Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rayna and Ellen Anne fill their new books with innovative, creative spirit

Rayna Gillman's 'Scapes' quilt from her new book
People who love fabric seem to understand that we are all threads in this universal tapestry. We are all connected, some more tightly woven together than others. In the quilting community we are a tight-knit group with quilts as our common thread.

Learn to make beautiful flowers like
this one featured in Ellen Anne Eddy's quilt
It has been my pleasure for most of my life to be a part of such a community. In the past year, when it seemed like everything was 'too hard' or my energy was replaced by apathy or I just wanted to curl up into a ball and hide -- this community of quilters and artists pulled me through. Whether by blog, email, phone conversation, face-to-face, or Facebook, fellow fabric lovers have kept me afloat. Blogging, as you have noticed, has been set aside for far too long. But today, before the New Year enters, I want to offer up two books that you might want to take with you into this new year.

Both books are written by women quilters and artists who are among the most giving, generous, thoughtful, and caring friends a woman could ever want. I not only admire their character, but their skills and imagination. They take me to worlds I had never encountered. Their techniques and creations make me feel like I can do anything! Make me feel creative.

They are also strong women who have been my rock, whether they know it or not. They are Rayna Gillman and Ellen Anne Eddy.

I'm sure these are names you've heard before. Both have previously published books. Both have won awards. Both are teachers who bring joy and wonder and absolute fun to the process of learning and creating. And both have new books out, published by CT Publishing! What joy!


Rayna Gillman
 Rayna, author of Create Your Own Hand-printed Cloth, adds a second Create Your Own book. She takes her students and readers into a stress-free journey to original design that draws on her free spirit and sense of adventure and love of child's play: Create Your Own Free-form Quilts.

Rayna begins her free-form quilts with 'therapy strips.' She cut dozens of fabric strips from her stash of hand-dyed and commercial fabrics and sewed them together willy-nilly, just cutting and sewing, cutting and sewing. Her brain didn't have to worry about anything, it just rested as her hands and eyes took over. But the pile of strips was only the beginning. Add a rotary cutter, some more fabric pieces, and some more free sewing and you are beginning to get the idea of free form creative quilts. But she has a lot more unique approaches to quilt creation within the 94 pages of this book.

This is a process book, not a design or pattern book. It is a journey that allows you to play, experiment and throw the idea of 'mistakes' right out the window. It is liberating and is written with the Rayna enthusiasm that anyone who has taken one of her classes will recognize. See -- you can't think of your experiences with Rayna without smiling! I see that grin!

Another perk of this book: using up UFOs! Yes! A whole section on reinventing UFOs with strips and bits. That alone may be worth the $28!

One thing that this book reinforces for me is that there is no such thing as an ugly quilt. It really doesn't matter what fabrics you combine, how you stitch them, cut them, layer them -- the result turns out brilliant! It may be funky, it may be artsy, it may be surprising, but always, a quilt finds its own beauty. I needed reminded that what I create without pattern or design directions, but only with heart and fabric -- is a thing of beauty and a joy creating. The pages are filled with colorful, unique and imaginative quilts that will get your own imagination revved up.

But I said two books. Shift gears with me to thread painting and intuitive applique with Ellen Anne Eddy's Thread Magic Garden.

Ellen Anne encourages cutting shapes rather than using patterns in this book, which is focused on creating flowers. I must admit that if I could create a world as beautiful with my writings as Ellen Anne creates with her fabrics and thread, I would be a MOST delighted and happy woman. I fell in love with her 'other worlds' from the first glimpse of toad, moon, or ladybug. There is something truly magical about Ellen Anne's creations.

This book will help you move closer toward creating your own unique gardens filled with blossoms only you can imagine. She takes the process step by step, talks of flower shapes, construction, petals, stamens, and how to create them with perhaps a fabric center and thread petals, or free-cut petal shapes. She talks of perspective -- the angle with which you see a flower makes for a much different product.

Ellen Anne Eddy
If for no other reason to purchase this book -- it is filled with so many images of Ellen Anne's work. But there are other reasons. Her discussion of stitches, colors, various stitch techniques (couching, machine beading, etc. And perhaps some aspects of quilt making you hadn't considered such as 'creating a visual path' or 'progressive shading.' She also breaks down flowers into their individual shapes -- spiral, 'S' or 'C' shapes.... You will never look at a flower quite the same again.

It is an excellent introduction to thread painting or a book that will take you further into your own imagination. Spending less than $30 to spend time with Ellen Anne and Rayna adds another perk you'll get from these books. Their personalities shine through the encouraging words and their enthusiasm for their art.

Gift yourself this New Year! You won't regret the investment!

It turns out that I have a copy of Rayna's book to give away! To enter leave a comment on this blog entry telling us something fabric/quilt/thread/stitch related that you will do in the New Year. One winner will be drawn on Jan. 15th from those who leave comments.

49 comments:

michelle said...

