To learn more about the Okan Quilt Retreat that features the Circle of Life theme +click here
By Patricia Belyea
WAUCONDA WA Sometimes I just don’t know what I’m doing! I have the seed of an idea and from there I manifest a quilt design.
For my upcoming retreats, I decided on two things: the theme — Circle of Life, and the focus — personal stories. With those two vague concepts, I offered my Circle of Life Retreats to the world. And people signed up!
In August, I began my creative journey of making a workshop sample. Over a two-week period I made a Background Grid and Circle Motifs that illustrated different phases of my life.
Then I went to New Zealand, got COVID, and unexpectedly stayed an extra week. During my getaway, I began to rethink my project.
Looking back, making the Circle Motifs had sometimes proved arduous. Although they looked like child’s play, the complex ones took two days each to complete!
Home from my kiwi travels, I started again with a new concept. Each Circle Motif would be simpler and represent my loved ones — those here today and those who have passed.
This time, I whipped up Circle Motifs that were easy and fun to make. In their simplicity, they looked bold and modern.
But now I had another problem. My Circle Motifs didn’t look good on my original Background Grid.
So I started again with another set of yukata cottons and made a new Background Grid. As always, I pre-washed my fabrics.
My Background Grid totally pleased me with the crispness of the indigo and white patterns.
When I placed my Circle Motifs on top of my new Background Grid, I got excited.
So I proceeded to insert the Circle Motifs into the background. (The two small circles were appliqued.)
Please note that none of my Circle Motifs are perfectly round. I drew the circles by hand. The non-symmetrical shapes create an extra challenge when piecing.
My workshop sample is complete. It includes Circle Motifs that represent my birth family, my married family, my lost ones, plus a few special loves in my life.
No one needs to know who is who with my Circle Motifs. My final composition was created via my concept but now it exists as a unique quilt that means something to me.
If exploring personal stories and getting lost and found in a design project appeals to you, please consider joining me for a Circle of Life Retreat in January.
The venue is Sea Pines Golf Resort in Los Osos on the central California coast. For info and to register +click here
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ABOUT US: Okan Arts, a petite family business, is co-owned by mother-daughter duo Patricia Belyea and Victoria Stone. Patricia and Victoria sell Japanese textiles online, host creative quilting experiences, and lead quilting & textile tours to Japan.
FOLLOW OKAN ARTS ON INSTAGRAM @okanarts