In my spare time, I love to fuse a little fabric, add a few beads and create something whimsical. Read more about my journey to become a quilt artist. Here are some of the Art Quilts by Lynn Woll.
I’m a member of the Central Oregon SAQA chapter. We had a challenge to make a piece to display at our group exhibit at the Sister’s annual quilt show. The piece needed to be 18″ wide x 40″ tall, include teal and fit the theme of meandering.
I really struggled with the size – tall and narrow. I wanted to stretch myself with this piece and use all hand painted fabrics. Here is the finished piece. The straight paths around the quilt reflect the roads and walking paths in our lives. The inserted improv curves are to represent the twists and turns our lives take off of the planned path. The French knots represent the meandering of our journey in life, where it takes us, who we intersect and connect with.
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I wasn’t feeling well as I worked on the piece and realized that I had done all of the French knots before free motion quilting. Now what? I ended up having so much fun ‘meandering’ in and around the French knots. I might hand embroidery before quilting again!
One day I just wanted to paint some fabrics. This started as four pieces of fabric painted abstractly. They were then stitched with the black thread to accent some of the elements. I sew them together as a four-patch. It wasn’t singing to me. I cut it up as a disappearing four-patch and sewed them back together. Now there was something! Some hand stitching, more quilting and it is complete.
This piece started as some small pieces using scraps of silk. Some are from silk sari yarn and some were found at a free table at a retreat. There is machine and hand stitching, and a few bead embellishments. The small pieces were hand stitched on a black background that was quilted with black and white variegated thread.
Wonky Log Cabin
I love me a good wonky quilt block. This was a fun quilt to make with fabrics from my scrap bin!
Mr. Hoot’s Self Portrait
I am drawn to unfinished work by other fiber artists. I bought the little Owl crewel work at an estate sale. It was in a baggie with a piece of cardboard that was labeled “Made by Becky, 1977”. So, Becky, your little owl is now finished for others to enjoy! And, Becky, if you recognize this from 1977 – let me know!
I am part of a group that was challenged to find an artist to inspire them. I have been attracted to more modern art recently and found Beatriz Milhazes. I wanted to stretch myself and had fun making this piece. Her work is much larger, and has a much bigger impact, but I had fun exploring the different elements she uses in her paintings and translating some of them to an art quilt.
Inspired by Jane Dunnewold and her Creative Strength Training online class, this quilt represents my muse. The face was made with flour resist and India ink then painted with dy-na-flo paints. The idea for this quilt came after reading one of Jane’s essays in the class about the fourth, fifth and sixth chakras, and how they influence and guide our creativity.
A few years ago I decided to save all of my fabric scraps, even all of those little strips that you cut off when straightening an edge. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with them, but I kept them!
This is Lotsa Love because it is made from the scraps from all of the baby quilts, art quilts, garments and more that I’ve made over the past few years. As I look at the quilt I reflect on the memories of creations I’ve made and the love that went into them all.
Connections is a play with circles using both monoprinting on an acrylic sheet with textile paints, as well as stamping. Three sizes of circles were used to make the marks, a toilet paper roll, a grated cheese container and the lid from a store-bought cake.
The name connections comes from how the circles are continuous, and they connect with overlaps in the printing and connected with the quilting thread.
Flowers for Sandy
Flowers for Sandy is a quilt made for an auction to benefit a scholarship fund for my friend Sandy who recently died of brain cancer. The fabric for the vase came from her stash. I thought of her creativity, huge heart and generous life as I made this quilt for the auction.
Flower Garden Art Quilt
This Flower Garden Art Quilt inspired the name for Create Whimsy. It has been juried into many art quilt shows and has travelled around the world. Audiences comment the quilt is happy and whimsical.
This quilt was a turning point in defining myself as a quilt artist, confirmed by its acceptance to juried shows. I finally found my own voice with this quilt – it started me in a totally different direction.
Here is a close-up of the quilt, including a little bee on the flower!
