Sunday, June 25, 2006


I started a new piece of art on Friday. It was delightful. Really good to get the blood pumping. This is a design which has been percolating in my mind for months and months. I was thinking I'd make it big. You know, something 50ish or maybe even 70 to 80ish inches. In the past several months, I've made only very small quilts. Hardly anything over 20 inches. Mostly safe, wonderful little 4x6 postcards. Yes, yes we've discussed the concept of the fiber post card at length. Let's leave it for now.

So after all that small stuff, I really had no idea how to begin a large piece. Maybe that's why it's taken me so long to start. I decided to make a test piece. A sketch, some might call it. A trial. An experiment. And then move on to the real piece of art after I've worked out all the technical and artistic details.

So I had this going...

(That Dora plate is my circle template. Sarah has written about some wonderful professional circle templates on her blog recently. Me? I just dig through the kitchen for the right size.)

And then it sat for a day and I percolated some more.

And I thought about my fabric stash. Nothing bigger than half a yard in it. I just don't buy yardage. And I don't really want to, seeing as I have drawers of fat quarters and hand-dyed fat eighths.

And I thought about why art quilts have to be big. Certainly not to cover the bed. To enter shows? Some have largish size requirements. To sell? It seems more likely to me that the smaller stuff is more affordable and easier to find a place to hang.

And then I thought about doing a series of door, window, arch way, architecture quilts. And the blood started pumping again. But not about big quilts.

So maybe this is part of developing my own style. Finding the right size for me.

And speaking of developing my own style. I think I must swear off tote bags, aprons, pin cushions, sketch book covers and the like for the near future. Time to make art.


Joanne S said...

Some would see this as limiting but I see it as a very positive insight. Be true to yourself.

And it's the "art" that matters not the size. Go for it!

Melody Johnson said...

Yes one should make art the size it needs to be, and the art will tell what it needs.

Deb R said...

I think we all have a size range that is right for what we create and I see no sense in trying to artificially force your work into a different size unless it's for a specific purpose - a commission, say, or a show that means enough to you to make it worthwhile to work in their required size range.

I like what you've got going on your work table!

Debra said...

Yay! Ofcourse you should work on art! In the way, size and shape that you wish.

The rest? interesting distractions.

Sue Seibert said...

Deborah, I love what you are doing..and, hey, you're the artist, so whatever size you think is the right size for your work. This is art...for the sake of art, and then what you do with the finished piece is great, too!

Also, thanks for turning me on to Sara's blog.

Elle said...

I'm with you. I don't work big at all. My largest one is 40 x 42" and that's as big as I'm ever going. I tend to average around 20 x 30". I do believe that it's true that the art dictates the size, so I'll never say I won't go bigger someday. Just not anytime soon.

Julie Zaccone Stiller said...

I think you are onto something really key here Deborah. And I love the idea of the architectural details quilts, sounds like a good series to me.

Sarah Ann Smith said...

Woooohoooo..... she's back on a roll! and yes, the size the art needs to be...if it needs to be big, make it big. If it doesn't need to be big, make it the size it tells you it needs to be!

And yes, plates work great! I use them often! The advantage for me was that I was able to purchase my templates (most anyway) at wholesale, which helps, and that I can see through them to place the circle where I want on the cloth.. it's that thing about being so visual! Grin!

Toodles, Sarah

sher said...


I don't think you should be concerned about the pincushions, totes, etc., taking up creative time. Sometimes different things feed our creative appetite, and perhaps you've been 'nesting' in your new house. Besides, cute is fun.

I like your cards, and I can't wait to see what happens with the doors and windows!


Shelina said...

I like doors - and the concept of doing a theme of doors and windows.