A class with Gwen Marston

I had so much fun at the Gwen Marston workshop, held in Toowoomba last week. I think we were so fortunate to have a quilter of her calibre to visit. Gwen is a lovely person; lively and funny and generous and down-to-earth with her advice.
She brought along her own quilts to show us. Each day had adifferent focus. The first day was working on medallion quilts and before we started she would show us some of her own quilts, many of which were featured in her book. It was fantastic to see them up close!
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These are some of her quilts which show some Amish influences and improvisational piecing and quilting.
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The second day was based around her most recent book “37 Sketches”, in which she created lots of little quilts.
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With these she played and experimented with lots of improvisation in the shapes she used, free-hand cutting, and restricting or expanding the colour palette. She said that she used them as an artist would a sketch: perhaps dealing with a square shape and the variations she could make with it, and then the next one would have one other shape added to it, or strips inserted in; using all dark colours in one, or all light in another.
We played by creating lots of little ‘spare parts’, trying out her techniques of piecing skinny triangles together, or making little strips with just a pop of colour here and there, or wonky nine-patches, and so on. Some people got as far as joining them all together to make a little quiltlet top, while some of us made a good start on a collection of parts.
Here is how far I got with my medallion centre: I went with this print which I was initially a little undecided on. I cut out a square which I then put on-point and chopped off some corners:
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To that, I made some little hourglass blocks:
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and added them into a border with some cornerstone blocks of a fabric which looked just perfect for the job!
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Next up are my little spare parts. I tried to stick to about 5 or 6 different colours.
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Here is a selection of what some of the workshop participants produced in the workshop.
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One lady, Jan, had this quilt top to show the class that she had made before the workshop, very much in the style of Gwen Marston and Freddie Moran’s Liberated quilting style:
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Beautiful colour and very clever!