Beautifully written!
I have had the immense pleasure of taking a class with Ellen Anne a couple years ago. I treasure having known her even for that short time, she is a gem. I can't wait to get my hands on her book.

Anonymous said...

You have inspired me to order one and place the other on my wish list. Ask Peggy to photograph/post her "boobs hat", given to her by one of our patients years ago.

Dawn said...

Thanks Michelle, glad you enjoyed this post. You are one lucky lady to have taken a class with Ellen Anne! I do hope you enjoy the book. And 'anonymous' enjoy your book and hope your wish list gets filled soon. Boob hats? Hmmm. I'll check that out!

Debi Cutter said...

Wow...the free form quilts are amazing they delight my soul! I would love to have one of these books to help me step out of my box!!

Sue Kaufman said...

I am going to finish an art quilt and enter it in the Tri State Quilt Competition of the Quilt Fest of NJ, NY and PA! Due by Jan 31!

Catharine Chambers said...

For 2012 I am going to quilt outside my comfort zone. I will try new ideas and learn new techniques. I will try thread painting, and I will not be cautious, I will stay in the moment and enjoy my passion!

Jean M. Condon said...

I have some ugly fabric pressed and ready for an OBW. I really like the process of placing the pieces on the design wall until I find what I like best. I use my camera along the way, taking color and b/w pictures to figure it out.

Marlene said...

I have take classes with both Rayna and Ellen, so inspirational they both are! In 2012 I inspire to do more thread painting incorporating Rayna style fabric, sounds like fun huh!

Sue Andrus said...

I would love a chance to win Rayna's book! I have been working toward getting back to regular creative time in my studio and stitching again after a long creative block. I definitely can use a lot of Therapy sewing.

5e1bac44-33c5-11e1-9aca-000f20980440 said...

New year - new possibilities. I'm trying to occasionally break out of my semi-traditional quilt mode, and Rayna's book looks to be a great jumping-off point to push me in a new direction.

vandaltcMom said...

Thanks for posting these reviews - I was on the fence about Rayna's book, (have already ordered Ellen's) and you've helped me make my decision. I hope to become more spontanious this coming year and sew up a LOT of strips. To know that Rayna's book is an idea book rather than a pattern book i wonderful. Have a happy New Year!!

Sandra Cioppa said...

In 2012 I hope to continue with my "social quilts" theme. And, I plan to do more submissions, getting my art out there. Boobs hat... yes, check it out!

tesuque said...

2012 is the year I get serious about making things with the fabric I've created and ideas I've accumulated.

Eleny said...

I am actually trying to create only original work this year. NO patterns, no ideas from someone else, no copy work at all. Should be interesting to see how my brain functions on its own.

amester said...

I love both ladies work. I had the pleasure of taking a class with Ellen Anne at my local Guild. Anita

Anonymous said...

I have Ellen Anne's book on my wish list and would love to have Rayna's book if I am lucky enough to win the draw. Thanks for the opportunity to put my name in the hat!

Dawn said...

Remember I need to be able to contact you if your name is drawn. So if you sign in as anonymous for example or use a name other than your given name, I may not be able to track you down. So please be sure to give me your names. Thanks!

Michele Lasker said...

Dawn, thanks for sharing these books. I am so process driven that I don't often feel compelled to finish pieces. I have been away from fiber for such a long time and am so happy to now be part of the sisterhood of all things fiber. All my travels now are geared toward fiber and the latest find! I know have a reasonable stash and all things art, but I am always looking for other goodies. My books have evolved into a huge library inside one of my studio closets and I love hanging out with my literary friends who are fiber artists.

You support all of us and it is good to read your blog. It keeps people like me going with inspiration and encouragement.

I am going to put these two books on my wish list for January! I have been on email with Rayna and we have shared many things together. I hope to take one of her classes someday. Ellen was in Tulsa, but I missed the workshop. Oh well, sooner or later I hope to study with lots of fiber artists.

Happy NEw YEar and keep up your wonderful nurturing.

Angela Grasse said...

I have great plans for 2012. I will be doing the TAST with Sharon B. I am also doing the Bead Journal project for the third year in a row. I am also doing the Crazy quilt journal project. I will be teaching a week long course of surface design in the summer and the list goes on. Listing all of this is making me feel a little overwhelmed. Yikes! What have I got myself into?

elana613 said...

My goal for 2012 is exactly what you said - to get my "imagination revved up." I feel like I am a fairly skilled textile craftsperson, but I want to liberate the artist I feel locked inside me. I saw a short video of Rayna and thought she was great, but I live in Israel, where access to quilt books is limited. I would love to have her book and take her "stress-free journey" to find out what my inner artist has to say.
Thanks for the gift!

Beth M said...

Rayna's book is on my wishlist. I'd love a chance to win a copy! After a couple years of being sick, moving and settling in, my goal for this year is to really start working on my art quilts again.

Christy said...

My plan is to finish some quilts/ wall hangings for my siblings and nieces/nephews. My intention is to make one for each, though this will require more than one year to complete :) I also hope to get a quilt or two finished for the Cunningham Children's Home Quilt Festival.

