We kicked off our February meeting with a few housekeeping items before Sherri Lynn Wood joined our VP Christine Doyle on stage to start her demo. Members were excited to learn that the Cincinnati Homearama would like to display a few of our members quilts in the home this spring. The turnout for the meeting was very strong, with people travelling from Columbus and Kentucky to have an opportunity to see Sherri Lynn and learn from her. Yo, our member at large shared the final two quilt tops that members made blocks for, which will be donated to a local Boys group home. Members were asked to use black and white fabric on the diagonal with just one pop of color.
Sherri Lynn Wood was the featured artist at QuiltCon in Nashville in February. For those who had the opportunity to attend, you will have seen an incredibly diverse display of her improv quilts. She just moved to the Cincinnati area so we felt very fortunate that she was able to join us and led a demo. Sherri Lynn kicked off the discussion by brainstorming with the audience on all the limits you can impose on yourself with improv quilting. Often people aren't sure where to start with improv quilting and by defining the limits, or the score, up front you can start from there and then break those limits if you wish. Some of the ideas were time (i.e. only two hours to create something), structural technique, color, size of quilt and scale of design, who you make it for, theme, symmetry or asymmetry, embellishments, etc. Using the limits, or the score as Sherri Lynn referenced it in a comparison to music, you can focus on the creative process and "find your flow."
After brainstorming, Sherri Lynn asked members to select the score for her creation that evening. Since it was the day before Valentine's, the score was 40 minutes to create, using three fabrics and we gave her the tough goal of creating a heart block (all those curves!).
The creation process was fast paced, yet felt intuitive, as there is no right nor wrong in improv creation and Sherri Lynn feels very strongly that "every attempt is valuable, whether you like it or not" learning just as much from unsuccessful outcomes as successful. Members watched as she, without fear, cut/sliced/moved/sewed repeatedly until an outcome appeared that felt like the right direction. While creating, she discussed some of her basic techniques. She irons seams in whichever direction the fabric seems to want to take it, unless there is a very light color fabric. She puts fabrics together with both sides up and cuts together for curves. Then the curves automatically match when you sew them. She also recommended that you not hold on to the image you started with but instead always think yes and... allowing yourself to add and subtract as needed feeling positive about the process, not stuck on the outcome.
While the outcome was definitely an abstract heart, it was colorful with great movement and the members discussed what they learned during a wrap up evaluation process. Some shared learnings were 1) Don't start a heart at the bottom 2) The freedom of the journey was very satisfying and creative 3) Many people saw different designs in the block including sails, fish, etc. so it was individually interpreted based on each viewers perception and filters.
Many thinks to Sherri Lynn Wood. It was a wonderful evening with discussion, community and learning.