Yesterday, I taught Art Appliqué at the Quilt Zone. I’ve used the technique taught in this class to create many community quilts. Here is McCarthy Solstice made by the locals of McCarthy, Alaska.
With both types of community quilts, it is rare that the participants actually know how to piece, appliqué, or quilt. They don’t know the rules of quilt-making which is usually a good thing. Of course there is always the renegade participant who glues his design to the ironing board or iron. That’s a little crazy, but I’ve gotten good at identifying those types before they can do too much damage.
I recommend fabrics that have bold geometrics such as strips, dots, and plaids. Solid fabrics are also good. These fabrics are then cut into shapes.
With the bold geometrics, I use the pattern in the fabric to make all sorts of things. If you have studied the history of quilt-making, you will know that this is really just my take on Broderie perse. In Owsley’s Owls, I used this technique to make a bunch of funky birds.
The solid fabrics are cut up into shapes that also represent new things. Here is a braided river and a mountain range.
I have never taught this style of improvisational appliqué to traditional quilter-makers. I must say at first I was afraid the entire thing was going to go awry. There was a wee bit of tension in the classroom over getting things right, and it didn’t help that my supply list was on the vague side. In the end, creativity trumped tension and art was made.