Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Artist UnSEWn presents Winter Walk by Denyse Schmidt

Winter Walk
Walks are essential to my creative process. In winter, I especially love walking in the woods, and fortunately a short distance from my shoreline Connecticut home I am transported to the hushed stillness of woodlands and fields blanketed by snow. Just as winter provides time for renewal of flora and fauna; the magic, restful beauty of the New England landscape in winter rejuvenates me. 

No matter how hectic my life may be or how distracted I may feel, a winter walk calms me, and grounds me to the steadiness of nature. Here you can surrender to the expanse of nature — snow-covered fields, deep stands of trees, miles of stone walls — with a muted palette of soft taupes and bark greys, earthy deep browns and winter wheat, punctuated by a range of evergreens; the visual quiet broken by bright red berries or the flash of a cardinal, and patches of bright, blue winter sky. The cold, quiet solitude provides a path to the fertile ground of new ideas. My Winter Walk fabric collection celebrates the beauty of nature in repose, silently preparing for the imminent splashy showiness of spring.

I have always loved being outdoors, whatever the season, and I think that comes from my parents. They spent their honeymoon camping and fishing in the woods of Maine, and encouraged us kids to find the joy in each season — skiing in the winter, planting in the spring, picnics and swimming in the summer, raking mountains of leaves in the Fall.  

As I think back now, I believe my parents were also inspired by nature to create.   My dad was an enthusiastic photographer; we have many wonderful photos of all the beauty that caught his eye.  (That is, in addition to my mother.) He was also an avid fixer-upper. I remember him always tinkering around the house, fixing and creating things. I love this lamp that he made from the bounty of the woods!

My mother was a creative powerhouse, teaching me to sew, and making all our clothes. She loved being outdoors and taking on new challenges. By example, she encouraged and inspired all of us kids to forge our own paths. I miss my parents (especially in these uncertain times) but it’s comforting to know they are here — in my memories and in my work, in my love of nature, and in my determination to enjoy all that life has to offer.

So how does all this translate into a fabric collection? In the case of Winter Walk, a painting by my sister of the woods in Princeton MA inspired, while leaves and other bits and pieces completed a representation of the palette.

I designed two patterns to feature Winter Walk. One is Big Tree on my site, shown below, which makes use of FreeSpirit Fabric Pre-cut Design Rolls. A Winter Walk Design Roll includes ten coordinating solids from my Modern Solids collection!* I used FreeSpirit Designer Solids in Mist for the background of this quilt. I love how bold the shape is, and the layering of texture and color are reminiscent of the rings of a tree. Here you can see the finished quilt, and my pattern development sketches:
I also designed In the Pines (below), named after an old Appalachian folk tune, which is available as a free pattern download here 

One of my favorite quilters, Blair Stocker, also made a quilt pattern using Winter Walk, called Stepping Stones on Etsy here I absolutely love how her Winter Walk pattern looks like a PLAID! Brilliant! One of the things I love most about Blair’s work is how she creates a storyboard of images around the quilt.

I wrote the foreword for her beautiful and inspiring new book, Wise Craft Quilts, which is out this month – be sure to look for it, and check out her website:

Winter Walk is available from your favorite local quilt shop or online retailer, in ten mix-and-match designs with a range of scale and texture, and three classic colorways (Bark, Stream, Evergreen). Though inspired by a walk in the winter woods, this versatile collection enhances all seasons!

*Winter Walk coordinating solids are FreeSpirit Designer Essential Solids Shell, Sunset, Tweed, Evergreen, Solar, Sap, Licorice, Seaweed, Camel, and Reef.

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