How to Work In a Series (Part 2)

Blogger Cheryl Sleboda discusses why you may want to start a quilt series of your own.

Originally posted on April 16, 2018 by Cheryl Sleboda

In our last post, we talked about how to approach working in a series.  In it’s basic form, working in a series allows you to explore a theme or idea in a deeper way.  So while in the previous article we thought about how to do it, in this article we discuss the many reasons why you might want to do it.

When I found myself in an artistic rut, and I was thinking my work was just not as good as many other quilters out there, I gave myself the weekly art quilt challenge I mentioned in Part 1 of How to Work in a Series.  Because I had a weekly deadline, I had to make lots of work in a very short amount of time.  This meant that if I had ideas, I had to execute on them fast.  By the second year, I was ready to start exploring themes and work more in a series.  I wanted to show more depth and breadth to my work.  Other artists I admired worked in a series.  Famous painters worked in a series.  But why should I?

Bringing elements together in a series gives your work a voice, that certain something that makes it recognizable as “you”.  It takes time to develop this voice.  When you see a quilt, and can instantly recognize the maker without looking at the name, you know what I am talking about.  So developing your own “voice” as a quilter is one reason you may decide to work in a series.

Another reason is to work out the kinks on something you have been itching to try.  The quilts I did in my Technique of the Week series, which was year 4 of the weekly quilt project, had octopuses as a running theme.  However, they were secondary to the fact that I was trying new techniques. I used the octopus design as a quick sketch to complete the technique.  You may also find this helpful in working through a series of curved piecing, or clamshell quilting motifs, or even trying to get better at incorporating the color red.

Series quilts don’t have to have those fancy names, such as “Octopus #4”, but when they do, it makes me wonder what Octopus #1 or even #10 look like.  It’s like a trail that the artist has left for you to see the progression of their work.  Eventually, the entire body of your own quilting work is a series, from your first quilt to your last.  Everyone has a progression, and every artist goes through phases.  If you could start your new series today, what would you like to explore?  Tell us on our Facebook page! 

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