The Elusive Muse

December 11, 2013
Sometimes it’s easy to select my next project. A photo just begging to be turned into a quilted pet portrait. Other times, the muse proves elusive, like now.
I have several great subjects for a new portrait – Panda, maybe a Havanese – though her actual ancestry is shrouded in mystery. A bright, engaging spirit. My own beloved Monique – a brown standard poodle with multiple shades of frizzy brown hair and melting golden eyes. The poodle hair has presented challenges as I’ve pondered doing a portrait of her or Chloe, my other standard with even more difficult coloration – called blue in the poodle world. How to capture these shades and that texture in fabric? Or there is Gracie, a smallish, smooth-coated mixed breed with a very shiny black coat. Might be hard to capture that in cloth. Perhaps another cat – maybe Rootie-Kazootie, sleeping in a half circle and comfortable the way only a cat can be, relaxing in his domain. I ponder the photos in search of my muse.
I want to do something, and yet have avoided being in my studio until tonight. My design wall has traditional blocks of southwest turquoise and desert pink in a staggered chevron pattern. I designed it with my EQ7 software before cutting into the hand-dyed cloth. I simply couldn’t stand the traditional chevron block arrangement – much too uniform and boring. The staggered pattern, which I like much better, is marinating. If it stands the test of time, it will eventually be a queen-sized bed quilt, something I rarely do. However, having discovered the benefits of using a longarm quilter to do the quilting, I am again venturing into these waters.
When I am working on a pet portrait, I have found that having something easier and more traditional to do when I need a break is a very effective way to avoid becoming blocked in my creativity. Normally, I do Pet Cuddles for either cats or dogs. These are mostly small simply quilted pads that are given to local cat and pet shelters by my guild, Moonlight Quilters of Sonoma County. The quilted pads are then given to a particular cat or dog, and go home with them to their new homes. I like to think this makes their transition into a new and loving home easier.
Well, back to the photos . . .


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