Monday, 10 August 2015

Working in a Series, with Katie Pasquini Masopust

Before Katie's class I was supposed to make an art quilt. It was to be the first in a series of related pieces.

At the last minute, I still hadn't settled on an idea. Even if I'd had an idea, there hadn't been time to make a new piece while I was working on the Judge Certification Programme anyway. What to do???

I needed to use an existing piece.

My Ugly Fabric Challenge came with me to class. It was pinned up on my design wall for all to see.

Ugly Fabric Challenge posing as the first piece in my series.

It is not technically "art" since I'd made it into a cushion cover, PLUS, it was obvious I'd pieced it using Jean Wells' technique. I was worried about seeming pretty unoriginal and lame-o.

At any rate, it made an excellent jumping off point. I'd decided to set some parameters for my series based on the ones I'd used for my challenge piece:
  • Controlled colour palette
  • Abstract
  • Improv piecing 
I added one more requirement. I wanted my pieces to appear to glow from within.

A picture I'd taken over a decade ago became the inspiration photo for my first piece. I chose a colour palette, and I was set to go!

My inspiration photo for the "real" first piece in my series!

I started by creating a background.

Part way through I began auditioning fabrics for vertical lines and detail piecing.

I was still piecing at the end of day two, but felt quite pleased with how it was shaping up. It doesn't look like much in this photo, but in person it absolutely glows!

Number one almost pieced!

We were to move on to the next piece in our series as quickly as possible, so my first piece was set aside to be finished later.

While working on the first piece, I'd started imagining possibilities for my next piece. I'd decided to stick with the idea of trees - why fight it? - but didn't have my next step figured out. At. All.

That evening I was on the lookout for my next inspiration. Lucky me! I spotted this beautiful shrub outside the back window of the clock shop.

Inspirational shrubbery!

Better yet, it offered compositional inspiration for an abstract piece!

Piece two, well under way.

This time I reversed the colours, featuring yellows on a predominantly violet background. (Again, it does glow, but the classroom lighting did weird things to the colours.)

While I was working on my second piece, I'd started imagining possibilities for the next one . . . I loved working in a series! My brain was happy, happy, happy!!!

By the end of day four I'd generated an idea for a third piece - yay! - and taken a number of inspiration photos to help me along.

About the Class

In addition to circulating during the day, Katie made the rounds every morning to hear each person's plan and ascertain where help might be needed. She did another formal check-in at the end of each day to make sure everyone was on track.

Katie Pasquini Masopust

Katie didn't offer unsolicited advice. She worked on her own project in class so she wouldn't drive us all crazy (her words!), but was always available to help with creative or practical issues.

On the last day of class, the wrap-up allowed us to show our design walls and review our progress. Most boards showed remarkable growth.

Design Wall Wrap-Up

Marsha does beautiful work. In fact, she won first place in the 2015 "Wish Upon a Card" Michael Miller Fabric Challenge! (Follow the link and log in to FB to see her postcard).

I met Marsha in a class three years ago and we became fast friends! In fact, it's thanks to conversations with Marsha that I keep going back to Sisters!!! (It's all her fault! Ha!)

Here is Marsha's design wall. Her first piece is the top one on the left. Her series developed around the idea of making something beautiful from "unloved" bits and pieces that came out of a piecing workshop a while back.

Hi Marsha!!!

Everyone worked very hard. I'd love to show all twenty boards, but "in progress" pieces don't always show well without an explanation. As I'm unable to speak for each artist, I'll stick with things that are far enough along to speak for themselves!

Sharon's first piece is in the upper, left corner of her board. You can see how she grew in leaps and bounds with every piece!

Sharon's board

Karen's first piece is on the top, right corner of her board. Her series started with the idea of creating travel posters. Much to her surprise, her work morphed from realism into a more abstract style!

Karen's travel posters

I missed this person's name, but you can see she explored her "leaf" theme in a variety of ways. Her first piece is on the bottom, left portion of the board, and her last piece is the tree silhouette with the single leaf. She said it represents the end of her series - which I thought was very fitting!

Explorations of a leaf theme
Barbara's first piece is the top one. She wanted to show her natural hand-dyes to best effect in her designs. She made some amazing progress!

Barbara's natural hand-dyes

Grr! Another name I thought I had, but don't. This lady (I want to say Emily?) created whole cloth quilts using black stitching and fabric paints. We can't see the beginning of this series because she took her first piece home, but the one in the upper, left corner was her third piece. She has a fourth marked and ready to stitch in the bottom, left corner of her board.

Whole cloth quilts

It is fascinating to see new ways of working, isn't it?

The next board features one of Katie's techniques - paintings on canvas are cut up and reassembled into new compositions. (Beth has been in class with Katie before!) Beth's first piece is being held up on the right, and her third piece is on the left. I think Beth's work is getting stronger and stronger!

Canvas, reconfigured.

Mandy's first piece is obviously the one that is finished in the top, left quadrant of her board. She did a couple of colour studies, flipping her blues and reds in the bottom two pieces. The shapes in her pieces were inspired by architectural buttresses. Her work will look amazing once it is pieced and quilted!

Mandy's board.

And guess what??

During my turn in the wrap up, Katie commented that when she first saw my "ugly fabric challenge" she thought the leap I'd made from inspiration to quilt was genius! That comment made my entire week, I tell ya!!!

My board - photo by Katie PM

Thanks for stepping into the classroom with me!

Linking up with:
Design Wall Monday, at Patchwork Times
Main Crush Monday, at Cooking Up Quilts
Linky Tuesday, at Freemotion by the River

Try, Learn, and Grow!

Oh, hey . . . I am now active on Instagram!!!
Please look me up under my blog name, freshofftheframe, I'd love to see you there!
You'll know it's me when you see my usual mug shot!


  1. Thank you for taking us to class with you, Carole! Fascinating to see the progression through the week and your pieces are great!

  2. What I really like the most about this class description is the continuity you had by going back for 4 days and really getting some progress and progression in the work. That sounds like a great time, and getting to see how others work evolved is really fantastic, too!

  3. This sounds like a really interesting class, 4 days must have been great, and I love that it's so individual to all of you rather than producing anything generic.

  4. Fascinating class - I love the progression throughout the day and really like your glowing leaves!

  5. loved seeing how everyone progressed throughout the class- loved your glowing leaves- they really do glow!!

  6. Wow, the glowing leaves have depth and just pop right out. Wonderful.

  7. That looks like a lot of fun! your darker piece with the glowing leaves - That just tickles me - I LOVE it!!!

  8. I really enjoyed reading about your class. It looks so inspiring and a class that would challenge you out of your comfort zone. I love seeing the progress you and all the others made.

  9. Carole, if i was there i could spend a whole day just staring at these gorgeous quilts! I particularly love yours and yes you can see them glowing from within even in the blog images.
    You embark on such exciting quilting experiences!


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