70,273 Quilt Project
At the International Quilt Show there was an exhibit for the 70273 project. There was such an impact – aisles of white quilts with red X’s. We met Jeanne Chambers, and learned the story and I knew I needed to participate. Read the interview with Jeanne on Create Whimsy.
My youngest sister is Down’s Syndrome, and lives at a wonderful community with other intellectually challenged residents. My idea was to make quilts with them to join the project. Our older sister and I went to Marbridge one Saturday, and twelve residents participated, each designing their own small quilt. We talked about Hitler, and how he didn’t treat people that were different very well.
The next three months we were sewing down their designs, quilting and finishing the quilts. Once they were all done, we hosted an artist reception for the residents. Read about the project with Marbridge.
Paths Art Quilt
I was on my journey moving from my long time home in Tacoma to Austin for a job, and to be close to my sisters and needed something creative to do. Often we are on a path in life and opportunities or occasions come our way and we change our path — not quite knowing why at the time.
This was the first quilt I’d made in a long time. I was in the process of setting up a 2nd studio in Austin, and asked my husband to pick about 30 – 50 fabrics from my stash in Tacoma and ship them to me. I asked for clear tones emphasizing yellows, reds and turquoises. He wasn’t quite sure what to do! But I told him he couldn’t go wrong. It was fun to make a quilt with fabrics someone else picked out!
The pile arrived in a USPS flat rate box – he filled it up!
I tore strips and placed them on batting and then quilted down. There are some paths of beads on the quilt, and then finished with some tassels on the bottom.
And I found a great yarn when looking for a different project, and knew that it had to be tassels on the bottom of the quilt! I wrote a story about making tassels, if you want to learn more.
How do your life experiences affect your art? I can see major shifts in my work with each of my life experiences. I’m definitely on a new path in my life . . . and this is the beginning of something new on so many fronts. So, the quilt is named Paths.
Inspired by a post by my friend Sharon, I got to work with some solids (and one polka dot) in my stash. It was fun to make this little quilt, and it really made me think differently. The quilt needed to speak for itself, so I couldn’t just add a bundle of beads to make it speak. I made it for a challenge with the Austin Modern Quilt Guild, but didn’t get it finished in time. 🙂
I called it Spring Fields because it reminds me of pictures of fields and streams from aerial views over farmlands. The clean and clear colors inspired the straight line quilting that was so much fun to do.
I love fibers of all types and started collecting different yarns, and became fascinated with weaving. This quilt combines small woven pieces with a variety of yarns and textures on complementary backgrounds made from Judy Robertson hand-dyed fabrics.
My youngest sister was moving to a new residence and wanted new decorations for her room. She wanted something happy with flowers — so I created a garden, with some friends!
The background is made from torn strips of fabric. I like doing that, and you’ll see that on a lot of my art quilts. It gives me flexibility to have different fabrics and shading, and the ability to build textural interest behind my designs. I audition different fabrics, trying to give the illusion of depth to my pieces. I lay the torn pieces on a piece of cheap fusible interfacing. When I like the layout, I take the iron to it. The fusible interfacing stabilizes the background before I start adding my fusible appliqué pieces. Some people like nicely finished edges. I love the texture the torn edges give to my backgrounds.
I added the caterpillar to the grass next, and had fun cutting out all of the ovals and laying them on the quilt. Next I added the butterfly, then started making the big flowers to fill in the background and balance the composition of the piece. I played around with the different values of the flowers, making the small ones much paler, to be more of a background pattern and not fight with the big flowers, caterpillar and butterfly.
If you know my work, you know the final steps to this was adding beads – lots of beads! The butterfly back is all beaded, and each flower has some beads in the center, even the little background flowers.
The Neighborhood started as quilt I made at a retreat for a fund raising auction, combining my houses with my whimsical flowers. Techniques include fusible applique and beading.