Lydia said...

For My Brand New 2012 Year? I will BEGIN. (Yes, with the all capital letters.) It's going to be a Big year. I have been sitting on the fence, gathering Stuff, reading Stuff, listening, doing little Projects. Now it is Time. Something is breaking loose. To get into my little quilting space, come up out of the deep malaise, connect with my heart, connect with others, and start to create. I love that Rayna in her book does away with the 'you have to do this and that' and just gets you sitting in front of your stash cutting and sewing away. Such freedom. Gets you away from the negative can't-do thoughts and onto creative shores. Lovely.

Judy Rys said...

I love Rayna . . . she has made a huge impact on my art. I will continue on with my usual style of fiber art, but love exploring materials that are destined for the trash. Finding new ways to integrate them into my fiber art is exciting.

marshaleith said...

I would love to win Rayna's book. I have her first one already.
I am signed up for the online Stitched 2012 Workshops(Alma Stoller)so I will creating alot of new quilty-arty projects.

linda moon daughtry said...

I would relish the opportunity to have this book. Winning it would be a great start to 2012 and my resolution to work in my studio more.

Nancy Schlegel said...

My first projects for the new year are finishing a fish collage (ala Sue Carlson)that I started with my art quilt group, then doing a service project quilt with some donated decorator fabric, then trying some free form, improvisational quilts with the silk fabric I have. Lots of ideas at this point in time-not lots of time it seems.
Nancy Schlegel

Lora Martin said...

This year I will be experimenting with digital collage as a base for quilted art. Have some things in my head that never seem to get tried. Thanks for the chance to win Rayna's book and joyful 2012 to you.

California Fiber artist and composer said...

In 2012 I will finish my City and Guilds in patchwork and quilting

Sheep Rustler said...

My first project for the year is a series of stitched ATCs, which will be the first ones I have ever made.

Lois Frankel said...

I'm hoping to finish up my latest fractal quilt - so close to being done!

sandyandcosmo said...

What gorgeous books! This year I want to get back into embroidery, make friends with my serger, and try my hand at machine quilting.

Phyllis Panozzo said...

I've been inspired to break out of my traditional quilt mode as well as pattern-oriented needlework. I'm currently making a free form vest with my homespun yarn, next I have everything needed to embellish a denim jacket with freehand shisha embroidery. I'm collecting fabrics for a free from quilt. I'm excited about 2012!

kathy riedel said...

my plan is to do more, just try it. keep saying I going to paint, bead, machine quilt, and then, I do what I do, I need to change it up learn some new things.
Kathy

Deborah said...

My goal is to figure out a better way of mounting or preparing my small quilts for display.

Sari Shifrin said...

My goal for 2012 is to do something that will help me grow as a quilter every day.

carolyn rovere said...

Both books look fabulous! In 2012, I plan on "coloring outside the lines" as I get on with my life after a not so great 2011. These would fit right in!

Maddie Can Fly said...

I would love Rayna's book just to look at the UFO section. I have so many pieces and bits of things that I have never finished and I need to get some quilts on my bed. It's COLD here!

Maggey and Jim said...

I love the freeness that Rayna's quilts have and I have admired Ellen's work for many years. I do have a book of hers and this reminded me of it.. This year I am going to try to be more free and maybe even do some thread painting?
Maggey

Susie said...

For my quilt related thing I will do -- order Rayna's book! And try my hand at a totally pieced bed quilt. (I'm an art on the wall fused work quilter-- this will be a stretch and scares me to death!)

mckittycat said...

I would love to win the book. My goals for 2012 are to stretch my fibre art skills and I have decided to try a mini quilt a week to work towards that goal. Mary Ann

Sandra said...

Challenge myself to manage time on challenge quilts so I'll have more joy and less stress. I'd love to win Rayna's book.
Thanks.

Bluebethley said...

Dawn, thank you for an inspirational review of these two books. For 2012, I stepped up to a new role in our quilting guild and will order these two books for our library as well. I agree wholeheartedly about the community of quilters being both nurturing and motivating. As does your blog. Best, Beth

Candyce said...

Thanks dor the reciews. Very helpful. I am going to do more freedorm piecing. Candy

Sally said...

Have just started veering away from making quilts with patterns to designing my own intuitively. Would love a copy of the book.

Dolores said...

I am planning on making an applique quilt that Dorothy Baker designed. I am also hoping to complete some unfinished quilts.
Thank you for the chance to win Rayna's book.

Steph said...

A whole section on how to use up your UFO's - where do I sign up?

quiltmuse@vermontel.net said...

I have been aware of both Rayna and Ellen for over 15 years and admire then both for their outside the box quilts. While I don't aspire to work like either of them I would love to read about how they do what they do and perhaps be inspired to try some of their techniques. I'm hoping to win one of the books to provide that insopiration.

randall031 said...

Is it too late to enter the contest? i just this minute discovered your blog and this book -- that looks wonderful. i'll keep my fingers crossed.