Sunday, May 10, 2009

Advanced Improvisation with Denyse Schmidt

Yesterday, I spent the day in the Bridgeport, CT studios of Denyse Schmidt where she and her assistant Richard taught their new course in Advanced Improvisation. Part retrospective of Denyse's quilting evolution, part design concepts, this was a low-key, hands-on, personal exploration of design. There were two participants besides myself, so the teacher-student ratio was exceptional, and the high point of the 5 hour session was having both Denyse and Richard pulling fabric and ping-ponging ideas with me at the design wall.

Here's where the day started:

Sketching potential design ideas:

First-pass fabric choices, pulled by Richard, with greens added by Denyse:

Bringing in the berry colors:

Ending up with a rugby-striped theme and the pieced blocks in stripes:

Denyse in action with another student's blocks:

Denyse and Richard have a similar asethetic, but different approaches and they play well off each other. It was an interesting and engaging day, and I finished the day in a completely different place from where I started, and landed in an unexpected place, with an unexpected palette, and an unexpected layout. And, pretty much, that was the point.

The Great Cousinly Quilt Project

On Bruce's side of our family, there are 6 cousins. All but one are boys. Bruce was the first of the cousins to tie the knot (to me, obviously), making me the first "Mrs. Andrews" of this generation. The second "Mrs. Andrews" is Kris who is married to Chris. Kris is a professional embroiderer and quilter, and is one of the artists working on the Plimouth Plantation project of recreating a 17th century embroidered jacket. It's quite an interesting project. The third "Mrs. Andrews" is Esther who is married to Steven. Steve and Esther are expecting their first child, who will also be the first baby born into the Andrews family in about 30 years.

Kris and I have been looking for a project to work on together - and we've decided to do a baby quilt for Steve & Esther. Kris will make one side, I'll make the other, while swapping fabrics so that some of each ends up on both sides of the quilt. Here's how things are progressing so far:

Kris's perfect star with my Denyse-Schmidt-esque quasi-log cabin piecing.

Concept blocks with fabric palette.

Blocks in progress.

Blocks on the wall.

More to come...the baby is due in July.