The Happy Caterpillar Art Quilt was a challenge to make a quilt with a repeating shape for an Off Grain Stitchers retreat. Guess which shape I picked? 🙂 An oval!
I’ve been doing my whimsical flowers for a while and wanted to try something a little different for this challenge. I had so much fun!
I had the idea for a caterpillar and then when the challenge assignment was received, I decided no better time than now to go for it!
The Happy Caterpillar Art quilt reminds some people of a children’s book; it just makes me smile! It is about 5 feet wide by about 14″ tall.
Inspired by just doodling on the side of a notepad during a meeting, the Doodlealis Art Quilt came alive. I thought trying to make it into a quilt might be a fun. Remember when you were a kid, and you’d make flowers by starting in the middle? And then make lots of flower petals go out and around the initial flower? That was my inspiration for this quilt.
Ombre fabrics made it easy to get depth in the flower petals, without a lot of work. I cut different petals from different parts of the ombre that went from pink to orange to bright yellow. The techniques used in this quilt are fused raw edge applique, machine quilting and embellished with yarns and beads.
I couched a yarn around the flower petals to make them stand out a bit more. The center of the flower has several rows of the couching. The center also highlights some beads, as shown below.
I used just four fabrics used in this quilt – the ombre, a batik for the center of the flower, the background fabric and a stripe for the border.
Yes, it really does rain all winter in the Seattle area. This quilt was made on a rainy weekend, which you can tell were reflected in the fabrics and colors used. Winter had certainly arrived, and I couldn’t remember the last sunny day in Tacoma.
I quilted it with two threads, a sliver and a shiny thread I picked up somewhere, in a straight diagonal line to simulate rain. I named this Rainy Day because the background reminded me of the skies on a rainy day, but you can still see the beautiful colors of the flowers.
Flowers for Me 1 and 2
Everyone deserves flowers. I’ve made a lot of these quilts for special people in my life, when they need a pick-me-up, and used this type of format for fabric postcards. I wish I had taken pictures, but didn’t. Here are the first two flowers in vases, which were Flowers for Me, as I was grieving our mother’s sudden death. Working on these quilts helped me remember the good times with her. She loved flowers, and always had fresh flowers in the home.
House of Love
House of Love art quilt appeared in an auction for the Seattle Ronald McDonald House. A friend asked if I would make and donate a quilt. I don’t have time to do a lot of extra projects, but this charity was near and dear to her heart. So I bit the bullet and decided to do it!
I thought about it for a few weeks, and thought that my flowers would look good in a front yard to a house — representing the Ronald McDonald House and all of the good they give families, when they need it.
As you can see on the image below, I embellished the art quilt with beads and embroidery stitches — and used an old button for the door knob.
Dancing in the Rain
Art quilts can communicate and evoke emotion through texture, design and imagery. I was going through a little bit of a rough spot in my life, and the following quote came into my life:
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
Sometimes I need to think on a quilt for weeks, months, even years before I start. This art quilt sent the message quickly; I read the quote and knew what I had to do – make a quilt with a woman dancing in the rain!
Judy Robertson’s hand dyed fabric makes up the background and the outside border as well — two different pieces. A card I picked up somewhere inspired the lady. Fusible web appliqués her on the quilt. As with most of my art quilts, it is highly embellished with lots of beads and sequins.
I had fun making this quilt. I used my embroidery attachment to do the copy in the borders with a variegated thread. There are small crystal beads in the background to represent the rain. And, I had fun doing my whimsical flowers.
The bottom of the quilt I made bead fringe from various lengths of beads, and the rest of the quilt edge has small beads, which are hard to see on this image.
Learning to Dance in the Rain and celebrate the rough times is central to this art quilt by Lynn Woll made from raw edge fused fabric embellished with beads and sequins.
