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Translating Inspiration in Quilting

Lesson 3 of 4

From Image to Sketch

Cheryl Arkison

Translating Inspiration in Quilting

Cheryl Arkison

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Lesson Info

3. From Image to Sketch

Lesson Info

From Image to Sketch

So now we're going to get into the actually working on things today so I've put my students here in the studio on the spot and I warned them about this but what I want you guys to d'oh is to take a minute or two think about something maybe you've got some ideas swirling around your head or something that popped out to the front first an idea that you think you would like to translate into a quilt ok, so we're going to do that now is is let's do the first part of it is how do we turn that idea or that image into a sketch if you already got a sketchbook or you have scraps of paper hiding in a drawer right just pull one of those ideas out right now this isn't we're not making a quote let's be clear we're not making a quote right now we're just trying to play with the idea of what we can do um with this so let's go forward I'm going tio help students here in the classroom with this so does anyone here immediately have an idea that's come out in their head here michelle yes I went walking i...

n south of capitola and as you walk under the spear you see all these lines and the blue sky and the grit and the sand so I see that as a visual yeah do you want to try drawing it ok I'm ok with that that's all good right so we'll see just because I haven't seen that image right it's not like I know there's other colors here too and there's pencil crayons over there so I see like the pier coming in with I guess that would be in the foreground and then write about it and then you've got a book that one's going to go lower and they're like much thicker and then you've got the water which I guess the horizon line might be closer to about there just hugely sketchy and then uh I guess there would be water coming in so waves coming in here it was going or and that syria he's ryan one so I've seen lots of verticals and then this is all whatever color you want to do that yeah I don't know what more you want and know that this is a good start this is absolutely perfect and I want to show it again you've captured the idea right what was important to you was where the vertical lines and the intersection of the horizon right in the perspective of the pier going out in the distance right this is all it takes to do a sketch write in your book now what I would do is go you know capitol uh I don't know from smelling of that right pier right and love vertical lines horizon line like justin keywords right and you know, february twenty fifteen just so it was they're just so that you have that because if you just saw this image you look at that two years from now you may be like, what was that again? Like, why did I like it? I don't even know what this is referencing, right? So having this sort of conscious and intentional recording of it makes a difference, but this is all you need to do, right? Okay, thank you. So now I'm going to play this is your quill, but for your idea, but I'm going to play with it. So you liked the vertical lines and the horizontal intersection? There you go. Ok, so one of the things we need to dio when we're talking about an image to this satch is what is your language? I've mentioned already a couple of times I default tio improv automatically, right? That's just that's me as a quilter. What type of quotes do you usually make? Michelle? I started to make more improvisational I've been playing with that, but most of them tend to be half square triangles and my great grandmother made a couple of fabulous quilts out of carpenters wheels, so I'm kind of stuck on that for the past year or so, yeah, and I'm trying to break out of that into something different, so little more improv, okay? But see that's kid so immediately I'm just going to so we remember that image my thought was ok if I'm going to turn wastepaper um if I'm going to turn this into a well how would I do it right so the vertical lines were important that horizontal line was important so my thought would immediately be to start with a rectangle of fabric that I slice and insert vertical lines into right notice they're all the same length right and I'm just going to do that so that we can see what I meant right? I'm a measure to make sure these air straight I'm a measure to make that sure they're the same distance apart where I might not again because I think improv I might not so I go ok well I've got that but that doesn't give me my horizontal line in there so then I might decide I'm in a slice that right and am I going to add a blue strip in there right so even though I improv I'm kind of planning it out a little bit but then I go but that I like how on the image it was sky above blue water below so now this isn't going to work because I don't have the blue down here so I need to do something different I need tio make my rectangle half blue half you know let's say gray for the sky before I start doing this right but then what I have to do now is make sure every time I saw a piece on I'm continuing this line I'm not sewing it so that the blue ends up up here one time right so what does this tell me improv might not be my language for this right because as I start working through that improv may not be my language so for me I have to look outside of my normal construction methods um with that thea