Inspiration for an artist of any sort doesn't just refer to seeing something or hearing something and then turning it into a project. Inspiration can come in the form of people and ideals. I had that experience the other night and it gave me so much energy, so much affirmation for the approach I have to quilting. On Friday I had the pleasure of attending a trunk show by Bill Kerr from Fun Quilts.
Fun Quilts is the quilt baby of Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr, a husband and wife combo of designers, artists, quilters, teachers, and authors. I discovered them about 5 years ago. There'd been a bit of a lull in my quilting, mostly because I felt a little alone and lost in what I was trying to do. I knew that I wasn't that interesting in traditional piecing, but I hadn't found anyone who was quilting like I was, with simple and bold designs. And I didn't want to see another Yellow Brick Road quilt!
So I did what most of us do these days, I turned to the internet. My very first Google search was with the term "modern quilts." I'm not sure I googled anything else, to be honest, because so much came up. It was eye opening for me.
At the top of the search results was the book The Modern Quilt Workshop and a pile of blogs showcasing work from the book. Wow, it was eye opening. No, I didn't rush out to the buy the book. (I'm not a pattern person and this book is mostly patterns.) But I started exploring all the blogs and got so excited. Generally I'm not one be a joiner, preferring my own track, but this felt like a community of like-minded creative folks.
It was just the inspiration I needed, just the kick in the pants to get me creating again. I started sketching and sewing with energy again. I even started the blog after not too long. And now, I can honestly say that the one internet search led to a a whole new creative me.
Seeing Bill Kerr speak, one of the authors of The Modern Quilt Workshop, is only getting me more jazzed about creating. His presentation included a brief discussion of design and the reflection of quilt design as a sign of the times. And this, really, is the crux of the Fun Quilts approach. There is no one visual style to their work, rather they like to think they create quilts that are a reflection of the times we live in.
Sigh. So perfect.
Then he went through a number of their quilts, discussing the inspiration or motivation behind the piece. For example, this one was inspired by a can of mixed nuts and boxes of cereal. And I thought I was the only one who was inspired by food! And the one above was inspired by the departure maps in the back of the airline magazines.
It has actually been a while since I was on their site and in preparation for the trunk show I found myself browsing through their quilt gallery. It actually shocked me to see the influence of them in not only my quilts, but in many others I've seen. Either we think exactly the same, or their quilts were hidden in my subconscious when I was sketching!
Sometimes it is so enlightening to meet the people who inspire you. Thankfully with quilt celebrities you almost always get the chance to actually chat with them as well. I always admired the work of Fun Quilts and now I admire the people behind it. I identify with their approach and personalities (even if they managed days of skiing without incident while visiting our area). And I am totally focused on where I want to take my quilting and my creative life. That, for me, is the result of true inspiration.