Journal Entry: August 9, 2020.
Gardens & Trails is first of the Pretty Pot flower basket quilts in a series I’m designing for *Organically GrammaTM. Embellished appliqué, wool blended with quilted cotton.
My renewed interest in flower basket quilts is largely inspired by two things. The first is a project my youngest grandson Evan and I undertook to practice our photography skills. The second influencer is the incredible artistic viewpoint expressed in the nature studies my friend Heidi Egerman creates. I am inspired to create a fiber translation of almost every nature photograph she posts.
Finding Inspiration from the Natural Beauty of Nature
Evan and I began our photographic journey with an early spring visit to the Denver Botanic Gardens. After our visit, I got the idea of making a large-scale quilted wall hanging (48” x 66”). I was inspired to fill a basket with wool and cotton fabric flower appliqué, embellished with embroidery and beads.
Our next outing was a hike on the Panorama Point and Bear Creek trails where we meandered through the O’Fallon, Corwina and Lair o’ the Bear Parks near Evergreen, Colorado. (We have fondly named this hike-that-never-ends: The Mis-adventurous Hike with the Unfortunate Two. As Dolly Parton quoted in the movie Steel Magnolias, “There’s a story there.”). We captured 100’s of floral and plant images for inspiration.
Evan and I also visited Chatfield Farms for a photoshoot. And, to add to my flora and fauna photo journal I also visited the Gardens later in the summer with granddaughters Morgan and Lily. They were in Colorado for one our Quilting with Kids Gramma’s Quilt Retreat visits. Taking time to visit gardens and trails provides an inspirational break for a quilter!
About Pretty Pot #1 for Organically GrammaTM
Gardens & Trails was made with fabric from my collection of Cherrywood Hand Dyed Fabrics and hand-dyed wool. Some of the wool I picked up from quilt shops across the United States, and other pieces I personally hand-dyed. I incorporated needle turned and raw-edge appliqué, very simple embroidery designs, adding beads for embellishment. I even brought together hand and machine quilting to join the quilted layers. You’ll also find a few flowers made with simple circle shades, hexagon shapes and YoYo’s. (I just love YoYo’s for embellishment!)
Imagining Design Elements
I referred to the flower photographs we took to guide my attempts at capturing the color, shapes and intricate details in my flowers. A note here… I have to be really careful not to get caught up in the details of a real flower. In my mind, I think I should be able to make an exact replica. I have to continue to remind myself that I simply am not going to get an exact replica of a real-life flower. My work won’t be like Heidi’s, who captures real life with her photography. Or that a painter might be able to capture in oil or watercolor imagery.
The mediums I work with are less malleable. Fabric, thread, buttons and beads, and stitching techniques create my translations of the real thing. And, I also utilize inspiration and direction from resources I have on my bookshelf. I particularly use those from my stitchery gurus Judith Baker Montano and Sue Spargo. I usually have Judith’s Embroidery & Crazy Quilt Stitch Tool and Sue’s Creative Stitching nearby as I’m working wool appliqué embellishments.
Quilted Flower Pots and Flower Basket Patterns
I get so much gratification from bringing texture and dimension into my designs with the tools and materials of a quilter and fiber artist. It’s great fun to figure out what I can use for my interpretation of nature’s grand design.
Gardens & Trails is just one of my projects with a floral theme. Another is Terra Cotta Gardens which appeared in McCall’s Quilting, March/April 2019. I recently re-purposed this project to convert it from a large pillow to a wall hanging for our guest bedroom. You can read more about it from the Quilting Daily website (formerly The Quilting Company) or buy the issue for the pattern. Links to these can be found here:
What comes after Gardens & Trails?
I have four more flower basket quilt designs in the works for the Pretty Pots quilt series by Organically GrammaTM. And, I can’t wait to share them with you. Check on my progress with the next quilt, Panier de Points, on Instagram and Facebook. Hint: A traditional quilt block design + Northcott Banyan Batik fabric + Wool appliqué + Embellishments.
* What’s with Organically GrammaTM?
You never know when the seed of a good idea will sprout. Sometimes you don’t even know what will end up growing. During our annual summer quilting get together, I was describing some ideas I have for flower basket quilts to my granddaughter Morgan. I mentioned that I was at a loss to name the quilted wall hanging that became Gardens & Trails. She thought of Pretty Pots. My first reaction was it could be a good name for the collection. After further thought, Morgan’s next words were “organically gramma”. I asked her why. Morgan told me she feels ‘Organically Gramma’ describes my quilting style perfectly. EUREKA! So perceptive; I think she is spot on! And, a brand was born. So… watch for more Pretty Pots designs by Tricia Patterson for Organically GrammaTM at the Quilter Exchange & Fiber Art Studio. 🙂