Bill Kerr Workshop: Fabric Smackdown

Remember I wrote a really long post about the Bill Kerr Workshop? Well, that was only the talking part of the workshop. The Fabric Smackdown was the working part of the workshop. I moaned when I heard what he wanted us to do, but once I was into it, I loved it!

This is the best, most exciting way to make fabric selections for a quilt!!! At least until tomorrow when I find a new way to choose fabric. πŸ˜‰

My fabric choice
My fabric choice

He asked us to each to pick a fabric that gave us trouble from the fabrics we brought.

Hhmmm. Difficult. I didn’t want to pick anything too hideous as I suspected we would have to do something with the fabric. I thought about brown, which is really a challenge for me, but decided to stick with some color.

I chose this green and pink. Despite pink and green being compliments on the color wheel, this fabric is so strong that it is a challenge to work with. I still wonder why I bought it. Perhaps someone gave it to me or it was part of a pack.Β  I haven’t been able to find anymore of it so I used it for something. How quickly we forget.

Bill Choosing Fabrics
Bill Choosing Fabrics

Yes, we did have to use the fabric for something.

Bill picked two fabrics, mostly, gave the two fabrics to their owners and then the owners had to make a fabric palette that got the fabrics from one to other.

There were two groups with three people. I was in one of them with Jennifer (of the photographing the meetings fame) and Lynette (of the A-B-C Challenge fame).

We used our fabric and our group shared, so Jennifer pawed through my scraps bags while I looked through Lynette’s neatly folded FQs. The criteria we were supposed to use in addition to hue were:

  • scale
  • figure/ground
  • illustration style
  • pattern
  • value
  • saturation
  • Large scale prints-isolate or integrate
  • Think about fabrics as a conversation.
  • etc

The thing to remember is that this type of exercise takes practice. And more practice and even more practice. He told us that we would not be able to speak very well about what we were putting up, but that we had to try. The more we tried, the better we would get at it.

Interim fabric palette
Interim fabric palette

We had an interesting group of fabric and our interim attempt at selecting fabrics was pretty interesting.

You can see my little green and pink piece in the middle right. I don’t remember what the other two starter fabrics were, but I think the blue, white and brown floral and the yellow, brown and green floral at the top. I am not 100% positive.

Now, the rule is to “Love it for 10 Minutes.” Remember the homework we did around the topic of ‘Encourage’? At first you might think “YECH!” What were they thinking.

Final Fabric Patlette
Final Fabric Patlette

We thought that, too, trust me. This selection was way out of our comfort zone, but we kept looking and fiddling with choices and, in the end, I think we all really liked it.

I would love to have all these pieces and make a quilt.

Definitely, there are two palettes into which this grouping could be divided. If you look and think about it, the fabrics can be used successfully together. I wouldn’t put equal amounts of all of the fabrics in. I might put a touch of the yellow and more of the salmon and blues. I don’t know.

I just know that I thought this would be impossible (though what teacher,in their right mind, would give an exercise that couldn’t be done? It would be all over the Internet in 2 seconds signaling they should hang up their rotary cutter) and now I am trying to figure out how to do it at home by myself. I am looking at the starter fabrics for the Jelly Roll I want to make and wondering… I think the exercise was very successful.

Variety of Fabric Groupings
Variety of Fabric Groupings

The groups of fabric are unusual, but not crazy. When you look at where people started (their fabrics) and how they got from fabric A to fabric B, the grouping make sense and are excitingly different. Enlarge the picture and see what you can.

What makes these groupings work, aside from hue, is the variety. The variety of pattern, scale, motifs and the inclusion of some drabs. And so much more.

Workshop Group
Workshop Group

And, by the end, we were all tired, but we look happy. I was happy I know that.

 

Author: Jaye

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.

5 thoughts on “Bill Kerr Workshop: Fabric Smackdown”

  1. Great summary! I was happy too, genuinely happy, but sad for it to end. I also had the same reaction, “ugh, an ugly fabric activity”, but at the end I felt like I got SO much out of it and I’m so eager to do this with my own fabrics. I hope people are inspired to do this and actually make some quilts out of it and bring them to show and tell. Maybe a BAM challenge idea . . . hmm.

    1. My only problem is how to do this myself. I am working on selecting fabrics for my next project and am using some of his ideas, but it is even more difficult when you are not starting out with two difficult fabrics.

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