Art Quilt Defeat Admitted and Lessons Learnt I Hope

I have been taking an online class from Quilt University(its last year)…from Elizabeth Barton ( I had read many rave reviews of this class. It was called Inspired to Design.

I had planned to make a wall quilt(artsy style) from this tightly cropped photo of a leaf in my garden:

lovely leaf

I converted the photo to black and white for a value study:

black and whiteI wanted to use little pieces of different coloured greens(blue green to yellow green) of various values to create the piece- but I think my fabrics were wrong, they were too drab. All batiks might have been better, but I wanted to try using a mix from my stash. So, it didn’t turn out at all(I couldn’t get the brightness effects) and in retrospect I can see that there really isn’t a heck of alot of contrasts in this photo- it is mostly mid values. And the most interesting part of the photo is the 3-D effect of the curved leaf which, again in retrospect, would have been easier to re-create with a 3-D freeform leaf. That might have been fun to try.

So I ended up cutting it up into pieces for 2 fabric postcards and 7 Artist Trading Cards(displayed on purple fabric below) and now they look like mini quilts of fields and rivers. I have since cut up the far left postcard sized piece into more ATCs, since it still looked too much like my failed leaf:

ex-leafI can send the postcard to Jane Davies and support her post-office campaign (  And I can use the ATCs if I join an ATC group or participate in a live ATC exchange like I did at Quilt Festival in Houston and Chicago. So not a complete failure(although close!)

And more importantly, it  reminded me how much I hate fussy applique!!! I guess I am always hopeful that somehow I will conquer it.

I think I did learn some things about design, composition, color value etc but I was not able to apply it to this project. I think I should have stuck with an architecture project, which Elizabeth B. does alot of. Taking photos of some Winnipeg buildings for the photo scavenger hunt drove this message home.. the Centennial Concert Hall would have made a wonderful subject- it has great lines, great details and great contrasts in value…..too bad I realized this 6 weeks too late.


6 thoughts on “Art Quilt Defeat Admitted and Lessons Learnt I Hope

  1. I definitely wouldn’t call these disasters! I do understand, though, that they might not have been what you were hoping for. (I think we all know that feeling!) Judging from the postcard-size piece, I think the leaf shape was coming through nicely. However, the cut-up versions turned out really beautifully, too.


  2. It’s hard when things don’t turn out the way we want. I’m considering a scavenger hunt, based on your photos, though, if that’s any consolation. 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration.


  3. I am amazed that you filed this under ‘my disasters’ from here it looks gorgeous and exactly like rivers and fields but I hear you, when we work so closely on something that doesn’t turn our quite right we always see it.


      • Not a failure –
        just a lesson learned. I know when I stare at something obessively for days on end I lose my perspective and I am tempted to trash it. Trashing it sometimes ends up in some artful surprises. My motto is now – walk away, walk away – look at it another day. When it still looks like a mess cutting it up into small pieces can lead to a whole new idea.


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