Ideas can come at any time, and in the strangest places. It’s true that sometimes inspiration can strike out of the blue, maybe one of those sleepless middle-of-the-night flashes of genius that, when you think about it again in the cold light of day, isn’t always quite as impressive or indeed entirely practical. Before you launch yourself into fabrics and threads, you need an idea with which to work.
Here are a few tips for getting inspired and making your dream quilt a reality.
- Take time to think. Sometimes the idea that gets things going is more important to the development of a quilt than the time that will be spent actually making it. Draw, paint, and make lists in a sketchbook. Make basic design decisions. Bounce ideas off a trusted friend. Sometimes just telling someone about an idea can clarify it in your mind.
- Choose a subject. Ideas can come from almost anywhere. Once you have trained your eyes to see beauty and inspiration in everyday objects and places, it will become second nature to spot their potential. Study a favorite precious object up close. Sometimes inspiration can be an event or experience rather than a single object.
- Explore your theme. Although processes and products are vital to the success of any quilt, ideas are also valuable. Consider researching and developing your idea as a journey of discovery and don’t worry too much about the outcome. Brainstorm through photos, sketches, collected images, and objects.
- Team up. The creative process is often a solitary activity, but you may find that interacting with others on projects is enjoyable. Join a quilt group and set group challenges where collaboration is the key.
- Set a goal. Sometimes having an external deadline can be fun. You may find that you are tackling something completely new and outside of your normal comfort zone, or find something that initially didn’t fire your enthusiasm turns out to be enjoyable.
Excerpted from "Finding Inspiration" by Linda and Laura Kemshall in The Quilting Arts Book: Techniques and Inspiration for Creating One-of-a-Kind Quilts by Patricia Bolton.