Thursday, July 24, 2014

Creative Blocks

“You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” 
 Maya Angelou

This month I had the opportunity to speak at the Westside Modern Quilt Club, a group of quilters who meet at the Pine Needle quilt shop in Lake Oswego, Oregon. The theme of my presentation centered on design and creative process. I spoke about inspiration and how I came up with ideas for quilts and quilt blocks. As I was speaking I passed around a basket of white charm squares and asked folks to write me a message. I suggested it could be a thought about sewing or a statement about inspiration or they could just simply sign their name or draw me a picture.

My plan was to take their creative thoughts and create a series of 'creative blocks!' A few quilters I know have been building versions of friendship quilts: asking for signatures or quotes on small blocks to assemble into a larger piece. I was inspired to make one of my own! I took the blocks from the presentation and added "stitch and flip triangles" on the corners with scraps from my Color Carnival quilt. I first learned this technique from Katy Pederson aka Sew Katy Did.

Going through a creative block can be real and frustrating experience. As a professional artist and designer I have learned techniques to power through those blank moments in order to finish jobs, meet deadlines and still do my best work. Creative blocks are a real thing, no doubt about that. From now on I am on a mission to collect them -- or at least this version of them! 

Thanks Westside Modern for inspiring this fun idea! And thank you to Generation Q Magazine for donating issues for everyone who came to the meeting. That was incredibly generous and folks were super excited about it!

Have machine, will travel.


  1. Michelle, your talk was wonderful!! Thanks so much for telling us about your background and creative process. I didn't write on a charm square because I didn't want to miss a word of what you said!

  2. What a delightful idea and thing to do!