other thing this doesn't have is that notion of perspective right which if that's something that's very important to you on both the top and the bottom right this's tell michelle drew the image she's got that and then she's got this that's a whole other way of thinking about it right so getting your idea onto the sketch is important we're still not as agata quilt yet we're quilters so we're thinking about quotes but we're not to a quilt yet right my mind is already racing with this about different ways I could do this and would it be a block would it be a quilt right because those are two different things what scale of my thinking at for all of these sorts of things so we're going to get more into that in a little while but I'm going to go with somebody else's idea now leave a few pages there okay so nicky we'll put you on the spot any outstanding inspiration images that are coming to you well that wall's been speaking to me the whole time staring at it with great that's a great wall yeah and yeah it's got a lot of color to it very linear it's got different sizes to it and sketching not is quite easy brian it it comes down tio I'm just not even rectangles great like that sometimes their piece like this sometimes they're skinnier sometimes they're wider right? This is all you need and then that again being intentional you know creative live studio wall february twenty fifteen linear um for me it's also the texture yes, right, yes. And you could turn it on its end it doesn't have to be horizontal lines yeah and so seeing then make a note so you know, maybe turn it ninety degrees, right? Yeah because you could do different things, right? We've got the corner. So are you you know that's another way to think about it. So now we're thinking about sketching it. So is it just this half I know that I like I kind of like that intersections and that is that really is that of the or is that just coming out of the depends but either way this is how you capture it, right? So it's like ok, I like that so I'm just going to draw it you know, this way and house about just so that all I have is this line enough to make me go it's not just this right right and those pieces aren't lining up necessarily and going that way you know just just like that and then make the note right love the intersection and so now you have it captured right if you had this in your scrap in your sketchbook you could go back to that quite easily and say oh yeah ok I get it I see where we were thinking of this is a quilt and now I've got different ways to play with it and and different ways that we can go through it okay karen here turn thinking about um a trip to a trip tick quote for awhile on I'll just for simplicity I'll talk about the third one the third section of it which is the problem of the huge amount of a mass incarceration we have here in the u s and so again is a linear thing but the prison cell walls but I would want people in like orange jumpsuits sitting in different positions yeah so and usually you're saying trip tik yeah so but I'm reducing just to the third yes are you thinking three identical sizes know the three three different scenes one would be slavery ones jim crow and the third is prison you know I've got my civil rights the third one is the prison ok, so we just want to get down this trip tick I just wanted it down the prison idea yeah so then we're going to take this one and two still that down yes so do you want to come and sketch it? Are you comfortable doing that are let me put I'll put my yeah I have an idea in my head but I can't exactly so you can sketch that they're so I'm just going to make this a little bit bigger and the reason I'm putting and I don't always do this because you haven't very clearly in your mind that this is a trip tick I'm putting mine edge of the quilt on here right to think about how she might want tio to do that so you're mentioning prison all right? So we know we're thinking prison prison bars, right? I've not been in a prison I've only know it through hollywood so maybe I put too many here when I'm abandoning lots of different prison cells liken alcatraz yeah where you see the whole cell block and then they're different people so you see the mass incarceration the idea yeah so that there's lots of people in here are very stylized like keith haring stylized yeah so let's like do floors right and then there's a cell block herself right? However it needs to be but this is exactly what it is is what does the prison look like right becomes part of it and then you were mentioning, you know, stylized sort of I can't do keep harry, you know what is a very simple yeah. You know, you're not a lot of email. Yeah, not bright different what? Who's got three legs he's running, right? But they knew the color orange is very important rain. So you this is what you think about you go. Ok, well okay, is that I'm not saying this is what you have to do, obviously. But is this what I'm trying to capture? Right? And what is your language again? Because it's me and I have my default language. When I started going this way, I went improv. I went piecing a whole bunch of oranges. Me, I would piece a whole bunch of different oranges so that I had an orange background and then I would have put bars either applicator on top of it or sliced and inserted it tohave my bars, right? But that's me that's not you, right on dh then so I was like, oh, that's interesting when you mentioned like, cell blocks ah, and stuff like that. So then I start seeing floors, right? Like I when I think