Creative Buzz

January 22nd 2014

It’s always gratifying to see one’s own design ideas carried into new designs.  In my dreams I always hope that something I have made might trigger a new idea in someone else and that they will somehow take my original design forward.  I love the buzz I get from creating something that I perceive as beautiful and would love to think that someone else gets inspired from seeing something I have made so that they get that buzz of enjoyment too.    About 6 years ago I appliqued a quilt that was a whole new idea for me and when the last bit of binding was sewn down I put it on the floor and stood on a stool to look at it.  The first, rather mad thought that came into my head was that I felt the world was better to have this quilt in it.  That sounds so pompous and big headed and I don’t mean it in that way at all – it wasn’t even that great a piece – but all the same it’s lovely to fill the world with home made things that take time and love and give pleasure both in the making and subsequent enjoyment of them. 


I have spoken before of my connection I feel I have with Anna Maria Garthwaite (1688 – 1763)

and how her silk designs of the 1800s transpose themselves into my quilts.  At first, when I wasn’t so confident in my own designs I copied some of her ideas to a degree that, for example, had she walked past my Trellis of Red Flowers Quilt she would have stopped and certainly recognised the connection between her little sketch and my quilt.   But now just looking at her designs get me inspired with my own ideas and into the mood to design something new.  (Type Anna Maria Garthwaite in your search bar and press Images – you’re in for a treat).   I had a long conversation about design and musical influences last week with my son Max, a guitarist and musician.   We debated copyright and the rights to your own creative ideas, whether it is right that one can ‘own’ an idea or not, especially given that one’s own ideas are usually inspired or influenced by others, what constitutes a breach of copyright in terms of a “riff” in his case or a design in mine.  We decided how one never really owns the right to a design in the larger scheme of things, historically speaking and that artists just play a role in the furthering of design and ideas through the generations and just how exciting it is to be a part of it.


I am lucky enough to have struck up a friendship with a fellow appliquer, Christine Wickert and we are full of mutual admiration for one another.  She has just completed a quilt called “My Version of a Persian” which is so astonishly beautiful it takes my breath away.  I think it is my favourite quilt of all time.  Ever.  I am lucky enough to have seen a photo of the completed quilt and its first viewing will be at Lancaster AQS.  It is her trumpet to blow so I won’t tell you more but she has taken some designs of mine so much further, into a new realm of beauty and into a whole new dimension.  A real thrill for me.  I guarantee you will be seeing it in the quilt world this year 2014.  I won’t jinx anything but if I were a judge it would win every prize in the book.


Some kind lady got in touch with me last week to let me know about a Block of the Month quilt at the online store Common Threads which uses both of the designs from my Twilight Garden Pattern pack.


Funnily enough I saw another quilt rather like this recently when both patterns from my pattern pack were used together.  It took me aback at first sight because I had never thought of using the designs together in the same quilt – the Spring Flower Garden Quilt flowers are all almost botanically correct whereas those in Midnight Garden are mainly fantasy flowers out of my head.  But it works and what a beautiful quilt this is – really gorgeous and perfect choice of fabrics.  I love it and wish it were on my bed.   


Meanwhile I am so grateful to many of you for your help in my attempt to raise some money for the Melio Foundation here in Montreal.  In order to write the pattern, draw it out and remember how I made it I have been sewing like a whirling dervish over the past couple of days to get a new version made.  The full sized pattern is now drawn out and at the printers and so the pressure is off and I can just enjoy my sewing.  What I love about this pattern is that because of the way it is constructed you can actually stop off at various points and the block still works.  You can create four different versions using the one pattern.  So if you’re not in the mood and don’t want to go the whole hog you can leave out the chillis and rosemary and still have a lovely block.   I decided to remake it in the cool elegance of the Oakshott Italy collection this week and felt that the colours cried out for a more modern restrained appearance.  I decided to stop after completing the olives and not put in the chilli peppers or rosemary.  


I’m not sure what to do with it, whether to make a companion block out of the other six colours from Italy on the same background or whether to make this into another stool cover.  So for the meantime I shall leave it as it is. 


4 thoughts on “Creative Buzz

  1. Christine Wickert says:

    Well!!! I am ashamed to say that I had never heard of Anna Maria Garthwaite! I did as you suggested and found lots of her gorgeous designs on line. And if I ever get to the Victoria and Albert Museum, I will certainly check out what they have of hers. I am so flattered by your comments about my “Persian'” and want to let everyone out there know that the feeling is mutual about all your quilts, Debby. Your Euphoria, personally seen, though from beyond the ropes, in Lancaster last year, took MY breath away! I am just so delighted to have found a fellow HAND appliquéer and quilter with whom I can exchange ideas. I will forever be Debby’s devoted fan.

  2. Christine Wickert – as in “Sampling the Silk Road”?? If so, “Persian” should be breath-taking! I’m in awe of Christine’s work. Can’t wait to see it. Something that combines both of your talents should win Best of Show!! As for Anna Maria, I haven’t heard of her, either – but now that I’ve seen her designs, I’ll never forget the name. Beautiful! Love your new block — how about making the other one and framing them both? Of course, your footstools are always fabulous. Still can’t get over your Cathedral Windows one!

  3. Debbie i got so excited when I saw your connection with Christine Wickert.
    I am privileged to belong to THE Genesee Valley Quilt Club here in Rochester and Christine is a most humble generous person sharing her talents with us. I love your work and am off to Staples to have your book ” Beautiful Botanicals” spiral bound so I can enlarge patterns on my printer. I do love applique but have a long way to go!
    Thank you for sharing….Rosemary and Olives just literally makes me drool.

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