Wayne Kollinger has invited us to reflect on this question and write a post about it today. In my case I really have to address this question in two parts.
First, I would have to start by asking what inspires me to design a new quilt. Because I actually live off my designs, I would have to say the driving force behind most of them is an attempt to delight our subscribers. Most of what I design I don’t sew myself, but draw in response to requests I receive, or trends I perceive among our members. That said, it is true that in every design there has to be a part of “me.” And I would like to think that is whimsy.
Here’s an example. I am not a terribly big fan of Halloween patterns. But our subscribers are. My son/partner Jared insisted I HAD TO find a way to design Halloween patterns our members would respond to… and that I wouldn’t gag over. His suggestion: find one thing about Halloween I liked, and give it my own spin. That turned out to be easy… I love witches! And so I found drawing witch designs was not only painless, but actually fun! To the point where I was even able to start a series.
Now, obviously, I also design for myself. I draw a lot. Still, I actually sew only a small percentage of what I design. But designing just for the love of it is also important for me. Why do I do it? For the challenge… to never quit learning. Some of these designs will probably never be sewn, while others are kept on the back burner. Some day…
(Designed in EQ6, this quilt is made up of 1,100 hexagons, based on 10 different hexagon blocks (shown below the quilt). On average, each hexagon block has around 36 pieces. So yes, that adds up to around 40,000 pieces! Hmm… think I should sew this one up?)
I then would have to address the question of what inspires me to sew a new quilt. And here, too, I have a two-part answer. First and foremost, it is about relationships for me. Nine out of ten times, I start a new quilt as a gift for someone I love. No doubt about that!
Last, but not least, there are those quilts I am inspired to sew for the sheer challenge! It starts with the design (sometimes from just playing around), and I will suddenly get the urge to sew it.
Whether it be simply about drawing, or go as far as actually sewing a design, I do find there are common threads that inspire all my quilting endeavors: 1) learn something new, 2) give back, and 3) have fun!