Monday, March 13, 2023

Inspired by Art

Oh, I'd been wanting to take a workshop with David Owen Hastings @davidowenhastings for a long time, and it finally worked out to take his "Inspired by Art" class last Saturday with fellow Seattle MQG members. And what a terrific session it was. David, who is also a SeaMQG member, helped us look at creating in a new way (to me!), and had so many helpful tips and examples to share.

Per insturctions, I had chosen some fabrics before class, but with my stash just a few feet away, I found myself changing things up once I was ready to sew on my project. 

What I ended up using were Konas Black, Snow, and Copen; Essex Homespun Navy, and a piece of Ebony & Ivory, a long-stasted 100% Cotton Screen Print from Benartex [Style 3583]. David said that the print piece was 'a bold choice,' and I totally agree. But in looking at my inspiration photo, I saw some detailing in the railing that I wanted to emphasize in the finished piece, and that dainty floral did it for me.

So yes, we were each working off an inspiration photo of a piece of art. The one I chose was a photo of the exit from the Vatican Museum in Rome, taken when we were there in 2019.

The process photos I'm sharing in this post are in order of completion. You can see I started with some very simple blocks, then jumped ahead to a more complex one. I think the upper left unit in the photo below is my favorite of the whole bunch. To create the element I wanted, I needed to incorporate a Y-seam, which thankfully, worked out swimmingly.

Here are the eight units I was able to create in class, along with one 'blank' square to remind myself that leaving space is always something to consider. 

After class, I made two more blocks, and played with layout, finally coming up with the one shown below.

But one thing really bothered me, and it was that wide stripe of snow in the bottom left block. I studied my inspiration photo for a few moments, and then edited the block just a bit, and liked it so much better. Overall, I was surprised, and a little disappointed that there was so little of my lightest fabric in the overall piece. But I didn't want to rethink the entire project, so decided I could live with it and moved on.

What I didn't expect to add, but decided the piece needed, was two black borders, on the left and bottom. That consolidated all the blackness in a way I liked, so I quickly sewed it up before I changed my mind. The quilt top currently measures 31" x 40", and I've decided to take Yvonne's @quiltingjetgirl suggestion and use a solid fabric for the quilt backing. The scraps were minimal once I'd gotten this far, including a lack of yardage of either the blue or black. I finally settled on Kona Graphite, and armed with the beginnings of a quilting plan, hope to get started soon!


  1. It sounds like a really wonderful class, and I hope what you learned continues to inspire and show up in your work moving forward. I really like the bold print - it ties in with the detail in your inspiration photograph so well and is a lot of fun. Speaking of fun, I hope that you have fun with the quilting and that you like the solid backing (eek). :)

  2. I love your process! Thanks for the explanations. Your quilt will be great! I love your bold fabric and how you went to big pieces to thin lines. This workshop seams to be so great! I think I'm to anxious now to follow it : english (I'm French and not fluent in english) + improvisation through art, too much for me :-( But very nice to see what and how you make this piece of art!!!

  3. I like the movement in your quilt, and the fabrics you chose are both calming and energetic. That bold print is really fun. I'm still trying to learn how to work from an inspirational photo, so thanks for taking us through a little of your process!