Welcome to Improv Mondays, a weekly series exploring improvisation in quilt making.
Traditional quilt making involves a lot of repetition – from the cutting of shape-after-shape out of the cloth, to sewing the pieces together block-after-block, to the in-and-out of the thousands of stitches it takes to hold a quilt together.
Although repetition is only one of an infinite number of ways to approach improvisation, it can also be understood as a cause for improvisation. When I finally get bored at repeating something long enough my mind yearns for a change and I make a mistake, oops I mean improvise, or go into a trance! One way to explore repetition through improv quilt making is through a score I call Modern Block Improv:
- Choose any traditional block pattern as the beginning score.
- Alter the block pattern as desired through multiple repetitions.
- Alterations may include, scale, size, order, color, value, etc.
- Alterations may result in more complex or simplified iterations of the pattern.
- Not every block has to be used in the finished quilt.
I improvised the piece shown above using the Hole In The Barn Door as my beginning score. Can you identify my first block? Can you follow the order of my iterations?
I heard the Mattie Bye Ensemble do live TRANCE IMPROV at a club in Oakland a couple of weeks ago. It was a fantastic! Here’s a taste of what it was like.