While Modern Quilt Perspectives was a very intuitive book to write, feeling my way through the quilts and the words, The Quilt Design Coloring Workbook was more carefully crafted. I don’t mean that in a cynical way, that it was engineered as a product, something to capitalize on a perceived market; rather I spent a good deal of time thinking about just what I wanted to impart through people playing with the book.
Of course play was a central element; whatever I wanted to offer, to teach, in the book needed to be fun, but there were definitely lessons I wanted to impart as well. Though the primary audience may be individuals, people picking up a copy and coloring, designing, reading, playing, and (hopefully) learning. But there is indeed another audience, one I tried to keep in mind throughout the process of pulling all the components of The Quilt Design Coloring Workbook together into a coherent whole: Quilt Shops.
Obviously, I hop shops carry the book for individual sale, but as I was pulling all of the threads within the book together I envisioned something else as well: coloring confidence groups, get-togethers in shops akin to the emergence of adult coloring parties. While I think the book offers a lot for individual exploration, I also saw it as a resource for shops to provide guide that growing constituency of quilters interested in designing and making their own quilts.
While traditional quilt classes readily provide instruction in techniques and guidance through patterns, individual expression is again returning to the foreground of the quilting world. It is there that I see The Quilt Design Coloring Workbook as offering a means for quilt shops to offer something unique to quilters looking to develop their own voices. In gathering to color together, seeing how others play with the same quilt designs, how different color approaches yield a wide range of results, those manifold insights possible within the book become clear, are transformed into collective understanding.
Even as I envisioned these get-togethers, coloring together with coffee (or wine), as a means encouraging quilters to play more with color, to experiment with fabric, I saw something else as well. While classes often draw a particular audience, I imagined these get-togethers, more casual than specific classes, as a means to support quilt shops as centers for their quilting communities, as loci for more than purchases. As more and more of the quilting world moves online, we in the industry need to find ways to help shops offer experiences that go beyond the point of purchase, and I see The Quilt Design Coloring Workbook as an effort to do just that. As products become ubiquitously available, quilt shops can still provide something more, community, experience, connection, in short a home.
In addition to coloring confidence, I was looking to provide opportunities, and lessons, for developing design confidence as well. And with that, design confidence get-togethers as well. Once quilters develop those basic material techniques, the bridge that so often remains is confidence, trusting in one’s own ideas. All the technical mastery in the world does not necessary provide a path across that bridge, and that is the aim of The Quilt Design Coloring Workbook, to help quilters and crafter, artists and makers, find their own paths. And therein lies the power of quilt shops to offer these get-togethers, to use this book to help their customers find their way through their weeds, to explore the possibilities, and help them translate the individual voices that emerge into fabric and thread, to take the designs and ideas off of the pages and into the material world as quilts.
I can only hope to see these groups start popping up in shops and guilds all over the place, to see my book come to life in novel and exciting ways in the process. While I am excited to see all your coloring and design experiments, what I am really looking forward to is seeing the quilts that come from that. And to that end I’d love to reach out to shops and guilds all over to help in making that happen however I can.