As I continue my creative work, I’m learning more about the importance of style. In my past life as a creative writer, I knew the styles I liked – my favorite was 19th-century fiction and poetry. I guess it is a little intimidating as a contemporary writer to hold your work up to Eliot, Dickens, Flaubert and Dostoevsky, or Baudelaire or Dickinson for that matter – though I still aspire to writing a novel of manners someday!
Now, as I pursue fiber art, I find myself leaning more towards contemporary styles in my quilting and other crafting. I am moving into the modern era, finally, after many years of studying history and styles from the past. Looking at Amish quilts and Gee’s Bend quilts has given me a jolt in this direction. I’m finding I can’t get enough of those amazingly creative works of art. I’m coveting some Gee’s Bend books that I saw in my library – they are rife with ideas.
Another step on my journey: simple but powerful modern quilts that I can make quickly with high-contrast colors. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I had a chance to visit the fantastic shop Back Porch Fabrics in Pacific Grove, California, which has a whole gallery of quilts along these lines. Inspiration is crawling all over the walls there! I only wish I lived closer, although that would clearly be dangerous to my wallet.
Starting small in this direction, I tried the “Stack the Deck” technique, courtesy of quilting author Karla Alexander, where you stack up fabric, cut it, and then move a few pieces to the bottom of the deck. It seems like a fun and fast way to make a modern quilt. I used Stack the Deck to make this gift – a table runner in Christmas fabrics. I love the contrast of red and green.
I didn’t quite use half green and half red, which might have made this look a little more “regular” looking. Instead I got funky. I hope this gift will be enjoyed!