In April this year, our group had the great good fortune to organize a four-day workshop with Rosalie Dace. I was only able to take two days’ classes, but it was very inspiring – so much so that we have already engaged to bring her back next year. This time we had Rosalie’s Earth, Wind, Fire class, which synchs with a group challenge the Pointless Sisters set ourselves earlier this year. Sonoma County is still recovering from the effects of disastrous wildfires that hit our area last October. A lot of people are making quilts in response to the fires. I chose Earth as my first response to the challenge.
Rosalie’s teaching approach is very natural, humorous and free. We each brought inspiration photos to work from and our own fabrics. She shared some of her work with us, and then set us loose with instructions to start putting together pieces of fabric in a way that responded to our inspiration photos. What a variety of results! About halfway through the morning, Rosalie gave us a tutorial on her method of fine-line improv piecing. We just started putting pieces together and making little pieced units that went up on the wall.
I came home with a bunch of little units and little idea how to put them together. There was one piece that had a contrast-y stripe of orange-red, that Rosalie liked and suggested that I continue it further down into the design. I struggled for days at home to do that, and finally figured out how. I also ended up cutting one of the units that she had particularly praised right in half! But eventually I made a composition I liked. I just kept thinking about rocks.
My inspiration photos included a number of rock formations that I had taken on various trips around the western half of the US. Here’s one example, a photo of Devil’s Postpile in eastern California. And another basalt formation, below, taken on a trip to Yellowstone. I had about half dozen pictures of different types of rocks in all. My response to them was not literal, except I think I managed to nail the color palette.
I completed the piecing and then did free-motion quilting/thread sketching with a sheet of photos taped to the wall by the machine, showing various types of rocks for detail. Here is the finished item.
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