Friday, June 13, 2008

Get Liberated


In the 27 years since taking up my needle, one woman's influence has been a constant in my work. Gwen Marston impressed me early on with her knowledge of quilt history, her reverence for traditional quilts, her methods for designing custom applique, piecing and quilting patterns and her ability to throw out the rules and encourage us to create original quilts of our own.

As Gwen’s designs and freeform construction techniques become more mainstream, it is easy to forget the tremendous impact her work has had on quilt making the world over. Her “liberated” methods for sewing blocks and composing quilts revolutionized the way many of us quilters work. Read more about Gwen Marston HERE and HERE.

This “Black and Bright” quilt was made during one of several Beaver Island Quilt Retreats I attended over the years. It exemplifies Gwen’s “liberated” quilt construction techniques: bold color, irregularly cut fabric, intuitive block construction, miniature “compositions” in the sashing, all tied together with a unique quilting design. This quilt couldn’t be more different from my usual style. But it taught me a lot and has become one of my favorites!

Gwen’s book, Liberated Quiltmaking, which outlines her novel construction techniques, is currently out of print. Tonya Ricucci, from Lazy Gal Quilting, has approached the publisher about reissuing this pivotal book. If you or someone you know would like a copy of Gwen’s book, please visit Tonya HERE, read her post, and leave her a comment or e-mail. The deadline for expressing your interest is the end of June.


  1. Oh Diane the quilt is amazing.
    I am looking forward to making a few solid color fabric quilts soon.
    I went to the NJ Quilt show today and the highlight of the show was seeing BArb's quilts my friend and I decided. The trip was worth it seeing her quilts, a few antique quilts and a few other traditional quilts in the show. I will send you pictures later....
    she is just an amazing quilter and I LOVE that she hand quilts most of them too.

  2. It made me so happy when you learned to love this style of quilt. I felt like we were in 2 different quilt worlds for awhile. I have made a few of your style and now you have made a few of my style. I always loved this quilt too.

  3. I, too, am a fan. It looks like there is a good response in a very short amount of time.

  4. OH my gosh! YOu got to go to the beaver island retreats! How awesome! And your quilt is to die for!

  5. this quilt is GORGEOUS. I don't remember ever seeing this one before. I love it. What a wonderful post, can tell it's truly heartfelt.

  6. That quilt is just gorgeous. I just found you through Wanda. The quilter who inspired me the most is Freddy Moran.

  7. Wonderful! Gwen was one of the first big names I'd heard in the quilting world back in the early 80's, she's an icon of our current quilting history and an amazing woman. How lucky you are to have gone to Beaver Island.

  8. I just love this quilt, full of life. wonderful colors.