Art quilts seem to fall into two categories…the more realistic which are often based on the use of applique techniques and abstract which are usually pieced. I admit a bias to piecing which keeps me closer to original quilting roots of our ancestors even though I run like crazy from the tradition block designs.
It was abstract designs which first led me to sewing curves and mosaics and I haven’t looked back! With abstract designs I try to capture the “essence” of a subject, such as my landscapes, sunsets and beach/ocean quilts, or just a beautiful combination of colors as with my curved colorful quilts or abstract mosaics. The blue abstract at the top of this blog is meant to be the essence of the ocean. The blue green mosaic on the right is a collection of colors that sooth yet inspire me with the lightest fabrics in the middle reaching out like a beam of light. The autumn colors in the small quilt below capture the essence of that season.
Abstracts give you permission to explore color, different fabrics, and design. I find that the fabrics themselves can add depth or texture to a quilt design. Sometimes it is just a peek or an unexpected color in the elbow of a curve that absolutely makes the quilt perfect.
I started making abstract curved piecing by identifying 6-8 fabrics and colors. Then I moved on to a larger selection of colors and bigger quilts. Some of my favorites are the triptych abstract designs which have the colors and designs traveling from one quilt to the next. See the picture of a triptych in my shop shown above a queen size bed. I have made abstract art quilts to add a punch of color in a room, finding it easier to bring the design of the room together with carefully selected fabrics for a wall quilt.
The design is driven by the curved cuts of the fabrics, one on top of each other. I often don’t have a firm idea of how the next piece will be cut. And sometimes I make a mistake and must take a piece off and start again with that fabric. What works is what is pleasing to your eye a there are no rules!