The Blue Door, AP # 66

Being Stretched

Since May 2016 I have had the amazing opportunity to attend classes at the Woodland Ridge Retreat. While there I have studied under Rayna Gillman, Lisa Binkley, and Pam Beal. Pam taught the class Minimalist Design, Maximum Impact.

Opening oneself up to new ideas can be scary and exciting at the same time.

Pam’s class stretched me in ways that made me feel uncomfortable. She nudged me to think outside the box, use unconventional materials and incorporate blank or negative space.

The small expressions of art that developed from those trying moments will be the focus of my attention over the next several postings.

First Up

The first to take shape was Blue Door.

Blue Door, AP # 66
Blue Door, AP # 66

Near the center is a stitched together grouping of blue and teal strips. The denim colored pieces were the inspiration for my small quilt’s name. They are the doorway to my new adventure.

By attending this class I was in essence opening a new door.

A door that led me into a hallway filled with apprehension, inspiration and intrigue.

How fitting to name the first minimalist art quilt to evolve from Pam’s class

Blue Door.

A Closer Look

Let’s take an even closer look.

Immediately surrounding the door are two thin strips of a soft gray fabric. Those slivers of light surrounding the door represent the opportunities just waiting to burst through and enlighten my exploration.


Next to the rays of light are black fabric. The black symbolizes the apprehension I often feel before I open new doors. As my heart beats faster and my muscles begin to tighten I feel as if I’m surrounded by darkness…unable to focus.

The Handle

In the lower right corner is a small green rectangle. This added pop of color is the handle to my door.

Stitched on top of the green fabric is an iridescent bead. The bead, with its shiny facade, beckons me to open the door.

Aha Moments

I reach for the door and turn the knob. As the door creaks open the fog or darkness begins to fade and is replaced by an even brighter light. The bright light that expands my way of thinking is represented by the two larger strips of the same soft gray fabric.

Filtering through the bright light are the “aha” moments when the uncertainty begins to unravel. Understanding new concepts is not something that happens all at once. The learning comes slowly. Those glimmers or breakthroughs are identified by the blue and teal print fabrics.

Hand Quilting

Throughout the entire miniature art quilt you will see rows of carefully placed hand stitching. The thread colors selected were meant to quietly compliment the fabrics without drawing unnecessary attention.

Finishing Touches

Blue Door, AP # 66 measures 12” long and 8 3/4” wide. A single layer of cotton batting secretly rests between the quilt top and the black cotton backing. A sleeve for hanging and a label were added to the back.

New Opportunities

The process of creating my small art quilt took me on a journey that opened opportunities for greater growth in my exploration of the arts. I’m very pleased with its outcome.

Your Reaction Please!

Now that you have met Blue Door what are your thoughts?


A QAL Project For Me, Day 6

Day 6

Mystery QAL Day 6, Plan of Attack

With a new day comes a new strategy. Let’s compare the Day 5 and Day 6 design wall photos.

If we divide the right photo into vertical thirds it will be easier to identify the changes.

Let’s look at the left section first. In that area there are three changes to note.

  1. A yellow border was added around the bottom improv circle block.
  2. A blue border was added around the block directly to its right.
  3. The block in the bottom right corner was moved over from the center section.

In the center section the only change made was the addition of a yellow border around the bottom block.

Now, for the right section there are two changes

  1. The improv circle block in the bottom left corner now has a blue border.
  2. A green border was added to the bottom right improv block.

Are You Lost?

Could you stay with me or did I loose you? I really didn’t mean to confuse you if I did. I just thought it would be fun to dissect and compare the two photos. I know I’m a nut when it comes to details, but what can I say! I’m a detailed oriented, spreadsheet packing numbers person. I guess it comes from being a bookkeeper for darn near three decades.

All kidding aside, the process of analyzing your original art piece is a very important exercise. This activity helps to identify the areas that are working as well as the ones that need more attention. Hopefully through careful examination you are able to achieve a much more pleasing outcome.

More Applications

This technique can also be used when selecting your fabrics. Next time you are pulling fabrics for a project lay the fabrics on a surface and take two photos; one in color and one in mono tone. Then compare the two. Ask yourself this question, “Did I achieve an even distribution of light, medium and dark fabrics?” If you can’t answer yes, then rethink your color value choices.

The same principal can be applied when choosing colors for an individual block. Before cutting those fabrics do a color value test. I think you may be surprised at how strongly some of your colors fight against each other and how some of the colors simply get lost because there isn’t enough contrast.

Even if you have already made the investment in fabric, don’t be afraid to make some changes. Better to do it now than press on and be unhappy with your project in the end. If you use this technique, when creating your next block or quilt, I think you will be much happier with the overall outcome.

