Sunday, July 26, 2009

Journal Quilts

I am one of those quilters who seems to respond well to challenges. The confines of working under specific guidelines narrows my choices and for me, this results in more freedom. Not so many "what if" possibilities dancing around my mind at the same time! So this summer, I decided to undertake the construction of a new series of journal quilts. First I prepared backing, batting and background "sandwiches" - 10 to begin with - each measuring 9" X 11 1/2" (to be trimmed on completion to 8 1/2" X 11"). These are my "canvasses". Then, using the Art Quilt Workbook, by Jane Davila and Elin Waterston to guide me, I decided on 10 exercises:
1. Make a journal quilt in all cool colours.
2. Make a journal quilt in all warm colours.
3. Make a journal quilt in 4 cool colours and 1 warm colour.
4. Make a journal quilt in 4 warm colours and 1 cool colour.
5. Make a journal quilt that uses overlapping as a means to achieve perspective.
6. Make a journal quilt that uses relative size to achieve perspective.

7. Make a journal quilt that uses diminishing detail to achieve perspective.
8. Make a journal quilt that uses temperature to achieve perspective.
9. Make a journal quilt with rhythm.
10. Make a journal quilt with radial balance.
I only allow myself 1 - 1 1/2 hours to make each journal quilt, including binding it (for which I cut strips 1 1/8" wide, sew to the back and bring to the front and machine stitch in place). The two pictured here are my responses to the first two exercises. They're not meant to be works of art, but learning tools. The time limit doesn't allow for me going back and changing things too often, and I find myself working more spontaneously as a result. I'm keeping a little notebook in which I record of my response to each one, including things like lessons learned, and what I might do differently next time. I'm discovering how much I enjoy making small pieces, and how they seem to "prime the pump" for other creative work. I'll post a few more over the coming weeks.


  1. Very nice Pippa! After taking your journal class early this year with LGQG, I bought the Art Quilt Workbook, too. Haven't made the time to work through it yet, but your 90 minutes per quilt is a great idea and I think quite do-able for me (well, once the kids go back to school, that is!). I look forward to seeing more....

  2. Pippa, I just love the first one! (Not to cast aspersions on the second...) My reaction to it is almost visceral - the light, the dark, the cool blue, the warm green - simple but layered. Gosh, what a great 90 minute product! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I love the two journal quilts you show! Beautiful use of colours. The blue one in particular just speaks to me. Gorgeous!
    I enjoy challenges too. They force me to try something different, although I find I'm still inundated with the "what if's...."!