Sunday, April 15, 2012

Design Inspiration

Being able to express myself through quilting and other artistic endeavors feeds my soul.
I think if I did not have the opportunity to be creative on a regular basis, I would feel sad and unfulfilled.
One of the most frustrating things about being a creative person is that there are so many ideas spinning around in my head, but not enough time to do something with all of them!
People ask me "Where do all those ideas come from? What inspires you to design?"
For me, inspiration can come from almost anywhere. Often it is from nature. I look closely at flowers and other plants to find magnificent colors, interesting textures, intriguing patterns, and a myriad of shapes.
Man made objects can also spark an idea for me. Whenever I go into a big city, I enjoy searching for interesting architectural elements on buildings. People think I am taking random pictures of stately edifices, but really it is just more fuel to feed the creative fire!
I'm always paying attention to decorative details on common, everyday objects. Think about possible quilt designs that are inspired by this antique glassware!

My cousin loved the decal on an old dish that had belonged to my great-grandmother, so I made a quilted wallhanging for her, using that old design.

Sometimes I fall in love with a fabric that inspires an entire quilt. The red squiggles in this fabric made me think if oak leaves in the fall, and from that, "Autumnal Equinox" was born!

One of my favorite ways to brainstorm a design is to do the following:
1. Put four small bags in front of you.
2. On individual pieces of paper, write down as many COLORS as you can. Place them in the first bag.
3. Write down the names of as many QUILT BLOCKS as you can think of and put them in the second bag.
4. In the third bag, do the same for SHAPES.
5. In the last bag, put in slips of paper with all kinds of THINGS written upon them.
6. Pull a piece of paper from each of the bags. Do some brainstorming to incorporate all of those ideas into a quilt design.

It is fun to do this with a group as a design challenge. Everyone's block or quilt will come out differently, even though the design elements that were picked are the inspiration for each project.

Years ago, I did this exercise with my guild. We picked teal (COLOR), nine patch (QUILT BLOCK), circle (SHAPE), and fish (THING). Can you find all of those requirements in my kitty quilt?
If you ever get stuck for an idea, the method described above is a great way get your brain jump started again!

There are all kinds of websites that come up if you search Google for "design inspiration". One of my favorites is You could spend hours and hours poking around on the pages of this site!

I hope I've sparked some inspiration in you for your next quilt! Send me an e-mail about what inspires you at

Happy Quilting!

1 comment:

Marie S. said...

Great Blog Kristi. I so love your creative work and hope to see more of your work and patterns.