My visit this week to Prairie Star Quilters, just outside Chicago, was short but sweet. For two days we concentrated on fish, bugs, and butterflies.
I like it when a class limits the subject matter this way. I found early on when I started making these small collage quilts that fish, bugs, and butterflies allowed me to really play with the color, pattern, and texture I so love in fabric.
Why? Because their inherent colors can be translated into fabric in really fun ways. For example, fish come in all colors and shapes. So if you cut a flower out of a piece of fabric and use it as a fin, who cares if it doesn’t match one on a particular fish? All you really need to make it recognizable as a fish is a nose, a tail, and an eye. Everything that happens in between can go in so many very different directions. Of course, the same can be said for bugs and butterflies. These subjects allows quilters to let the fabric take precedence over the design.
Limiting the subject matter is especially good for beginners in this technique. It takes away a lot of the stress involved in creating especially realistic images, because these subjects can be interpreted in playful ways.
The Prairie Star Quilters class exemplified this perfectly. Some made their own designs, but many used patterns that I have created and have been used dozens if not hundreds of times each. Yet, I’ve never seen any two fish, bugs, or butterflies alike.
Here’s a slideshow of their work:
Windy City Sights
I’ve made connecting flights through Chicago numerous times (actually, to be honest, I now avoid it when possible because of the missed flights and airport overnights I’ve suffered there), but this is the first time Chicago was my destination.
With an extra day, my host and fellow teacher Barb Vlack and I did the tourist thing in the city. The sightseeing started with a trip by water taxi from the train station into the heart of the city. At the Field Museum of Natural History we saw my famous namesake, Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Sue is one of the most complete and best-preserved T-Rex skeletons ever discovered. While there were also took in the exhibit of Terracotta Warriors of China’s first emperor’s tomb. After that, Barb treated me with a river tour of the city’s architecture.