I took a workshop with Patty Hawkins way back in March, and I am finally done with the project I started there. I know, it certainly took me a while to get it finished up!
The workshop was sponsored by the Quaking Aspen Quilt Guild and I attended the 2-day event with two of my quilting friends, Ruth Chandler and Kathy Genz. There were about 20 of us attending (as I recall) and we had a really great time. Patty Hawkins is a wonderful teacher, and just a super nice person. I was so excited to be able to learn from Patty. Her work is absolutely stunning.
The focus of the workshop was on looking at patterns around us. Seeing the patterns in everyday objects and places. And then taking those patterns and creating a quilt background for your work. The idea was that having a more varied background makes your work more visually interesting. We then learned about overlaying your foreground focal pattern over the fun background. Most everyone seemed to be having fun with the process.
It seemed like most of the participants were using a nature scene or other photograph for their foregrounds. Which is what I intended to do, but the piece just called for something more abstract.
I started with a photograph of rocks along a riverbank. Then I played with the rock design a bit and chose some very bright and fun colors to use. The colors then spoke to me (you know they do that!) and the rocks started breaking apart and there were both negative and positive spaces used. It was quite fun and I almost wanted to just stop with the background. But I kept going, knowing that having a foreground would enhance the background. I wouldn’t lose the background at all.
I wanted a water type picture, as that seemed to be what was called for. I tried a few photos out to see if I could use Patty’s technique of using Tarlatan to sketch the design and use as an overlay. But none of the photos I had really seemed to work with the background. I finally decided I was not going to have a typical photo scene. But I still wanted a water atmosphere.
One of the photos I had considered was a dock scene with a lot of sailboats in it. I really wanted that look. So I started playing with the shapes and decided that the triangle shape was a perfect representation of the sailboat. So now I was off to decide which fabrics would be best for my triangles. Believe me I tried everything I had!
I finally thought that maybe the background was too bright, so I used a layer of black tulle over the background to mute it a bit. Then I added some random triangle shapes in different sizes of netting and tulle to create a shadow effect. Then I added the darker shapes of triangles over those, creating a spiral effect on the piece, which I really loved. Then another layer of tulle over that. I think it finally worked!
Then I just needed to add the quilting. I started with the sailboat shapes and just straight-line quilted them. Then I added a bunch of rounded rock shapes quilting (my favorite quilting pattern) over the top half of the piece. Then a more jagged and loopy quilting on the bottom half of the piece. I wanted it to seem like the sailboats were on water (the jagged and loopy part) and that the water was crashing on the shoreline (the rock shapes part).
I really like how it turned out and can’t wait to try the process again. And I can’t wait to take another class or workshop with Patty Hawkins!