Anna Grossnickle Hines' picture book of poetry and quilts, Peaceful Pieces, comes out on March 29th. Read on to find out how Anna makes the beautiful quilts in the book!
Writing the poems for Peaceful Pieces came a lot easier to me than making the quilts, but I’m a believer. If you can envision something you can do it. Sometimes it just takes a while to get the right vision.
For “What Would You Choose,” a poem about a girl who chooses to be friends with another even thought the other kids say she has “cooties,” I started with this little thumbnail pencil sketch.
In my original plan, this poem was combined with one about peace being an invited guest in a house. Looking for the vision, I did this sketch on my computer. Working on the computer lets me get to color right away, a good thing since the basis of quilts isn’t so much drawing as shapes. For my quilt designs I don’t do much beyond the thumbnails with pencil and paper.
I liked the girls jumping rope and made this piece from fabric, just to see how it would actually work. It’s not stitched, but the layers are “fused” together with a material that melts when pressed with a hot iron. The next step would be to sew the edges down and do any decorative stitching, but this was just a test.
When I added a few new poems “What Would You Choose” got a different partner, this one about a heavy heart that is made lighter by forgiveness. I wondered if I might be able to make hearts rising using this technique of shifting strips.
In this computer trial, I interspersed strips of one piece done in bold reds and golds, with strips of another done in blues and pastels. Interesting…but not the right vision. It’s not unusual to explore dead ends; just part of the process.
So how about if I bring back those girls on one side and on the other have hearts rising out of the darkness?
The girls stay, but hearts are out. Maybe it could be shapes rising from dark to light?
Okay, the vision is coming together! Now I add fabric, scanning anything in my collection that seems like it might work, then “cutting” the shapes and placing them in layers in Photoshop. I’m feeling pretty good about this, but something isn’t quite working.
Maybe different shapes in the background?
Oh! How about if those shapes are distorted so they look more like they are actually floating on the air? I print out a copy of my design, use tracing paper to sketch the new shapes, scan it and then layer it into the computer design so I can “cut” the new shapes from the fabric scans.
I’m pretty sure this is it.
But what would happen with a sky and ground sort of background? The great thing about designing on the computer at this point is that I can try so many possibilities…and believe me, I do!
No, I like the more abstract look. I shop for some more yellow fabrics, to get just the right ones, and yes! This is it! The hard part is done. Now I’m ready to cut, fuse and sew my actual fabrics. If you compare this to the quilt in the book, you’ll find them very much alike.
It’s all about getting that vision, working, experimenting, until you see what it is you can create. I’ve always believed in a good world, a world where people care about one another and their environment, try to be fair and honest, a peaceful world. I know it isn’t always like that, but still I have the vision and I believe that when enough of us hold that vision of a peaceful world, it will happen. I’m a believer, how about you?
Thank you for coming on this creative journey with me.
Check out the video, created by Anna Hines herself!