On quilting and other artforms

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marieKaren recently spoke with quilter and art blogger Marie Johansen of Zquilts. Here are her thoughts on inspiration, textiles, and creativity…

1. How do you come up with your ideas? What inspires you, and where do you go to get inspiration?

Obviously my beautiful, nature filled, surroundings have a huge effect on my inspiration, but I seem to just get ideas in dreams at times (where the idea for using the inks came from last night) or ideas will just pop into my head. Gosh! That sounds kind of corny I think! Sometimes, when I am having a “dry” spell or frustrating time with a project, I start doing something in a different medium and a solution to the problem will surface. I get pretty snarly if I can’t do something ‘art-full’ every day and even the judge has finally gotten used to me knitting or sketching through staff meetings! It took him about 8 years to figure out that I concentrate better on the ‘drier’ topics at hand when I can do some handwork during the meeting!

2. How do you design your artforms—on paper, on computer, or just from your hand to fabric?

I have tried using a computer—for quilting designs—but it just never clicked for me. I can’t figure things out unless I am actually “doing” the piece. Sometimes I can begin with a sketch and an idea for a larger project will evolve but in general—for all of the mediums I work in—I do work, as you suggested, hand to cloth or paper. Of course, this method means I make mistakes. Sometimes I will change direction with the piece and “make it work” and sometimes I take what I learned from the mistakes and just start over—and many times I just end up with variations on a theme. I never thought I could—or would—paint until I designed a large quilt for our County’s Centennial. The center sections were paintings from original photographs that were taken in 1906. That quilt made me want to paint more—and I have! As an aside note: that quilt was accepted into a large National Show in the “group” category and now hangs in our County Courthouse—it was difficult to find a wall large enough for it!

3. What are you working on now?

Right now I have been thoroughly besotted with a new product from Golden Paints—new digital grounds. I have been developing a technique that uses organza (treated with the Golden product) as an overlay on vintage kimono silks—and lettering with—of course—your wonderful inks and pens! I am working hard to develop my calligraphy skills and have a plan for an art quilt that will use all of these techniques. Many folks still think of quilts as just bed coverings but many quilters have taken textiles to another level of art for walls. I am also working on a set of small drawing (on my favorite little pads) that are sort of like studies for a larger project that I have in mind—and it will be a larger collage using many of your products.

5 thoughts on “On quilting and other artforms

  1. I have been following Marie on her blog for quite awhile now and know for a fact that she is a wonderful artist with many varied interests! Marie is one of those “special people” that we all love to know!

  2. I have been in awe of Marie’s art since finding her blog. She is amazing. Thank you for sharing a peek into her creative world.

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