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Inspiring Quilting: Elly's blog to boost your creative IQ

I really don’t do “pretty”

As usual, it was a class–long ago–that started me on a new art quilt. In Lesson 2 of About Style, Pamela Allen assigned us online students to “cut various long skinny shapes out of different fabrics and ‘grow’ your plant in the same way Nature does.”

Rather than “grow” a tree from my imagination, as Pamela does, I relied on photos I took on a trip to Lisbon, when the jacarandas were blooming gorgeous.



Started with a background on a quilt sandwich, anticipating a small art quilt:


Next, I brought in the trunk for a pretzel-like tree, with a bunch of lavender prints:


“Grew” the tree with other, similarly colored fabrics in various shades and tints:


Oh, this could be a really pretty picture, a la my photo. I could balance the lower left side with flowering shrubbery.

But then I remembered: I don’t really do “pretty.”

#1, there are so many fabulous art quilters who take “pretty” to levels I could never dream of.

#2, “pretty” can be pretty boring.

Around this time, my sister Carolyn was shopping for a new car. As a wife, she had always deferred to her husband’s choices in this department. As a widow with a new-found sense of her capabilities for research and decision-making, and within short order, she she walked into her local Honda dealership, test-drove, and bought a Honda Accord.

So, in accordance with those trees that grew in a high-trafficked, urban setting, and with tremendous pride in my sister’s taste and independence, I slapped a Honda under the jacaranda. And made my getaway from “pretty.”


Stay tuned to see how this art quilt is going, and growing. As always, comments are much appreciated.


8 Responses to “I really don’t do “pretty””

  1. Carl Harrington says:

    This quilt is growing into something very wonderful. I bet you all wish you could just walk in and watch the progress on a day-today or hour-by-hour basis like I get to do as Elly’s husband. Staying tuned will be very worthwhile.


  2. Mary Ann says:

    Glad to see you finishing this. My pieces from that class are still in a box unfortunately. Look forward to more.

  3. Annie says:

    Love the idea that you don’t “do pretty”! I feel the same, somewhat daringly rebellious! I’m wondering if a good green in the background, instead of the light beige might be fun? Don’t know if your stuff is already fused or sewn down yet, or not. Just a thought.

  4. Suzanne says:

    Sorry to disagree, Eleanor, but I think it’s still pretty. Now if instead of a Honda, you had a bleeding skull, you might be beyond pretty. It’s going to be hard to make that tree you’ve grown anything but lovely. I like lovely; admittedly, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Thank you for sharing this.

  5. Linda Cline says:

    I will agree with Suzanne. I don’t care for “pretty for the pretty’s sake”, but I love where you are going with this beautiful quilt. You’re tree has a lot of character. The car and the urban setting add to the personality of the quilt.

  6. kathy york says:

    Your car made the tree pop!

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