From Sketchbook to Quilting Designs: Airstream Dreaming

27 May 2013

Where do you find inspiration for your quilt designs? Many quilt artists, like our June/July 2013 cover artist Jamie Fingal, record inspiration and plan out their quilt designs in a sketchbook.

jamie fingal quilt designs airstream dreaming
Quilt from Jamie Fingal's 'Airstream Dreaming' Series.
In the case of Jamie's series of quilts called "Airstream Dreaming," inspiration first came via Pinterest.

While sifting through the social media pinboard site one day, she came across a group of vintage trailer images someone had pinned. One with red polka dots and stripes caught her eye and prompted her to start her own "Trailer Park" board.

Musing on these images, Jamie internalized them, and then began sketching and mapping out her quilt designs.

"While drawing, I am always asking myself questions. Where is the focal point? Am I filling up the space? Is it a balanced, good design?" she writes.

"Drawing helps me determine the colors for each project, even though I am just drawing with a black pen on white paper. It helps me make a road map of my finished piece of fiber art."

jamie fingal quilt designs in sketchbook
Jamie uses a sketchbook to dream up quilt designs.
Here are Jamie's tips for sketching like a pro:

  • Use good materials. I use a Moleskine® Storyboard Notebook and black PaperMate® Flair® felt tip pen for my drawings.
  • Think small. My sketchbook has very small rectangles on each page. Filling in a small space allows for instant gratification and a sense of accomplishment.
  • Be prepared! I carry my sketchbook in my purse so I can sketch anywhere.
  • Draw what you see and what you know. I have drawn houses, leaves, flowers, cups and saucers, patterns, and even things that I find interesting on an airplane. Anything can be used as inspiration.

Jamie writes more about keeping a sketchbook and her Airstream quilt designs in the June/July 2013 issue of Quilting Arts.

To find out more about how she puts her designs and contemporary fabric together via her special "rebel" brand of modern quilting, download her Quilting Arts WorkshopTM video Rebel Quilting: Quilting Outside the Block.

P.S. Jamie was inspired by trailers. What vacation imagery inspires you? Leave a comment below.

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rshelly wrote
on 28 May 2013 8:20 AM

I also am inspired by vintage trailers. I rebuilt a trailer as my artist studio and I love it! I recently started making trailer pillows. Since you are a fan of trailers, you may like this project. I paint, sew, and do woodworking in my vintage trailer.