By guest blogger Heather Jones, author, speaker and teacher
CININNATI, OH My first solo book, Quilt Local: Finding Inspiration in the Everyday, is quite honestly a labor of love. I was first approached about five years ago to write a book at a time when I was just starting to quilt regularly. Frankly, I was still trying to find my creative voice.
I declined and instead focused on creating work that was meaningful to me. A few years later, I was approached by my amazing editor, Melanie Falick. The time was finally right and that I was ready to write this book.
Quilt Local contains twenty quilting projects, each in two colorways, that were inspired by places and things in my everyday life.
With my background in fine art and art history, I’ve always been interested in creating my own work, rather than copying others—which is not always the norm in the craft of quilting.
Generally speaking, many people make quilts based on patterns, thereby reproducing what has already been done. The quilts that excite me most are those that don’t look like anything else; those that have a beautiful originality to them.
When I started quilting in earnest around 2010, I began making quilts that were inspired by things I saw in my everyday life.
One of my first quilts was Mason Quilt. I designed that pattern based on a painted grid in the parking lot of a big box store near my house. Although I surely had seen the parking lot many, many times before, I was drawn to the bold graphic design of the lines and bar of the grid. For whatever reason, I saw it differently one day.
While it’s great to draw inspiration from exotic locations, I think it’s even more special to find beauty in things that we see everyday.
I have two young children, so I don’t travel much. I love that I don’t have to go far from home to see the beauty that surrounds me. That is the thought behind my book’s title, Quilt Local. It’s all about finding inspiration and beauty in my environment. And beauty surrounds us all, no matter where we live.
I get really excited when I get inspired by things that most people wouldn’t even notice—like a painted grid in a parking lot, or even an abandoned building. I love when that spark of creativity hits. It’s like a unexpected gift—one that I can’t predict but when it does, it’s the best.
In Quilt Local, I offer tips and techniques that I use to help focus and be open to this type of creativity.
In order to push myself creatively, I made each project in the book in two colorways. It’s amazing how different the same pattern can look just by changing the colors or fabrics. Each project contains construction instructions plus a mini lesson in color theory and fabric selection.
I often find that people see a quilt pattern and want to reproduce it exactly as shown. What’s more exciting to me is when quilters add a bit of themselves to a pattern I’ve created. Hopefully by showing two versions of each project, readers will gain the confidence to experiment with their own choices for colors or fabrics.
While I am often labeled a modern quilter, I think it’s important to acknowledge that my work is, in fact, steeped in history and tradition. For centuries, quilt makers have been inspired by places and objects in their everyday lives.
Think of Churn Dash, Rail Fence, Flying Geese, Log Cabin, and hundreds of other quilt patterns developed in the past. The (mostly) women who made these quilts had a desire to create beautiful, functional objects, and drew upon what they saw in their daily lives as inspiration for their work. I am honored to carry on this tradition.
To visit Heather’s website +click here