, will give you a fresh take on patterning. Adding negative space to the simple shapes has the potential to rock the house! Take this workshop if you are inspired by scraps and have the desire to push beyond scrappy to make a quilt greater than its parts.
Sunday, February 22: 513 Improvising From A Score
A jazz score indicates the elements of a song without specifying how it’s played. Now imagine a score written for patchwork! You will improvise a quilt by altering the limits of a simple patchwork score for floating squares. You will learn basic ruler free sewing techniques and how to create original scores for future projects.
This workshop explores the central concept put forth in the Improv Handbook, working with and passing along flexible patterns, which I call scores. We are used to passing along fixed patterns with the goal of replicating them perfectly. When a flexible pattern is handed on from one quiltmaker to another it is the range of possible variations of a pattern that is transmitted instead. We will learn flexible patterning by making and altering the score for Floating Squares. Take this workshop if you want to learn how to create and share your own flexible patterns. This is Improv 2.0!
BTW – If you can’t make it to QuiltCon, I just signed up to teach two-day, and three-day improv workshops at Quilting By The Lake in July 2015… or invite me to teach at your local guild or quilt shop. I still have dates available in 2015!
I’m on the East Coast for the next two weeks and VERY excited to be teaching at Spoonflower for the Triangle Modern Quilt Guild, at Tabby Fabric and Studio in beautiful Beaufort, SC and for the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild.
Check out the event details on daintytime.net or on the new Facebook GROUP for the Improv Handbook. When you join click on “Notifications” in the top right corner under the cover photo and choose “All Posts.”
Also the workshops and lectures for QuiltCon have been announced. They have a very impressive lineup in 2015. There will be a lot of improv goin’ round! I will post in more detail about the three brand new improv workshops I’m debuting at QuiltCon before registration opens on June 24.
PS> Yes, in case you’re wondering, I must have been unconsciously inspired by the Spoonflower logo when I was making Daisy. It wasn’t intentional it just happened? I don’t know where this stuff comes from ;)
First I want to thank the 230 plus people who participated in testing out the project scores for the Improv Handbook. As a group you submitted 164 quilts to be reviewed for the book. Each one of them was amazing in it’s own way. My editor was very pleased and we both felt like this was a good sign that the time is ripe for a book that provides an in depth exploration of improvisational process for quilters.
Because of budget restraints we were only able to choose 22 quilts for print publication. HOWEVER there will be an online forum that will include all 164 of the test quilts submitted so far. Together they are quite wonderful to behold! I can’t wait for you to see them. The online forum will be posted when the book is released in the spring of 2015.
If you signed on but were unable to finish your test quilt for the book deadline, no worries – you have the rest of the year to finish and submit your quilt for the online forum. Just follow this link: Improv Handbook Test Quilt Submission Form. This is for new submissions only. The 164 quilts already submitted for the book, will automatically be included in the online forum.
That being said I want to pose a question to ALL the test quilters, AND more widely to EVERYONE who improvises through patchwork or through other creative disciplines.
What are the forces that drive and support your improvisational process and the forces that restrain and block your flow? Many of the people who submitted quilts for the book wrote about feeling stuck, or getting lost, or almost giving up before they were able to move forward with a composition that surprised them and that they ended up loving.
Please elaborate if this is your experience. I would like to hear about what blocked you – both internally and externally. Were you blocked by not having a sense of control? Overwhelmed with choices? Not enough choices? Not having a design wall?… whatever it may be.
Also I would like to hear about the driving forces, internally and externally, that support your improvisational work. Does curiosity or the desire to explore something new drive your exploration? Does a submission deadline for a show or a book motivate you? Does working in community support your success or does the solitude of your studio help you most? What else?
If there were forces restraining your improvisational flow how did you move past, overcome, or undo those forces to move forward?
Please comment below on your experiences with driving and restraining forces that either support or block your improvisational process. I’m writing about this in the book and would very much appreciate your input. Thanks!