Saturday, February 5, 2011

MOAD/Improvisational Quilting

I was fortunate to take a class last weekend from Ed Johnetta Fowler-Miller. The class was held at MOAD, the Museum of African Diaspora in San Francisco. I found out about the class a little late, and it just dovetailed in nicely with my schedule, and am I ever glad I took it!

This class was in conjunction with a quilt exhibit at MOAD called Textural Rhythms, from African American artists, one of whom was Ed Johnetta.

Ed Johnetta started us off making greeting cards, as a way of loosening us up. She laid out a plethora of paper pieces and told us to just start ripping shapes and glueing them down. Absolutely no planning or arranging was allowed! When we gave her our finished cards of glued scraps, Ed Johnetta put them into framed cards, which made them look like little works of art!

They turned out looking surprisingly good, and it was a very freeing experience.

Then we moved on to our sewing machines. Similar assignment this time, we started with a rectangular base of muslin, and started randomly sewing strips to it. Again we used the "just grab and sew" method, with no planning.

When we finished that, she told us to sew three more of them, then combine all four into a larger piece to use as a wall hanging. Below you can see my result.

We were using all types of fabrics, too, from quilting cottons to decorator fabrics to flannel. Anything goes with this method!

I'm planning to use a blue inner border and an orange-ish outer border/binding, after I get it quilted.

Project Number Three.
Ed Johnetta told us to create a piece of fabric by sewing together some random strips to form a rectangle. When I showed her what I'd sewn, she proceeded to cut it into pieces. Yes, really! Then she said, "Now sew them back together again in a different arrangement." So I did what I was told.
We ended up going through three or four episodes of her cutting up my piece of fabric! And this is the end result.
I love the crazy and impromptu look of it.
With this method of slashing/piecing, the piece ends up with some amazingly small pieces in it. I don't think I could ever have sewn such small pieces normally.
It was a totally liberating and awesome two-day class. Ed Johnetta was amazing, too. She is a great teacher and a lot of fun to be around. If you ever get a chance to take a class from her, jump at it!


  1. I'm not sure I would have done very well with these methods, although I do like the look of many contemporary quilts. My hat is off to you!

  2. This looks like my kind of quilting! :) Love it