of that sort of mass incarceration, I think of my left foot that the jail there was the stairwell and there are shawshank redemption right where you just see you know a hallway and its door after door after door after door right from a quote perspective that's very interesting visually right? Because it's a block a block a block right and then do you applicator figures on right that's what I started doing when I do that or is it more representational right? Do I just need toe have you know, a massive orange in each you know is this is this all gray with orange filling it right so that you have squares of orange going on and this is where you have to go is ok, well I don't you don't have to think about exactly how the final colt is going to go but you can't draw it like this then you can't do it so I can't draw figures very well right? So I wouldn't necessarily I think that way because that's not my language again, right? But if I'm really stuck on there being figures or they're being a point to these then I will find an image that I can trace right that that you know, if it's a keep harry I love the keith haring idea right? Because there's a very simple, simple, straightforward images everyone knows what they are they're very recognizable there my civil war quilts that I'm working on because I can't do images I've gone with the idea of pants and start right so so for that my blocks you know look like that at right is people marching right? So it's you know and in a quote block it looks like that right um let's go that went all the way to the so you see these are the pants right and its legs in motion and so that was what? Because I speak improv so that was I could just do these whip up a whole mentioned and squared him up and they did what I wanted to dio but I had to sketch that first right in my sketch book for that I remember doing it on the plane coming home and I was like, I need to do something this was such a powerful trip for me on dh I need this to be in a quilt some way on dso I have pages before I got to this of how would I do it? Would I take a block? I went two g's bend when I was in alabama as well so I was very inspired by their quilts. And so what were some of the images I saw in their quilts? A lot and how can I bring that? And so I was going through all of that stuff you know, quite in detail of how can I get to this right and and this is where I ended up ok, so let's do a couple of more ok tracy so the drive in today never being here too creative live before was my husband's driving me and kind of scary because he's he's a very good driver but he keeps me on as your seat so to speak but I was never noticing all the architecture on the way in and the road turns like I could just see it quote being made out of just just a drive into the city because there's a park over here a patch of green maybe and this building's very gray and um you know those gargoyles on this building and not to mention the stress that was feeling just on the way in because it was stressful and s o not only my inspired by the fact that you know is twist attorney sharp corners whatever buildings the stress, the feeling of stress so how do you put that in the quilt and why would you want to quote that feels like stress you raise I mean, you have asked an excellent question at the end is why would you want to make a quilt that brings up those bad feelings? Right? I'm no therapist, I've been in therapy, I'll admit it, but I'm no therapist and sometimes for us it's about working through those feelings right? So just like my two plus two equals for that help me process a very traumatic experience right? And so that when the quote was done I had no need for that quote because I I was done with the emotions right? And so when you say, why would I want to do it? Because I was stressed is too get that out to get that stress out right? I remember taking in my undergraduate days taking in our history class right? And it was it was one of those joke classes that everyone takes to get there easy credits on dh that but the thing that has always stuck with me about that class is when the artist is making something are they doing it for their sake right for the process of creation? Are they doing it for what it looks like at the end or they doing it for the reaction of the audience? And I remember for days we debated this like it was a huge class and everyone was no it's all about this and it's all about this and you know and they would bring up different examples of different artists for the response is I think in quilting there is no answer to that it is absolutely all three because if it isn't about the process for you there is no point to you making it right you have to it takes a long time it's a lot of work if you don't enjoy the process there's no point making it right but it's also about what it looks like at the end you want to be able to look at that finished quill go that's that's cool, right? Or that captured my intent or those fabrics look amazing together, but you it has to look good and and then at the end of it, whether it's for you or for someone else, it is a functional object or on our object that goes on the wall. But there is a response at the end to it and whether that response is in a frame in a gallery or on a ford that your kids build were wrapped around your legs. When you're watching a movie, it doesn't matter that's the audience response to it so quoting captures all three of those things. So for your quill, for example, about that stress and everything like that