My Role Model for Fabric Play

rachel1Doesn’t this picture just make you smile? I love the colors, the lines, the sense of play that radiates from it. I first saw this picture in a quilting blog, and I loved it. I especially loved the fact that the writer of that blog, Rachel, used it as a homework assignment for herself–in fabric play for a potential quilt. However, as much as I liked it, I didn’t really do anything with it at the time.

Then in March, I went with a friend to see one of the Taiwan performances of Shen Yun. The dancers were mesmerizing, and the techniques of classical Chinese dance were breathtaking. I didn’t blog about the performance after I saw it, though I did plan to. It is not an exaggeration to say that I was awestruck. But in addition to the stunning performance itself, I found myself lost in the flow, the textures, and the vibrant colors of the costumes. In my mind, I couldn’t help but imagine the magic that would result if I could do some fabric play of my own with the unusual–almost unworldly–color combinations I was seeing on-stage. Of course, photographs weren’t allowed. After the performance, I spent a lot of time on their website learning more about the dance itself, but the links to the costumes didn’t do justice to what I had seen in person.

Even though I can’t capture the exquisite colors from the performance, I still love the idea of color/fabric play. But since I wasn’t doing a lot of quilting at that time, the idea just kind of went to the back burner. Until June, when the idea once again started haunting me. I wanted to find the picture and fabric selection that inspired me to think about color in a new way–pull from the palette of the activities of life. I decided to write to the three quilt bloggers who I was following at that time.

rachel2Rachel was my second attempt, but she responded to my email graciously with the links you see below. She also gave me permission to use three of her photos. So here are the fabrics she pulled from her stash to recreate the colors from the photograph. They make me want to grab a rotary cutter and set up my machine. Luckily, I do get a quilting play date in two more days! Not with this color palette, but with the coffee cup wall hanging that I recently finished planning.

A month later, or on February 18 to be exact, Rachel published the second post that’s listed below. In this post, she showed the finished quilt, and I was in love rachel3all over again. I just can’t get enough of this color combination. No doubt I will have to give it a try myself some time. Even though I have two projects on the horizon, it feels good to really feel a creative future. In the February 18 post, Rachel had this to say about the finished quilt:

      I want to make more quilts like this. Not this style or color or whatever, but  the feel of this. The feel of combining exciting ideas, watching the pieces come together without too much fuss, no rush, yet challenge and a sense of meaningful growth.

Those are some of the same things I remember loving about quilting when I’ve been involved in it. These are the reasons why it is important that I am bringing it back into my life on a regular and ongoing basis. Every time I start blogging about quilting, there is a part of me that emerges, a part of me that hasn’t always been listened to. But now, that voice is coming to the surface more often and staying longer than before. I know it’s fall, but for me, there’s a feeling of spring in this feeling of emerging creativity.

I recommend you check out the posts below, along with the rest of Rachel’s blog. Her blog is a feast for the eyes, and is full of tutorials and helpful advice. Best of all, for at least one of us, she’s a role model of what it means to look at color, fabric, and patterns in a playful way, to let that voice within find some real expression. I intend to make visits to her blog a regular part of my return to my own quilting journey.

Thanks, Rachel, for helping me reconnect with the playful side of my quilting self.