Tuesday, September 01, 2009
What with the summer travel, painting the house, getting Caroline squared away for 8th grade, and general exhaustion (!), I've not been making any fiber art. I just think about the unfinished projects I have going -- which I really do want to finish one of these days! Really! -- but I haven't had any hunk of time to dive into a fabric project.
In the midst of the August Stuff, Jean Wells' new book "Intuitive Color and Design" arrived. I blocked off an hour and parked myself in a lounge chair in the back yard, and fell in love.
Wow. That was my immediate reaction to the book, and it's still my reaction every time I pick it up.
You all probably know Jean Wells from the big Sisters, Oregon quilt show, and from her appearances on Simply Quilts, and her books with her daughter Valori. But this new book shows a whole new side of Jean and her work. Jean says right up front that she was inspired by a workshop with Nancy Crow, and it's clear that Nancy Crow's work with linear design and solid colors have heavily influenced Jean's new direction. Still, the work shown in this book has that simple, direct, clarity that is instantly appealing.
What I especially like about this book is how Jean provides small lessons on seeing the world in a new way -- looking at lines and shapes, mainly -- and then on translating those new sights into cloth. She covers the artistic elements of design and composition, and then addresses sewing techniques for how to make designs in fabric. Jean pieces, so these aren't fused works -- but they're easily accessible to all levels of sewing ability.
Jean shows how she plays with designs in sketches, and then how the ultimate quilt resulted. (I love seeing the contrast between the original concept and the finished work.) She doesn't just stop at the quilt top, either. She discusses how to incorporate a quilting design that is compatible with the overall piece design, and she goes on to show various finishing techniques (including one that strikes me as rather odd an unappealing -- a square, pillow-esque construction she calls an "off the wall" quilt -- but that's just me... it's definitely different, and it may well appeal to some who want to finish their small pieces in a new and interesting way.)
This book is the first thing that has made me itch to get back to fabric -- not that I've been able to yet, but when I do, I'll probably have this book open and I'll be playing with an exercise or two!