This past weekend I was lucky to have a place in a 2 day workshop, hosted by the Wollongong Modern Quilt Guild, we welcomed artist and quilter Karlee Porter to Wollongong for the final leg of her Australian tour. Karlee’s signature style is called Graffiti Quilting, an approach to free-motion quilting that builds up a design from layers of elements, some which have been inspired by street art, some using common quilting motifs in a modern way.
On the first morning Karlee took us through 20 or so designs and techniques which we practiced in our sketch books, and then started to combine.
After lunch we put those ideas onto fabric with no real plan and only gentle direction provided by Karlee. My free motion skills were a little rusty but I slowly found a rhythm. I’d do a little bit and then stop and think about the next element, trying to pick something to suit the space or contrast a geometric design with a soft and swirly one, the whole while referring back to my sketch book and the fun analogies about the different designs.
That evening we were joined by more WMQG members for a trunk show where Karlee spoke about her background and a selection of her quilts, explaining the progression of her work, the highs and lows of entering shows and different experiments along the way. I particularly enjoyed hearing about her collaborations with other artists, having their designs digitally printed on fabric which is then quilted. Of course, cheese and wine with guild members and our guests made for a really enjoyable evening.
On day two we spoke more about materials, threads, fabrics and battings that suit this style of quilting and what situations they suit best. Karlee also took us through different layout options and then suggestions on how certain elements go together. I chose to try quilting in rows with a common circular element up the middle.
For my sample piece I’ve used black solid from Spotlight with 2 layers of cotton batting. The thread is Aurifil 28wt in a magenta colour and then a soft medium pink, the next two colours will be a light grey and then finally white. I found I really liked the geometric elements, particularly the columns and my curves were definitely improving with practice.
All in all I had a great time and really learned a lot from Karlee, she’s fun and genuine with lots of tips and tricks for creating our own unique spin on Graffiti Quilting. I hope to practice more and put together some smaller pieces that can be used for pouch & bag panels, and will most definitely keep sketching and drawing, I found I really enjoyed that part! Here’s a start on something in my sketch book…