Last June I had the privilege to attend Quilt Canada in Mississauga. Two classes were taken with Jane Sasseman. The first was on machine appliqué and the second on simplifying nature, ie. flowers in particular. Jane Sasseman’s strong graphic images and bold designs using bright colour are particular favourites of mine. As I am fond of art deco and art nouveau I believe that this is why I particularly respond to Jane’s creations.
The classes were enjoyable and challenging. I felt that I would have benefitted by working with Jane for 4 or 5 days instead of just two separated by a day in between. The learning and getting into a creative mode would have flowed better and been more sustained. However this was not to be as Quilt Canada organizers seem to feel that half day and one day classes are the way to go. I hope they will reconsider and offer some more in-depth class experiences for those of us who wish to invest creative energy and explore a subject in greater depth and benefit from working with an artist on a more sustained basis.
I focused quite intently the first day in learning Jane’s machine appliqué technique. It was a variation on the freezer paper underneath seams prepared method that I have taught for many years. Jane uses a non-woven fusible applique that remains in the piece. It provides greater firmness during the construction of the individual applique elements and the extra is cut away so that the final quilt is not bulkier. A bonus is that there are extra pieces that remain providing some inspiration for further pieces. Another benefit of this method of seams prepared applique is the opportunity to create long smooth curves.
Fortunately I have a copy of Jane’s book : “The Quilted Garden”. It was purchased it when it first came out in 2000. I confess that I had never explored it in the depth that has now happened. Instructions for the applique technique are very clear and easy to follow. The quilts themselves are beautiful and close study of the photos provide inspiration to fuel creativity. I heartily recommend working with Jane if you have an opportunity.
Over the years I have worked in my own way to reproduce flowers from my garden. I learned a great deal from Jane’s expertise with graphics in making the simplification process more successful. Practice and more practice is necessary for me to arrive at something that I like. Jane was most helpful in guiding where she could see me struggling. She gave help with the type of photos that would be most successful.
I chose to begin working in a collage style. Jane recommended starting with three elements. My initial choices were a long leaf from a day lily, a pieced take on an oak leaf and a bee balm flower. Next three large and three smaller articulated leaves were created giving lots of practice in working with the appliqué technique. Three of the day lily leaves allowed practice with long smooth curves and finally two bee balm flowers consisting of two sections were created.
When I had these elements ready I started to organize them n different ways. The more moved them around the more disjointed the piece looked. Finally I realized that I needed to take away some of the elements. The piece that emerged contained the three smaller leaves and the three day lily leaves. Next it seemed to ask for just the circles of the bee balm flower. Tracings of different sizes circles were created and auditioned. I had dyed a series of pink fabric when I attended Art Quilt Campus last summer in Muenster Sask and these were perfect for the circles. An extra layer of batting helped to raise the “flowers” from the background and give the piece more dimension. Finally I tried a small quilting pattern called granite that is a continuous series of little circles to completely fill the background and complete the design.
Now I have a second piece on the design board. That is a story for another day.