Here are some photos from the Get Your Curve On workshop organized by Alison of the East Bay Modern Quilt Guild, held at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church on Saturday. I was so impressed by the level of work of the participants. These folks jumped in without looking back. This is not an easy workshop for several reasons.
Curve piecing without a predetermined pattern requires skill and a lot of practice. The techniques require improvisation to master. Sure I can give an outline of how I do it but each person has to master the material through exploration. There are plenty of ways to piece a curve.
Mastering and improvising the technique is challenging, but the deeper challenge is improvising a curvy composition. No matter how well I compose and sew my curves, as soon as I sew one section into place, I alter the composition. There is absolutely no way to set the design in stone before I piece it together. It’s kind of like the Heisenburg uncertainty principle:
In quantum mechanics, the uncertainty principle is any of a variety of mathematical inequalities asserting a fundamental limit to the precision with which certain pairs of physical properties of a particle, such as position x and momentum p, can be known simultaneously.
It is impossible to know the precise position and momentum simultaneously of a composition when piecing curves! And this is what came clear to me on Saturday: The only way to succeed is to commit one step at a time without any expectation of a final outcome. With each commitment the landscape shifts. BTW – this is the way trusting and enduring relationships between people unfold as well. It’s as hard to do in quilting as in life!
It’s easy to fudge and bypass a true experience of improvisation with wonky log cabins or pulling random strips of fabric out of a bag, but Modern improv curve piecing forces one to work on the edge of the unknown. THIS is improvisation. It’s inescapable and it’s a big pill to swallow. Some of the students said they kind of hit the wall with it but I assured them that the big pill is a time release capsule. The lessons of improvisation will sink in with practice.
I invite anyone who has studied improv curve piecing with me this Saturday or this summer at the OCMQG workshop to comment below on the one thing big thing they took away from their experience of the workshop.