Let’s Take One More Look

Remember how we did the color value experiment in Day 5? The examination showed obvious issues that needed to be addressed. Well, lets compare a mono print of Days 5 and Days 6 to see how well I did or did not do at finding remedies.

Comparing Day 5, which is on the left, and Day 6, over on the right, at first glance it looks like not too much has changed. However, if I look more closely I can see that even though the blocks are pretty much in their same arrangement the appearance of some of them has changed.

All of the changes took place in the very bottom row. In the left photo pretty much everything reflects a dark value. On the right I see that the blocks have taken on an alternating dark, medium, dark, medium, etc., pattern. By adding a medium valued border to every other block I have achieved more interest. While I would like to think that this was enough of a change my hunch is that I could do even better. Let’s see what happens next time.

Thank You!

Anyway, thank you so much for sticking with me and allowing me to over analyze my design. I really appreciate the time we had to spend together and I look forward to our next visit. Talk with you soon! 🙂





A QAL Project For Me, Day 5

Mystery QAL Day 5 Agenda

Day 5

Doesn’t seem possible but I’m already working on Day 5 of my journey to create my Mystery QAL original art piece. So many things have already been accomplished and yet there is so much left to do. I’m so thankful that I took notes as well as many photos. Without them I would be lost when it comes to sharing my progress.

Let’s Get Started

Yesterday I had so much fun exploring the technique of creating and stitching curved strips As a result, I decided to continue my experiment by making two more blocks today. Using a section of this recently made multi-colored, strip for the center

Mystery QAL Day Four, Pieced Strips

I first surrounded it with a border of dark blue fabric. Next I cut and pieced orange curvy strips on the outside edges. This is how the first block looked when it was complete.

Mystery-QAL-Day-5-Curvy Block
Mystery QAL Day 5, Orange Curvy Block

The second block was made pretty much the same way with the same center strip only this time the first border was fashioned from magenta colored fabric. Added next were curvy strips of lime green. Take a look at the second finished unit.

Mystery QAL Day 5, Second Curvy Strip Block

I am absolutely thrilled with the outcome for both of them. The color combinations as well as the curvy lines will add so much interest. These two blocks will make awesome additions to my original art piece.

A Facelift

After finishing those two sections I decided to work with a previously started block. You can see it in its original state in the photo below. If you look toward the center of the design wall you will see an angled, strip-pieced unit surrounded by a magenta border.


Mystery QAL Day 4, Design Board

To finish the block off I decided to use some of the curvy, pieced strips I had created previously. To the top and bottom edges I added my blue and purple curvy, pieced strips.

Mystery-QAL-Day 5-Block-Progress
Mystery QAL Day 5, Block Progress

I’m much happier with this block now that I have given it more attention.

Let’s Compare Day 4 and Day 5

The above two photos show my design boards from Day 4 and Day 5. I’m sharing both of them to make it easier to notice my changes. Comparing the two you will notice that in the Day 5 photo I have created and added five more units, including the three described above. I’ve also subtracted the random sections of the multi-colored strips and moved most of the building blocks to new areas. These changes have begun to make my original art piece look more organized.

Color vs. Mono Tone

One of the very helpful tips I learned while studying with Rayna Gillman is to not only take color photos of your work but to also take additional photos using the mono feature on your camera. The mono version helps to visualize the distribution of your light, medium and dark colored fabrics. Ultimately an even distribution would provide the best possible outcome. This arrangement encourages your eyes to travel around your piece. Having too much of one intensity in an area tends to keep your eyes from moving about the art piece or quilt. This creates stagnation.

Shown above are two photos. The one on the left is my Day 5 design wall in color. The photo on the right is the same photo only seen in mono tones. As I look at the photo on the left it appears that I have done a pretty good job at distributing the rainbow of colors. It also looks like my lights, mediums and darks are equally as well disbursed.

Now lets take a look at the photo on the right. When I look at the photo on the right I get a totally different feeling. In this photo I obviously can’t see color. I do see line movement as well as color value. With all of the pretty colors removed its much easier to analyze the impact of my art piece on my eyes. It’s as if all the prettiness has been striped away and all that remains are the conflicts created by my fabrics values. To put it another way, there’s no makeup to coverup the flaws.

The photo on the right shows that while the top half of my art piece appears to have a fairly evenly distributed arrangement of color value the bottom half tells a different story. In that section the darks are more concentrated.

This comparison helps me to not only look at color and value but it also helps to identify my problem areas. Locating what otherwise might be overlooked gives me ample information to formulate my next moves in the days ahead .

Thank You!

Anyway, thank you so much for sticking with me and allowing me to over analyze my design. I really appreciate the time we had to spend together and I look forward to our next visit. Talk with you soon! 🙂