I am fascinated by pictorial quilts. There is something wonderful about the ways in which images can be translated into cloth. Photographs ….especially my own pictures……have been the inspiration for many of my pictorial quilts. Using photographs as the basis for my quilts has lead me to think differently about taking photographs — to consider what features of an image make it a good candidate for a quilt. Along the way, I discovered a great deal about the process of abstracting a photograph into a sewable quilt design and the qualities about photographs and pictorial quilts that render them related yet visually distinct. Traditional methods of patchwork piecing and the wonderous array of cotton fabrics are the heart and soul of the quilts I create — quilts that are inspired by photographs yet are unapologetically and squarely grounded in the traditions of quiltmaking. In hopes of providing ideas and inspiration for how to think about design elements in quilts, I’ve added this series of short discussions. Creating interesting quilt designs from photographs is foremost a visual process, one that requires careful looking. How we experience pictorial quilts visually is heavily influenced by the nuances of piecing and fabric selections.
The quilts I make are abstractions of the photographs and drawings I use as inspiration. Abstracting an image into a quilt design winnows away the details to uncover the essence of the subject, the grace of seams and the textures of cloth that express the subject.
In the short pieces that follow, I briefly explore aspects of this creative process — translating Photos into Quilts.