First of all, thank you for your tremendous response to Tuesday’s blog. Your comments were so kind and supportive.  I am, once again, grateful to live and work in this wonderful world of sewing. People who sew are extremely kind, giving, and generous!

Now for today’s topic! After years in the sewing industry, it is a thrilling moment for me when a brand new concept or twist comes across my desk. The book, Photo Inspired Art Quilts, was one of those moments.

Leni Levenson Wiener was a commercial photographer. She sees the world through a camera lens, which is the basis for her art quilts and the driving force behind all her work. Leni says, “Using a photo as my starting point is almost like cheating—I don’t have to worry about where the shadows would be, or figure out the perspective or proportions. All the information I need to create the art quilt is there for me in the photo.”

My love of landscape quilting is well known, which is why I was fascinated with Leni’s process. In Photo Inspired Art Quilts, she does a masterful job of walking readers through the technique, step by step. When I asked her to condense her process into one paragraph, she wrote: “Here it is. Start with a photo. Crop to make the composition more artistic. Then apply a cutout filter in Photoshop (or Photoshop Elements) to define the broad areas of color. Make a full sized mockup of the photo (check out www.blockposters.com, it is great!) to use as a pattern. Then identify the changes of “value” and assign each value to a fabric. Using the freezer paper technique, each piece is cut out and applied to the design wall. Build the composition working one “element” at a time— for example, focus just on a face and then just the hands, etc.”

When Leni likes the way it looks, she lightly glues the pieces in place and uses free-motion stitching and clear thread to sew them down. Of course, I can’t talk about Leni’s Photo Art Quilts without using some PHOTOS to explain her technique.

Starting with a picture of a woman, sleeping on a train, Leni begins her process…


She starts by focusing on the face…


When asked what was unique about her book – Leni wrote: “First of all, there is a lot of information about the starting photo, what makes a good composition and how to make the most of the photo you want to use. I also stress the importance of value in choosing fabric. Value is even more important than color—and in one section I show examples done wrong and then done correctly, because I think it is always more instructive to see what is wrong and know why than to just see finished pieces. Finally, I encourage the reader to use her eye rather than her brain, because your brain may lead you in the wrong direction, but your eye never will.”

It was so much fun for me to work with Leni to produce a DVD forPhoto Inspired Art Quilts. It is much easier to understand these techniques if you can SEE it happening, as opposed to simply reading about it. Our hope is that the DVD would help clarify everything and provide that “oh, I get it” moment.

Be sure to go to Leni’s web site: www.leniwiener.com for more inspiration!

Thanks for your comments, the interaction is great fun!  Last week, I asked you to comment about what inspires you. The random winner is Karin, she’s the lucky winner of Heidi Pridemore’s latest book,  Krause Publication,Jewelry: Wrapped, Braided and Sewn.

Karin’s comment was, “I am inspired first of all by all of the vintage textiles I have displayed around my home.  When I see these beautiful works of art created by women long ago, whether it is an apron, a quilt, a doily, a pillowcase or whatever, I am inspired by the workmanship and beauty of those items.”

Well said, Karin!  I couldn’t agree more.

Bye for now!

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