Design a Quilt with Your Inner Child

Do you create quilt designs like a child? Some people might be offended by that question, but I'm not. When I reminisce over my children's early drawings, I see freedom. Freedom to imagine the sun green, to see a fish in a squiggle, or to paint a boat sailing into the air.

As art quilters, we already look askance at rules. But how many of us allow ourselves the freedom to create contemporary quilt designs as if we were children, without worrying what others will think?

If you've lost contact with your young inner artist, you want to put more "art" in your art quilts, or you just want a fresh take on how to design a quilt, Carrie Bloomston would like to help.

quilting design inspiration bloomston
Carrie Bloomston used this painting by her
son to create an flower quilt design.

A self-described "inner-artist enabler," Carrie walks you through several exercises to help free up your approach to drawing and designing on her Quilting Arts WorkshopTM video, Art Techniques for Quilt Design: Drawing, Composition, Collage, and Stitch.

As an example of her approach, Carrie uses her young son's painting as inspiration to design a quilt.

quilt design collage exercise bloomston
Carrie Bloomston's quilt design exercise helps you create
without overthinking the process.

Here's how Carrie adapted her son's design:

1. Eyeballed the design and freehand cut fabric shapes for the flower petals.

2. Ripped a strip of fabric for the stem. (Ripping gives the fabric texture and makes a more interesting stem than a straight line, says Carrie.)

3. Tacked down the fabric pieces with a glue stick.

4. "Drew" around the shapes with stitching.

This exercise takes only minutes, but it's a great way to loosen up your design process–leaving no time for your inner critic to speak up.

contemporary quilt design bloomston
The finished contemporary quilt design inspired
by Carrie Bloomston's son's artwork.

In fact, Carrie urges us to listen, instead, "to the weird urges that you have, because that's usually where the magic happens. Celebrate your inner artist." 

Try this technique in your own studio with a child's drawing or one of your own from days gone by. Remember to interpret the spirit of the original artwork; let it inspire you to set your inner artist free.

For more of Carrie's exercises and ideas for designing quilts, order Art Techniques for Quilt Design now. It's so much fun!

P.S.  Do you listen more to your inner child or your inner critic? Leave your answer and tell me why one is more vocal than the other.

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2 thoughts on “Design a Quilt with Your Inner Child

  1. The inner critic I hear in my head when I’m in “creative mode” is just fear that my work isn’t good enough, no one will like it. But, I remember as long as I like what I’m making there will always be one person who likes my art. Me! An artist child has fun, and creating art should always be fun.