This challenge stumped me. Even though I had a couple scenarios and memories to draw from, I could not imagine a way to put them into a visual design. So instead, I decided to use the process of making this quilt to challenge my own perceptions.
I'm a planner. Especially in the studio. I never cut fabric or start sewing until I have a vision of what the completed piece will look like. (or at least what I hope it will look like).
This month's challenge for me: create a quilt in such a way that I'd have NO IDEA what it would look like when finished. The process of making this piece was a direct rebellion against my meticulous, control-freak, pre-planny nature.
A few years ago, I bought a kit that included a bunch of African-themed fabrics cut into squares. But I never used it. The fabrics were so different in style, color, pattern and texture from what I am used to, I had no idea how to organize them. I couldn't picture the finished piece in my mind – everything was too random. Perfect for this challenge!
Here are the ground rules I gave myself:
1. I had to cover roughly a 18x24 area
2. I had to use each fabric square in whatever order I took it out of the bag. NO looking, no skipping.
3. The only editing I could do was to flip the fabric so it would be face up.
Several squares struck me as downright ugly and I was tempted to leave them out. But I used all the squares. I thought the result would be something wildly busy, jarring and without logic. However, when all the squares were together they seemed to make sense. Even with the random patterns and colors, to me the composition seems joyful, even soothing in a weird way.
For the quilting, I wanted to continue with this unplanned, spontaneous experiment. I did some of the quilting from the back and some of it with my eyes closed. This could possibly be the ugliest, most incoherent quilting I've ever done. Still, I can't bring myself to NOT like it.
I made it, but it doesn't feel like it speaks for me. It has a life of its own.
Some viewers might say "That doesn't look like Kate Themel's work". They'd be right. It's not what most people (including myself) would expect from me. I guess that was the point of this challenge, in a way.