immediately, I think of what of the colors, right? That was where I went that read more. Yeah, before even went tio what? What it would look like, you know, I went to the color so stress right? Do you want to make just totally read quilt, right? Do you want you could absolutely I probably give that one away, but I think right, maybe it becomes it maybe it's just a small piece right it doesn't have to be big I tend to think big and I have to stop myself sometimes because sometimes it is about just expressing that feeling and the feeling doesn't need to be king size right? Right and because it might not take as that long to get the feeling right. So a couple of things that came to me when you were saying it was the driving of the streets and as I've noticed driving here in san francisco for a couple of days is this is what it feels like yeah, you know when you're driving some of the streets right and then I'll take that turn right so that chaos you know it feels like you have the hills and you have you know these weird you turn things and there's one way street so you have to leave it and there's a bus in your way and yeah and there's lots of vehicles right? And so so there's different will bat yeah that captures in but how does that become a quilt right? So again you have to be thinking about how it can go there but then you could also think about you mentioned buildings on corners and stuff like that so I corners was something else that came to mind rates so I started thinking about intersections of roads right and just something very, very similar let's put our the borders of our quilt on their again very, very simple. Looks like that inspired improvisation, quote, the one for my kids. But let's do your colors right? The driving is what was stressful. So the part on the roads, you know, you're right at the end, though, because I got here. So you got here, you hear? Yeah. Participating. Right. So the red is is the stressful, but what could be really interesting is that this is a beautiful city and the buildings are just absolutely incredible there. So maybe these air really nice blocks, right? Or these air details that you've picked out from buildings. So you meant I'm not going to draw gargoyle because I can't draw, but ok, here's, my little gargoyle, you know, sitting on the top with a tail looks like a little weird double. Right? So maybe there's the details from from the buildings there. I know. I took a picture of a building yesterday because I liked the doorway, and it had all these, you know, circle plaster reliefs that went around the door, you know, in this sort of way, right? So here's, potentially a way to do it. You could turn this as a quote block, you could make a whole bunch of these. Right? Or you're picking fabric that looks like bricks or something that see how there's different ways to gun kind of go through it and this is where you'd have toe sort of think about what is it there's other ways like these crazy streets it doesn't have to be so precision like this you could have let's you know, is there a whole bunch of blocks where now it goes like this and then there's one like that and that's red right? And then you have another block and there's only this in it right and another block and it has a curve going I was quote and then go I just I just can't finish this why can't I mean I mean, I'm sure you must cause I think all of us do it but you know we all unfinished oh, yeah um but I mean, how much do you ever waste any fabric along the way and just go? Absolutely because I mean degrees I'm gonna buy you obviously, but just fabric yeah, right, right. So I'll give this example my son who will be three shortly has a mop of hair like he's got curls and he's you know my kids have progressively gotten earlier hair like oldest has stick straight middle has waves and then he's got the curls like their father and I love them and as soon as they started appearing, I was like, we're not cutting his hair, I want those curls and they were blonde and gorgeous and just before I left to come down here and my husband took him to get a haircut and he came home and I was like, I cried, oh, I was like, what did you do to his hair? He cut it short and and I was crying and he's like, seriously, you're crying over tio, but he looked at me and he's like it's just hair, it grows back and I'm like, yeah, it does there's perspective, right? I tell myself that when I get a bad haircut, so why did I have to have this drama over a two year old who really doesn't care what his hair looks like? He just cares that it's not in his face on dh so it's the same thing with fabric it's just fabric not all of us have huge stash is not all of us have huge budgets right toe have huge stashes and to be buying stuff, but I really firmly believe that if you when you go to buy fabric, don't buy just for a project, have extra fabric, and when you're trying to work out an idea, go into your scrap pins. And if you're not concerned about the color of you, like, if you absolutely know that this quilt is going to be black and white with bet read, but you only have a limited number of black and whites and reds, but you have a whole bunch of blue in your scrap in test out the idea with blue and see what happens, right? But if the color is really important with you tested out in the color and nothing says that you have to use that block in the finnish quote, nothing says that that what you've played with has to become a quilt, right? Maybe just the plane works out that stress through right? Or maybe