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Alaska quilt - part two

I had to go and look very closely at a map of Alaska's inner passage and compare my photograph number with the captain's cruise summary, and I can still only tell you approximately where we were...within about 300 miles!  This shot was taken somewhere between Whittier and Yakutat Bay, I believe slightly closer to Yakutat.  But I can't be sure.

Honestly, though, does it really matter that much?  I experienced such a sensory overload and just continued snapping pictures until my finger almost fell off.  It was hard to choose a single picture as the inspiration for my quilt, but there was just something about this one that grabbed me: the high contrast but limited color palette, the balance of shapes.  These were important qualities, because like I said last time, I don't really make a lot of representational quilts, and it's almost always about the shapes, color, and balance.

I'm not exactly sure what you'd call this style that I seems to be half way between representational and abstract.  I made a (very) rough sketch of the photo's major shapes, scanned it into Photoshop, and then began playing.

I like working with ripped strips of silk or cotton, so I first converted my drawing into rectangular blocks.  Referring back to the photograph, I designated colors in a very simple fashion: there was sky, water, snow, medium and dark trees, and medium and dark mountains.

Just to see how that was going to work out visually, I chose seven colors in Photoshop to represent these areas, and colored in the blocks.  It helped a lot to make the colors transparent so that I could see the original lines through them, but the only plan that I actually printed out was a copy of the labeled blocks without the colors or even the sketch behind them.  I wanted to put the quilt together with only the blocks for reference, and then check back with the photo and see if anything needed to be tweaked.

Out on my large work table (in the kitchen, not in my studio), I used masking tape to play with the size until I was happy with it.  You can see my little planogram there on the table, and a pile of different cottons that I thought might be useful.

My original plan was to use all of the fabrics that I bought in Alaska in the quilt.  Sad to say, that didn't happen!  In fact, I only used one very small strip of one of the fabrics, on the wrong side, and only because I stubbornly *made* it fit!  I ended up with quite a number of commercial cottons plus my own hand-painted fabrics, using both sides of many of them.  My husband was amazed by just how many fabrics I had.  I told him what he was seeing was just the tip of the iceberg...ha ha.

Copyright 2013 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Just the tip of the iceberg - lol.

Thanks for sharing a behind-the-scenes look at our process. Anyone who sees your finished quilts knows there must be a lot.

Your photos from the Alaska trip are stunning. They'd make a beautiful coffee table book.