I like the premise behind Heather Jone's latest book, Quilt Local. I believe wholeheartedly in observing and abstracting patterns from your environment. Pattern abstraction is fundamental to quilt making and is rooted in the American frontier. All of the classic patchwork blocks arose from abstraction of the everyday -- Log Cabin, Turkey Tracks, Rail Fence, Drunkard's Path...
Quilt Local features fixed patterns and emphasizes Heather's considered design process, color theory, and implementation. I love the introductions to each of her projects, where you see an image of the object and her sketch together.
Quilt Local is a lovely book for people prone to designing and planning and who are interested in modernizing or inventing new fixed patterns, but it's premise also speaks to improvisors, who like to explore flexible patterns.
I always encourage students of improv to look at their environment for inspiration, not other people's quilts. For this reason I think Quilt Local is a great cross over book that speaks to both fixed and flexible pattern traditions in quilt making.
When I first started my blog I had a series of weekly posts on Inspiration Sundays, under the category of Sketchbook. Each post featured an image of an object in my environment and an abstracted pattern sketch of that object. This sketchbook post inspired by zinias, led to developing the wedge-curve technique...
and this sketchbook post inspired by onions, led to the bias-strip piecing on the curve technique, both of which are featured in The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters by the same wonderful publisher of Heather's book, STC Craft / Abrams.
Abstracting patterns from your environment is an extremely important practice to undertake and Heather's book leads by example, along with practical tips on how to do it. Here are a few of the other objects and places that surround Heather and inspired the over 40 projects featured in Quilt Local. Aren't you curious to see the quilts they inspired???
Another thing I appreciate about quilts in Quilt Local is Heather's simple and bold use of scale. I notice that a majority of my students tend to piece medium to small. I often wonder why that is. Is it a comfort thing? Is it a gender thing? Is it something about not wanting to take up space? Is it a form of scarcity and a fear of wasting fabric? Is it a form of agoraphobia and a fear of large spaces? I'm curious about what you think...
But I can tell you that Heather Jones isn't afraid of working big and being surrounded by large spaces! Her work breathes space and simplicity. Her quilts unclutter the mind and restore the soul and so does her book! Bravo Heather!
Quilt Local has inspired me to resurrect my Sketchbook posts! Stay tuned....
And check out the rest of the Quilt Local Blog Tour:
10/6: STC Craft Blog
10/8: Robert Kaufman
10/9: Melanie Falick
10/10: Sew Mama Sew
10/11: Creative Bug
10/12: Plaid Portico
10/14: Modern Sewciety
10/19: The Tattooed Quilter
10/21: Amy’s Creative Side
10/23: Diary of a Quilter
10/26: Film in the Fridge
10/28: Tall Grass Prairie Studio
10/29: Okan Arts
10/30: Kara Sews
11/2: Crimson Tate
11/4: Dainty Time
11/6: Nap Time Quilter
11/13: A Gathering of Stitches