Art? Or imitation?

You guys know how I am drawn to this quilt. 


You’re probably tired of hearing me talk about it (Pieceful by Sally Collins) and are thinking “just make it already!”

Well, I started it.


An exact reproduction, right down to the two different scales of brown and white check…

And, it didn’t feel right.  It didn’t represent me appropriately.  Oh, sure, it would have taken two boatloads of skill to exactly re-create one of Sally Collins’ miniature masterpieces.  But, I’d never feel right showing it, because it was an exact reproduction.  I needed to change it if I was going to make it.  Somehow make it mine, like different color (blue/yellow would be great, huh?) or change a border or something.  I went to considerable trouble collecting the fabrics to exactly reproduce this quilt.  And, it was only after I had started it that I realized I didn’t want to make it.

So, I focused on the things I love about the quilt.  I love the scale and the piecing, especially the borders, but mostly, I love the color combination.  The brown and black combination is what drew me to the quilt and what made me stand in front of it when I saw it at her presentation and makes me want one of my own.  It was inspired and inspiring.

And, having met Sally Collins and taken her class, I think she would approve of my decision.  I think she would be pleased that she helped me develop the skills to make miniatures and I think she would be pleased that I was inspired by her color combination and her body of work.  And, I think she would be more pleased about that than if I exactly reproduced one of her quilts.  In fact, if it was me, I’m not sure I’d be pleased about that at all. 

That sent me in search of a project.  Something miniature and something I could make in black and brown.  I read a lot of patterns, even full sized patterns that I considered re-drafting to smaller scale.  And, I spent a lot of time thinking about which type of block I’d like to focus on next.  I was drawn to feathered star blocks and that led directly to Marsha McCloskey. 


I’m torn between two of her quilt…the triple feathered star (don’t have a picture, but you can look it up in pinterest…it’s fantastic!) and Star Spangled Banner.


A 28” block with 629 pieces.  Holy Cow!  The star in light, medium and dark browns with that famous larger scale brown and white check in the center.  Black in the background so that the star stands out.  And, if I put that on point with some inspiration from Sally Collins and piece a tiny little scale border to go around that.

Well, you see where this is going. 

But, the book with the triple feathered star pattern is on the way, so I’m trying to keep an open mind and trying not to cut any fabric yet.  But, it’s hard, right?  Once you find a place to go, it’s hard not to start on the journey. 

Have a great Wednesday.  I might need to take a day of vacation to start a quilt….



Lakegaldonna said...

Yes, I also think Sally Collins would be more pleased that you take the skills learned in her class and apply them to make a quilt our own rather than an exact replica of hers.
Have fun with it!

Mari said...

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so go for it and make something beautiful inspired by this pattern. I'm sure it will be lovely, and it will be yours.

Rebecca Grace said...

I totally get where you're coming from about not wanting to make a "replica" of someone else's quilt -- although I'm sure that Sally Collins and other quilters whose work is published are used to those "complimentary copycat quilts" popping up all over the place. It's kind of the price of fame, and so many quilters are good at the skills of quilt MAKING, but are not so gifted in their design abilities. I can totally understand why someone would want to copy a quilt they love as closely as possible if they have had a string of disappointments in the past when they tried to design something more original and they hated how it looked when it was finished. But for you -- design is part of your process. I think your feathered star mini is going to be gorgeous in the brown and black color scheme, and I'm looking forward to seeing it!

lw said...

I know for a fact that Eleanor Burns loves to see the quilts made from her patterns, and poses with them for photos with the quilter and her smile is really something!

On the other hand, I love watching your design process; your willingness to create something inspired by a Sally Collins quilt is why I think of you as an artist and not just a quilter.