Steps to Designing My Art Quilts

My design process for my art quilts begins with an inspiration.  It might be a building I have admired, interesting subject matter I have seen when traveling, or a

sunday morning solitude photo inspiration

My design process includes photo inspiration.  “Sunday Morning Solitude” photo inspiration.

beautiful garden.  When I see something that just begs to be made into a quilt I start taking photos.  Not just one or two, but many photos from all different angles.  I like to capture the way light plays on the subject matter.  From all of the photos I may use one or a combination of the photos as the basis of the quilt design.  Selecting the subject matter and inspiration photo is just the first step of several in the process of creating one of my art quilts.

Although I may use the photo or photos as they are for a realism quilt, I often like to play with them in Photoshop, a photo editing program.  In Photoshop I can tweak the lighting, brightness, balance and exposure, and try other effects to alter the coloring, composition, and texture until I find something that has artistic appeal.  When I am satisfied with my computer design, it is time to start working on the quilt.

I determine the finished size of the quilt before starting the project.  If it is a commission quilt, I work with the client to determine the size for the intended display space.  A full size pattern is made that I use for cutting the puzzle pieces of fabric and laying out the design.  After many hours of design and prep work, fabric selection can begin.  I spend a lot of time selecting just the right piece or snippet of fabric, usually commercial cottons, to represent the color, value, light or shadow represented in the design.  Puzzle pieces are cut, fused into place, and finally sewing and quilting complete the project.  Quilting really makes the quilt come alive.  The thread used in quilting define areas, provide shading, and give the quilted art its “voice.”

Video of Marcia doing the fine detail quilting on Girasole da Magione.



Read more about this commission art quilt and see how it all came together.

Galleries that illustrate the design stages.

Two galleries below illustrate the design stages that I might use to design and complete an art quilt.  Each series of photos begins with the original photo which has been altered to give it a totally different look using Photoshop (second photo).   After much work, the third photo is of the completed quilt and the fourth photo shows detail of the quilt.

Blue Gerbera Daisies


Gardening Dreams