Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Needlework Tuesday - A Visit with Quilter Cheryl Arkison

This past Thursday, I was fortunate to attend a lecture/trunk show featuring quilter/designer Cheryl Arkison.  She was visiting London, Ontario from her home in Calgary, Alberta.  Cheryl is re known for her improv quilting techniques including the 'slab' block.  At a simple request from her, thousands of these blocks found their way to her house and they were used to make dozens of quilts to comfort those who's houses were destroyed during the flooding in Calgary area in June of 2013.

My friend Patricia introduced me to Cheryl's first book, Sunday Morning Quilts.  These quilts are like a breath of fresh air.  They are not your grandmother's quilt patterns, they are new and often unexpected.  This was my chance to see some of her works in person, and what a treat it was. 
This is a bold quilt.  Even thought they are quilting cotton, to me, these fabrics gave the impression of being made of velvet. 
This stunning green quilt is an experiment where Cheryl reversed the colours.  The blocks are plain white and the sashings are pieced and all green.  The quilt is heavily quilted with green thread.  I love the impact that all the green threads had on the white areas.  Cheryl talked quite a bit about playing in your quilting.  I tend to do a lot of that.  I'll be in my sewing room and will look at the fabrics sitting on my cutting board.  Next thing I know, I have cut and started to sew them together in some new way. Sometimes I make one block and stop, and other times I keep going and something comes out of it.  My best quilts result from playing with my fabrics.

Another one of the green quilts of Cheryl's.  My first thought was that this looked like agricultural fields.  Her explanation confirmed this.  The coloured bits in the blocks represent the flowering of the crops. 
Here are Cheryl and my friend Patricia.  Patricia is my conscience and she keeps me focused on sticking with a project and actually finishing it. Otherwise, I tend to get playing and wander in to another project.

 A Month of Sundays is Cheryl's second book.  It contains more of her quilting, but also includes more of her writing as well as photos of her family, friends and surroundings.  In this book, Cheryl explores Low Volume fabrics. These are fabrics where the often white background overwhelms the print.  When you step back and look at these fabrics, they tend to loose their colours/design and appear as white. This is a technique that I am going to have to try.
Her third book, You Inspire Me to Quilt, is the result of her husband repeatedly asking her to design and make a particular theme quilt.  Cheryl decided to invite nine of her quilting friends to submit quilts that they designed at the urging of their families/friends.

While a fourth book is in the works, Cheryl is keeping it a secret at this time.

I was inspired by this talk and couldn't wait to get back home to my sewing.  The hard part is to finish what's on my table before I start playing again.

Do you have a favourite designer who's work inspires you.  Please leave a comment or a link to your post where you have written about him or her.

Mister Linky is waiting below.


Lin said...

It's so long since I have been to a lecture - thinking about it the last was Susan Briscoe who does sashiko quilting about 8 or 9 years ago. So it is lovely to see your post with a new name to me and some inspiring quilts. Thank you. xx

Marie said...

Wow! Lucky you. I love both of those green quilts. Contemporary and beautiful. I'm not good enough at quilting (or other craft/needlework arts) to be able to play and still have stuff come out good, but I love trying new things.

I actually managed to throw together a NT post for this week. Sorry I haven't been around that much. I've been busy with other things.

Have a great week.

Roslyn said...

These modern looking ideas tweaked my curiosity so I looked at the book and may at some point buy it but my plate is overflowing! I might try thre block idea you showed, Cheryly has a tut for it on her blog so no need to buy the book for that part. it's a problem what to do with sall scraps of really gorgeous fabric it hurts to toss them and what else do we do?!