It started with this plastic baggie filled with these intensely bright colored scraps of fabric. It’s part of Laura Israel’s collection. They have to be from the 1960′s or 70′s, they’re just too outrageous. This morning after looking through my Gee’s Bend Quilt book for inspiration, I pulled the baggie out of the box with the rest of Laura’s fabric and started playing.
That’s how I design my quilts, actually that’s how I’ve always, made art, I start with one small or big piece then just keep adding on. I don’t create designs with colored pencils and graph paper and I’ve never studied color theory (some may think that is obvious) although I know the basics. I just take one piece of fabric, lay it down on my rug then lay another piece of fabric next to it and keep at it until I have a quilt that looks right to me.
I like working on the floor. I’ve always preferred sitting on the floor to sitting on chairs and working on the floor, looking down at my quilt, being able to walk around it, has always been more natural to me. When I need to get some distance from it, I stand on a chair or my desk. I have no doubt it influences my design. But working on the floor makes me feel closer to the piece somehow, like digging in the garden, pulling weeds and putting in flowers. This is where it began, with that pink rectangle between the black piece of and the blue and green piece of fabric. The geranium fabric, in some ways the anthisis of those wild colors, also matched them and gave them some space and stabitlity. The dark green pattern and solid pink give it structure.
I got the center pieced together today. Tomorrow, when it’s all done, I’ll get to hang it on the wall and see what it looks like there. It’s always different, but never a surprise. It’s like pulling a print from a press for the first time. With a print you get the reverse of what’s on your plate, with my quilts it’s a different angle. And when it’s on your lap or on your bed, it changes again.