Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Undesirables

I’ve never met an artist without a stash. This trend of collecting transcends art and extends to all passions. I have spoken to friends in all arenas: fishermen who have their special stash of lures, triathletes with their stash of equipment, surfers with their “quiver” of boards.

As a novice art quilter I was thrilled by all the things I saw. As my eyes opened to new techniques, my stash of “tools” expanded. I confess, at the beginning I was more of an acquirer than an artist, but the fire of technique is born of the flame of passion. And so my passion for all things quilting led me onward.

Unfortunately, and inevitably, the process of collecting favors some items and leaves others behind: the undesirables. For art quilters it may be a fabric or tool or component or technique. Something that seemed perfect in the moment but not so perfect later. It may have been tried and discarded or never used at all.

In cleaning my closet recently, I came across many items that caused me to ask “What was I thinking?!!” I had beans – yes, dried beans that someone said made nice beach rocks – and thread waste – yes, discarded thread that someone said would make a nice bird’s nest – and…well, you get the picture.

What are the undesirables in your closet? Fabric? Rubbing plates? Embellishments? I challenge you to dig deep into your early days of learning and acquisition and unearth something you previously cast aside. Use the undesirable to stretch yourself and to create something you’ve not imagined before.

The vertical dimension (height) should be 30”. The width is your choice.


  1. So interesting to me as I have been going through my stash of synthetics fabrics and asking the same question! Many were bought for workshops and only a little used. Luckily I haven't sold them all! Just a question re the length- I thought 40" was the minimum length. I see you have nominated 30".

  2. This should be an interesting challenge. I'm looking forward to purging a bit :)

  3. Thank you for the challenge. I was also surprised by the length of 30”. Maybe I am too used to the 40” size. Another challenge for me!? (lol)