At the modern guild I belong to, every member is expected to take a turn presenting the program at one of the meetings. This month was my turn. I have to admit, I was nervous! The group is small, but there are some pretty talented women among them. I worried, what could I possibly share that would interest them?
I decided to follow the adage “Stick with what you know” and presented a slide show of my own quilting journey, focussing on my attempt to learn more about colour. I showed some of my earliest quilts that suffered from poor colour choices. Like this one here, from about 10 years ago:
When I picked out these fabrics at the wonderful little quilt shop in Exeter (which has since closed, sadly!), I really loved that fabric you see in the background – the olivey green with small burgundy circles. I decided to use it as my main fabric: now, I think that was a mistake. It would have been better as an accent fabric. Instead, I used a super light plaid for the accent — too light by far! It’s in your face, isn’t it?
I also really liked the black fabric with the colourful animals and flowers on it — but by the time it was cut up for the diamonds, many aspects of that print that I liked were no longer recognizeable. They were just colour-blobs.
Then I told everyone about my attempts to learn about colour theory, and how I found it to be of limited use, since it was usually taught so theoretically. I learned terms and concepts, but not how to apply them to my quilts. Things began to turn around for me when I took the Values class with Cheryl Arkison a couple of years ago, since it was very hands-on and allowed me to explore concepts with my own fabric. And then, of course, I finally learned about Josef Albers’ “Interaction of Color” and became very inspired, as I saw lots of ways I could translate his colour exercises into quilts. Hence this more recent work on my design wall.
I hope everyone enjoyed my presentation. I had some good feedback, so I think it went well — unlike when I rehearsed it at home in front of my husband and dog, and both nodded off.
Mine was the first presentation of the new guild year — and the great thing about going first is, the rest of the year I can kick back and enjoy the meetings, without having to worry about prepping anything!
I think some of the other guild members have been reluctant to sign up for a turn to present because they think they have to organize some fantabulous production that will knock everyone’s socks off. But the truth is, we’re all just happy for a chance to get together and chat about quilts. I would love to see some others do exactly what I did: talk about their own quilting journeys, show off some of their stuff, let us have a chance to all know each other better. I hope at least a few others will do that in the coming months.