you get so excited by what you're doing, it turns into a king size quilt because you're so excited and then it becomes not aboutthe stress, but it becomes about something that looks really cool that you want to make, right? So things change that way all of the time with that, so don't hesitate to play right playing is very, very important. We're going to get into it later, I'm going to show you examples for the same thing, and I'm just going to introduce it now, so I brought a new image for me that that is it's, not something new to me, but the image is new to me. That I haven't worked out into a quote yet, so I'm gonna show you a couple of the images there, so we're here in san francisco, very famous bridge I walked across that yesterday because how could you not? And but this is a very famous bridge in my city in calgary this called the peace bridge. It was one of those things that was very controversial it's only been open for a couple of years because taxpayers get mad when you spend money on things that aren't just functional and it's just a pedestrian and bike bridge in there and it's have the architect's name written down, so I wouldn't forget it. Santiago calatrava I think he's spanish was hired to design this in they call it the peace bridge is just a pedestrian and bike bridge that goes over the bow river in town, but immediately people were up in arms is costing how much and everything it's packed every day is that when I called the peacekeepers could come back and I actually don't know the logic behind it. But but it's a beautiful bridge like people will get their wedding photos taken there, they've done, they closed the bridge one day and had like a breakfast like they had a long table. All the way down the center of it is just a really cool structure but I've always been struck by it s o this picture was taken by a photographer and gentlemen that I know name osa his down here on the side if you're interested on his instagram because he has lots of great images but also took the picture and he captured for me the thing that I like about the bridge the most which is this intersections right this excess there absolutely love those access so you can see in my sketching but I've tried to capture that right and I've gone through different ways what is it about the exes that I dio in there's that I love so it was the exes but there's also occurred to this the next time enjoy going to show you shows the curve that I mean right so this comes from another calgary instagram user mike's blah giddy but the end of the bridge is curved like this is the famous shot everyone takes their standing right here and you have the curve over you and you just you see the perspective of it going down there but now these don't necessarily look a cz much like excess there's the line but it's not there but it's about this curve so I've tried to play around with different ways I'm doing it right like I've got the curve here but I'm not I'm not going to figure out what all these pieces need to be, teo completely mimic that so my default languages in process on like, oh, I could just improv a whole bunch of red into grey and and get there that way, but I do like the excess of this, right? And I don't know where this will go, but this is my inspiration image, and this is where I've tried to turn it into sketches. What is it that I like? So this is the closest I get to that, right? It's, can I put this in a line? And how can I play with that? And then this one is the closest I get to that is it's giving me that curve shape in there now notice I'm completely ignoring the sidewalk. I'm completely ignoring the side. I am ignoring that there are these glass panels covering it, and then this is open and the handrail system, right? But that's not to say that if you were to look at this and want to make some of those of the things that are going to stand out to you in my sketches, I'm mostly concerned with these exes and with the color right? Mike weld, in my opinion, can't be anything but with red because it's not just about the shape it's about this bridge is shape in there

Class Description

Inspiration for quilt patterns is everywhere, but converting those ideas into quilts can be intimidating. In Translating Inspiration in Quilting, you’ll learn how to take an image, a floor, a pattern, or a stack of fabric and turn it into a beautiful quilt.

In this class, Cheryl Arkison will teach you how to take something that inspires you – a shape, color or line – and turn it into workable quilting elements. You'll learn about both literal translations (copying shape, color, line) and how to use influences of what you love from an image to enhance your quilts. Cheryl will teach you how to effectively capture ideas so you can refer to them in the future and she’ll show you some sketchbook basics for making notes by hand.

This class will give you the tools to bring your imaginative ideas to fruition and equip you to make truly inspired quilts.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Cheryl Arkison - Translating Inspiration -Tools.pdf

Cheryl Arkison - Translating Inspiration.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

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I have taken all three of Cheryl's classes and she is an excellent instructor. Amazing. She is clear, engaging, non-judgmental, informative and has a ton of quality suggestions. Can't say enough about her! I hope that she does more courses in the future. Thanks very much, Cheryl and Creative Live. Very inspiring.