Quilting with Gwen
June 10, 2013 § 20 Comments
My mom and I had the privilege of spending four days with Gwen Marston in her Liberated Medallion workshop on Lopez Island last week. Can I just say that it was AMAZING! She is such a sweet, patient teacher, encourager, story teller and all around interesting person who is preserving and passing on the art of quilt making. And the class was full of amazing & talented women. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to meet Gwen & all the women in her workshop.
My tablemate was Sharon at Grass Roots Quilting and we had so much fun! You have to go check out her blog. She gave a much more complete rundown of the workshop. The next table over was LeeAnn of Nifty Quilts, who is also an amazing quilter. And I got to see her green Lone Star in person! Wow! I am always inspired by what she is working on. And I got to meet so many lovely women who live near & far. It was truly an inspirational weekend! Now, if I could just preserve that energy in the days to come. I think my sewing mojo might be back.
This is my medallion at the end of four days. The wedges on top are going to be baskets. One day. I started with that old charm pack of Flea Market Fancy that was sitting in my closet and just started building from there.
One thing that Gwen & many of the women in class talked about is slow quilting. Taking the time to let our quilts grow and develop in their own time. Rather than making a whole quilt in a weekend, letting the parts come together slowly and letting them speak & tell a story. Life happens while we are quilting and many times this comes through in the quilts we make. Antique quilts were made over months of time, often in the winter when there was less work to be done. Fabrics from old clothing were used. The quilts told stories about the lives of their makers. And from this, their quilts became interesting. Fabrics changed throughout the quilt. Corners may have been cut off. Things may not match just right. All give a clue to the life being lived behind the making of a quilt. Sometimes I think we get lost in this technological, informational, need it right now, kind of world we live in. While it’s nice to have the internet at our fingertips and be inspired by quilters around the world, it can also hinder our quiltmaking by quieting our own voices.
One thing that has been on my mind these last couple of years is to slow down, simplify, and find my own voice in the things I make. My quilts only need to make me happy. While it’s a joy when someone else likes them, it isn’t the reason or the purpose for the journey of quiltmaking. Gwen mentioned that in her earliest days of quiltmaking she learned many of her foundational techniques from some Mennonite women that took her under their wing stitching in the basement of their church. I would love to stitch & learn & let life speak through the quilts I make.
We also had the opportunity to see Gwen’s medallion in person. It is even more amazing in real life! You just don’t have any clue in the book on how to visualize the scale of these blocks. So I had to take a photo with the iron in the foreground so you can see that some of these blocks are tiny.
One of my favorites was this fussy cut bunny in the center of a liberated star.
The class was held in the historical Port Stanley Schoolhouse.
It is located in the middle of the island surrounded by farms. It was so peaceful. And the weather couldn’t have been better. No rain! Sunny. Just gorgeous.
After class one day we took some time to drive to the Center Church. Just down the hill were a few cattle grazing. My hubby bicycled all over the island while we were quilting and then gave us a rundown of what he had seen that day. When he gets the photos off his camera I may post a few more pics of the island.
The house we rented couldn’t have been more perfect. It was the cutest cottage just a few yards from the beach. We could watch the ferry come & go throughout the day.
And we loved watching the sun set each day out the living room window. We are dying to go back to Lopez Island again!