Last summer, I decided to accept an invitation to join an international art quilt group. I wrote about the group in this blog post  The group is called Cloth in Common. Every two months, one of the members shares an unusual prompt. We then take turns writing blog posts about our personal responses to this prompt.  Eight weeks later, we reveal our compositions.

Cloth in Common Members

Our first prompt was SOUND, and I created  Truth Confessions: Cacophony/Euphony. You can read more about that quilt here.

True Confessions

Our third prompt was LYRICALLY SPEAKING, and I composed LUCY.

LUCY for Web

Our second prompt was TOUCH, and I responded with HOT SEAT!


We have three size options for creating our quilts.

20’’ x 14’’ OR 20’’ x 30’’ OR 30’’ x 40’’

I have always chosen the largest size. It is a good size for piecers.

HOT SEAT! made sense as a response to TOUCH. I thought—touch—heat—hot—seat. And that was that.

The difficult part was figuring out how to piece a seat that looked like it was on fire.

American Made Brand Fabric had just sent me a delicious selection of their quilter’s cottons.  These textiles are entirely sourced and manufactured in the United States. The umbrella company is Clothworks


The cover of Improv Patchwork—Dynamic Quilts Made with Line & Shape features my first quilt using these fabrics.

Maria Shell Improv Patchwork

After American Made Brand saw the cover of the book, they asked me to make a few small pieces for their Quilt Market Booth in Portland this spring.

So, I paired their fabrics with the prompt and got busy. This is the hot seat palette.


I created dozens and dozens of flying geese units.


Some of the units would be the center of the chair, so they were pieced entire out of the seat fabric.


Some of the units would be the flames, so they were pieced out of the background fabric and the seat fabric.


Each unit is cut and pieced individually and then shaved. I am not trying to make them the same size, but I am trying to smooth the edges. I think of it as controled wonkiness.


Once I had enough pieced units, it was time to go to the design wall.


There was lots of fussing to get the flames to fit in relationship to the chair and the legs and the chair back.


When I construct a chair, the actual break down of parts looks nothing like a chair.


At some point, I mass produced the legs and the chair back spokes.


Finally it was time to quilt.


And quilt.


After my last few quilts, I have come to realize that it takes about 5 hours to complete a 12’’ x 12’’ section.


There are no short cuts. And triangles with all thier diagonal lines are the pits. So hard to do!


With that estimate, I can tell you that HOT SEAT! most likely took about 40 hours to quilt.

HOT SEAT! Back Detail Web

It can be a long tedious process to get there, but when I am done, I am usually very happy with the results.

HOT SEAT! Back Cropped WEb

While I was giving my gallery talk at the Valdez Museum last week, Faith Revell, the museum’s educator, said the fronts of quilts have all the information. And the backsides are like the circuitry of the quilt. I liked that way of thinking about the flip side.

HOT SEAT! Back Web

Cloth in Common’s fourth prompt is Kitchen Inspiration.

HOT SET! detail Web

We will be revealing our responses to that prompt March 27 – March 31.

HOT SEAT! Detail 5 Web

The next prompt will be mine.

HOT SEAT! Detail 4 Web

I invite you to follow along with the quilt making adventures of Cloth in Common by following this link and signing up to receive weekly updates on our work. 

HOT SEAT! Detail 3 Web

What would be really fun is if you all decided to use my prompt too! And then we could share all the quilts made here on the blog and on Instagram.


Think about it. I will give the prompt on April 1st. You then have two months to create a small quilt based on a very cool prompt with the grand TADA happening at the end of May.

This entry was published on March 10, 2018 at 4:16 PM. It’s filed under My Process-Quilts, Quilt Stories and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

11 thoughts on “HOT SEAT!

  1. This is great! You have such a fresh and creative eye! I look forward to trying the challenge for the April 1st prompt. I think someone needs to create an actual painted chair like your quilt!!! Would be amazing.

  2. 2018 is my year of challenging myself creatively, so the idea of creating a quilted piece from your prompt sounds like the perfect spring project for me. And your Artful mitts are on my “Making for Christmas” list.

  3. Karol Kusmaul on said:

    I love that you’ve invited your followers to play along with us!!!

  4. Jan Ellen Moskowitz on said:

    thanks maria. awesome as usual.

  5. Love Hot Seat (especially the back)!

  6. Thanks for so generously sharing the process of making your Hot Seat. Your ingenuity and industry are awe inspiring

  7. Love the intensity of hot seat. A challenge based on a prompt might get me out of my box and sounds fun.

  8. Pingback: Quilt Mkt Recap: New AMB Cotton Solids + Quilt Inspiration! | The Works

  9. heather on said:

    love your “hot seat” quilt! beautiful! thank you for sharing how you put it all together 🙂 quite an inspiration! 🙂

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