Improv String Quilt: ‘Deepening’


A strange title for a quilt maybe, but it means a lot to me.  Someone recently told me that they thought the second part of life (in which I now have a very firm foothold!) is “a deepening”.  It resonated with a lot of things in my life; not least asking myself  ‘what have I done so far that I can deepen?’. Knowledge? Self understanding? Creative practice? I think, for me, creative practice helps deepen self understanding; knowledge helps deepen practice.

'Deepening' 2015. Quilt top made from scraps and old clothes. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

‘Deepening’ string quilt top (approximately 58″ x 46″)

This is my finished improv string quilt top; I showed the 5 ‘string sheets’ that it’s made from in my last post.  I’ve not been able to get a photo that does the nuances of colour and tone any justice.  The light hasn’t been great and I confess photography’s not my strong point – the technicalities of it don’t interest me. I hope the images give you a flavour of it though.

It was a revelation to discover that I could capture a mood that was so strongly in my mind with fabric and thread (other people do, I just wasn’t sure it was my medium to do it in).  My intention wasn’t to create something ‘pretty’ or practical.  It wasn’t simply about experimenting. It wasn’t about pattern or fabric prints.  It was about using colour and line to evoke a mood to capture moments I spent sat in a field drawing earlier this year (these are a few of the drawings: Hedge, Paul Loder’s Field, It’s Complicated (Winter Birch) ). Or the way the light changed behind the bare tree branches as dusk fell. Or, more abstractly, a state of mind: the light and darks, the richness of fading colours, the dullness, the meandering lines going nowhere in particular. Rhythm.

Part of me feels ridiculous describing it like that. Pretentious. Lofty. Then I ask myself why. If it were paint on canvas it wouldn’t feel pretentious. Fabric and thread is still deemed feminine, and the feminine, it still feels, is not allowed to aspire to high art.  Instead it’s dismissed as ‘less’, somehow.

So, my thoughts are deepening. Still.

'Deepening' Finished improv string quilt top. © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Detail – thin slivers

'Deepening' Finished improv string quilt top. © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Detail – light and dark

Linking up with Finish it up Friday over at Crazy Mom Quilts.  By the way, have you heard about the new improv link party being organised by Ann and Kaja of Fret Not Yourself and Sew Slowly?  I believe it kicks off next week (1st September), so head on over for details.

If you’d like to know more about making an improv string quilt using some of the techniques I employed for this one, you need Sherri Lynn Wood’s book The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters on your bookshelf!   I’m using some of the improv ‘scores’ she describes to help build my improv repertoire so that I can express my own thoughts and ideas more fully.  Next up is the Patchwork Doodle. I don’t know if it’ll beat my feelings of string sheet satisfaction though… This improv string quilt ‘Deepening’ has captured everything I wanted. Even if my photos haven’t.

I’m linking up with Sew Slowly and Fret Not Yourself for the first Ad Hoc Improv Quilters (AHIQ) link party.  Head on over to discover other improv quilters and see what they’re up to!

Find details of my favourite link parties here:

Favourite Link Parties graphic © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Have a stitchy weekend!

10 replies
  1. Bossymamma
    Bossymamma says:

    Working the “improv” way has been quite a journey for you, hasn’t it. I think the name of this quilt is perfect.

  2. Ann
    Ann says:

    Yes, these are the colors of your paintings. Deepening is a good name. Not pretty and don’t want to be. It’s much deeper and more mature than mere prettiness.

  3. Ann
    Ann says:

    I need to add to my previous comment:
    Better than pretty, it’s compelling. It draws me in like the best abstract paintings. It really is the work of a mature artist – in experience. She sees good and bad and can live through both.

    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Ann, I just don’t know what to say except thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I’ve been struggling to find a way forward creatively and your careful thoughts and encouragement make me feel that it is worth the struggle. x

  4. Kaja
    Kaja says:

    Ann’s comment sums it up perfectly – this is a really strong, compelling evocation of mood. Deepening is an honest, fitting title too (and you are not being pretentious, so saying how it is). It is also an excellent reflection of a stage that women (can’t speak for men on this one) do seem to reach – I find myself having the same conversations with all my close friends, about what really matters in life now, what feeds our souls.

    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thanks Kaja, your thoughts mean a lot to me. I think you’re right, feeding the soul is what matters most. Making art, quilting – it’s about making connections to the past, the future…feeling that in some way you’re part of something meaningful. That’s one of the great things about this medium (blogging) of course – you can make strong connections with people across the world that you might never otherwise have come across. We could be sitting in very isolated worlds, but instead here we are feeding each others souls a little! x


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

I'd just like to say...