Lisa C.

What Do You Love and What Are You Good At? 

Part 1: Skills

Make a list of your skills.  Evaluate each one in terms of how you are at it.

Machine Piecing – this is the skill I am most comfortable with in my fiber art, probably because I have had the most practice doing this (Advanced)

Machine Quilting – love the texture that quilting creates (Intermediate)

Hand Stitching - adding texture to my fiber art (Intermediate)

English PaperPiecing (Intermediate)

Applique – lots of practice (Intermediate)

Color Sense (Intermediate)

Technical writer – I can describe things accurately and can master “to-do” lists with the best of them, but can’t say that writing down my most intimate thoughts and feelings is my cup of tea (Intermediate)

Machine Sewing – used to sew clothes using commercial patterns in my early days but abandoned it for a rotary cutter and some quilting classes in the mid 1980’s and never looked back(Intermediate)

Surface Design – starting to explore this area(Beginner) 

Hand Dyeing – have completed about three sessions with friends and on my own (Beginner)

Painting – no formal art skills in painting but I love to hold a brush in my hand and use acrylic paint to highlight details in my fiber art (Beginner)

Part 2:  Heart’s Desire

Desert Island Test - rate each of the skills based on whether you enjoy using them or not

Skills that I enjoy the most:

Surface Design

Hand Dyeing

Hand Stitch

Machine Piecing

Machine Quilting


Part 3:  Wannabe Skills

Write a new list of skills you want or need to learn, and then another of skills you want to strengthen.

Skills to Learn

Expand my repertoire of surface design techniques and materials to include:

Monoprinting – multicolor, fabric, paper

Rusting fabric – have never tried this, would like to experiment

Metal leaf lamination

Waxing paper

Linocut printing

Discharging fabrics using bleach and discharge paste

Stenciling with Shiva paint sticks

Create my own stamps with blue foam printing blocks and experiment with their use

Transfer paints – experiment on paper, then move on to fabric

Acrylic ink – experiment with its use in my work

Shearfabrics – think this could be an interesting way to add layers to my surface design

Dyeing fabric using natural dyes – could add some interesting hues to my color palette

Other related skills that I would like to learn include:

Sketchbook and journal use and discipline

Use of drawing to explore themes in my work

I-Pad drawing and painting skills – introduced to a few interesting “apps” but haven’t yet taken the opportunity to experiment and build skills

Skills to strengthen

Developing my artistic “eye” –  knowing the right elements to include in a piece

Hand dyeing fabric with Procion dyes

Machine quilting – always room for improvement here

Screen printing – have dabbled a little, but need much more practice to become adept at it.  Would like to explore breakdown screen printing further

Paper lamination – have done the workshop experience, andhave included some elements in my work, but need much more practice

Using Inktense pencils to intensify color

Painting with thickened dyes- stencils, lines, scraping

Incorporating text – would like to improve my ability to write text using squeeze bottles and thickened dyes

Part 4:  Perfection

Can you quantify what it would take in order to be completely satisfied and IN LOVE with something you made?

I would mount my completed piece on my studio wall and really look at it, then ask myself:   “Is there anything I would do differently or change?”  If the answer is no, then I have come pretty close.

Themes and Variations

Analyze a piece you like – based on alignment, strengths, weaknesses, and perfection.  Acknowledge what really worked and what you would do differently if you had it to do again. 

The Piece:

First in a series of quilts inspired by tree rings (36” x 36”).  This piece was juried into our local SAQA exhibition in Burlington, Ontario, Canada in 2014


Accurate piecing

Machine quilting that supports the theme 

Hand work – multitude of stitched “marks” within quilted tree ring motif provide wonderful texture to the piece when viewed up close

Maple tree vignette imbedded within the pieced section

Layers of tree ring motifs within this piece – tree rings in printed fabric, tree form in the inset space, machine quilting motif

Asymmetry of the color block section within the piece

Different fabric textures - use of linen, silk and cotton

Restrained use of color – most of quilt is a neutral linen and commercial cotton with pops of color provided by the silk bars


Use of variegated thread to machine quilt tree rings “blurs” the banding of each ring section where used (although the variegated thread used in the linen background area adds a quiet texture to the piece)


Love the hand stitching in this piece.  Borders on the obsessive, I know, but it provides the texture that I love in the quilted medium.  Not a single one of the hand stitched marks shows through on the back of the piece.

Like the tree vignette within the piece.  Draws in the viewer.

What I Would Do Differently

Would add a ring of outer bark to the exterior of the quilted tree ring – perhaps using a strip of hand-dyed cheesecloth crinkled and stitched in place to suggest the roughness of the outer bark

Adjust thread selection in machine quilting to provide more pronounced color banding of the rings when viewed from a distance – color choices and thread weight

Would have made the quilted tree ring shape a little more asymmetrical to replicate what you actually see in nature