For many years I created art with an amazing group of fiber artists in a design class taught by Lorraine Torrence in the Seattle area. She started Off Grain Stitchers which has several retreats a year in Gold Bar, Washington. The retreats are an amazing time for relaxation, creativity and stretching. Lorraine always gives us a design assignment before the retreat, as something for each of to translate into our own work. The assignment for one of the retreats was to explore and apply the Fibonacci Sequence and Golden Ratio.
The first thing I needed to do was look up what the Fibonacci Sequence was! Ha! You’ll find the Fibonacci Sequence in nature with pine cones, flower petals and more. Also referred to as the Golden Ratio, you can learn more from the ton of resources on the web. Examples include the Mona Lisa.
Not sure where to start, the beautiful anemone flowers growing in my yard inspired me. I applied the Golden Ratio to my design layout. The background has 3 main fabrics, and you’ll see the smallest is the teal, and the pink multi is twice the size of the teal, and then the lighter pink is twice the size of the teal and pink multi combined.
Anemone Art Quilt by Lynn Woll uses a variety of techniques including transferring original photography to both cotton and silk organza.
I printed the flower in the upper left hand corner on cotton from my printer. I printed the others silk organza from images of the Anemone flowers in my garden.
Machine appliqué attached all of the flowers and stems onto the background, then I beaded the flower centers.
I had fun with the edge and did a small red piping inside the binding on the front side.
Under the Sea
Under the Sea was a family project for our place at the beach, which the 4th generation is now enjoying. Everyone pitched in to help make fish and other sea life for this fusible art quilt that now hangs on the dining room wall.
We’d remodeled a few years back and brought some bright colors into the place and were together for a long weekend. Our mother always had craft projects for us to do — she always kept her hands busy — knitting or sewing. I tried to think of something everyone could participate in and we’d enjoy — not only the activity, but a reminder of great memories together.
I brought a big piece of black cotton duck and a bunch of my fabrics with the fusible on the back, and some sharp scissors. We laid out the fabric and told everyone that they needed to make at least one fish and put it on the fabric before they left. It started slow, but ended up being a fun time laughing at the different fish, and we even ended up with a turtle!
Tip: Prefuse your fabrics at least a day before using. Peel the paper off and then cut into your different shapes. If you fuse right before using, sometimes the paper is difficult to remove. Also, I like to peel the paper before cutting so I don’t feel bad using my good fabric scissors, and it is easier to cut smaller pieces. My favorite scissors for freehand cutting objects are the spring form ones.
The finished art quilt is a collaboration of everyone in the family! A fun project that brings back memories of being together. What will we do next time?
More about my journey as a quilt artist . . .
I went to high school in Houston, and moved to the Seattle area in my mid-20’s. It’s always special to ‘go home’ no matter what age. My Dad and I generally would share our birthdays, as we were two days apart – and 30 years apart! So milestone birthdays were always together.
One year I came to Houston to share our birthdays. My sisters and I were looking for something to do one afternoon — I could tell our parents weren’t used to having all of us around! Dad mentioned that there was a Quilt Show in downtown Houston, maybe we’d want to go. He helped us with the best way to get there (bus from a park-and-ride). So we got around to getting to the bus about noon, not knowing what to expect, and got downtown about 1. Bought a ticket and entered this hall. I’d never seen so many quilts in one place!
We browsed the aisles and realized that this was more than an afternoon activity! I saw my first art quilts and was mesmerized. I love textiles, but now they were pieces of art! So I knew I needed to go down a creative journey to explore art quilting.
Back to Seattle and those beautiful pieces of textile art kept coming back to me. I did a search and found that there was a class at In The Beginning taught by Lorraine Torrence about art quilting! When I signed up, it changed my life forever. I found my tribe.
Lorraine taught design series classes that met once a month and lastest 9 months a year. She taught us the basic design elements the first two years, and then we kept on with a class where we would work in series, bring our work for critique and sharing. These women are my tribe. They’ve taught me so much, inspired me, and helped me identify what I don’t want to do! They encourage my work, and help me through struggles — both as an artist and personally.
Browse through more art quilts on Create Whimsy.