Thursday, October 2, 2014

At Home: A contemporary quilter

I'm very excited about my new At Home series. I've done the thinking, the calling, the cajoling, the photographing and the writing.  All you have to do is  follow behind me as I knock on doors and poke around inside to see how homeowners create a welcoming home.

At Home guest:

Sharon Griffin, once a co-worker of mine,  a fantastic gardener and quilter extraordinaire, has graciously let me invade her space.  A year ago when I visited herquilting studio, I couldn't help thinking  how quietly many of us work at hobbies and interests, and even friends don't know the extent of our involvement. It's only when you start asking questions that you find out what people are really up to. Yes, I asked lots of questions.


 Sharon began quilting in 1996 when she was attracted to a quilt her sister-in -law created.  She hasn't looked back since that first course  when she created the quilt below the old fashioned way.  No rotary cutters then and little fabric selection in our fair city.

traditional quilt decorating with quilts
First quilt 1996
While many of her first projects  employed traditional patterns and techniques, participation in two local  quilters' guilds, travel, and the internet broadened her exposure to a  wide array of  quilting techniques and styles. As you walk through Sharon's home and visit her quilting studio, you  realize that her interests are changing and her pieces take on a more contemporary feel.

traditional quilts decorating with quilts
Traditional patterns on quilt stand

 Why quilting?

No one could dispute that quilting creates beautiful objects, but I suspect there is more to Sharon's interest in it than that.  She  admits to being an organized, tidy person and there is something about the precision needed to quilt that suits these characteristics. It is a quiet, solitary activity that also can be quite social, and fulfill a love of learning if you participate in guilds and workshops. I've always know Sharon to be a lover of fabric and colour.  What better interest could she choose than  quilting?  Her work adds uniqueness and warmth to her home.  This is so important in  a world of mass produced objects.

Variety of Applications

And quilting isn't just about quilts.  The range of projects is limitless...

quilting projects decorating with quilts
 needle holders, glasses case, bags, mug sleeves....

quilting projects decorating with quilts
sewing kits, journal covers...

quilting projects decorating with quilts
3 D birds, wall hangings  and ...

he wall quilt blocks decorating with quilting
 Off the wall blocks.

Being a lover of all things contemporary, these off the wall quilt blocks really impressed me.  I would have no difficulty adding  one to my own contemporary decor.   Because they are finished on all sides and stand up well, they could be added to any mantle, shelf or  table top as part of a vignette. This has gotten me thinking...

quilting projects quilted wallhangings
Cultural influences
In these wall hangings you can see the influence of various workshop leaders from different countries and more and more opportunities to create personal work by taking the techniques taught in workshops and making them her own.

It's easy to see that landscape has become a primary influence in  Sharon's more recent work.

quilting projects quilted landscapes
Abstracted landscape created with a variety of threads
quilted projects quilted landscapes
NL landscape with lots of stitching

quilted projects quilted landscapes

And this  truly amazing one is  pieced together and embellished  to such a degree that one would think it was a painting.   A photo of their garden shed was the inspiration.   

Integrating quilting projects in your decor

 When you are a prolific quilter there is no way you can display everything you create.  Family members usually make out well  for birthdays and Christmas!  More  things get stored and brought out for seasonal events.  The trick is to show just enough, and to come up with ways to showcase  projects that put them front and centre.

Let's take a tour

quilted projects living room dining room decorating with quilts
Dining room and living room quilted projects

 A strong preference for warm, rich  colours adds so much to the soft white furniture in the living room.  While there's quite a few quilted accessories in the living room and dining room, the space doesn't feel overdone. One of the reasons is the variety of projects used : a quilt, a wall hanging and a pillow. If you look at all four images you can see how the different colours flow throughout the space creating cohesiveness, warmth, and  an open invitation to sit awhile. 

  The poppy wall hanging in the dining room is new and very striking. When I first saw it I thought it was a painting it  is so realistic.   I'm glad it is hung at the perfect height for guests to observe it when sitting down.

A photograph  does not do justice to the overall stitching and embellishments at the centre of the poppy. Do  have a closer look.

quilting projects decorating with quilts
Master bedroom  in chartreuse and pinks

Rather than a quilt, a  bed runner is used to accent the bed and the wall hanging on the opposite wall  is the first thing that greets you as you enter the bedroom.   Don't you love the freshness of this colour combination?

quilting projects decorating with quilts
Autumn inspired guest room

One of the best ways to integrate quilting into decor is to choose lighter backgrounds  that won't compete with the patterns in the quilting. Sharon's favourite  background is a soft white. As you can see it  is perfect for showing off any colour combinations, and it has a very contemporary feel even when the quilting pattern is traditional.   The connection between the quilt and wall hanging in this room  creates a fresh, welcoming look and the colours  blend beautifully with the honey toned furniture. 

quilting projects decorating with quilts
Black and white is always striking

Nothing looks sharper than black, especially with white.  The reversibility of quilted projects  allows you to have two looks for the price of one.   You can also use a table runner as  a bed runner  to accent  a twin bed. Pillows can be moved from room to room if you keep the colourways neutral enough.

And there you have just a glimpse into the world and home of this prolific quilter. Thanks Sharon for letting us visit her home.

  Thanks for dropping by.


  1. Those quilts are beautiful? And I just love the flower one and the black and white. Cheers

    1. Yes , they are even more beautiful than a photo shows.

  2. Margaret, you did a wonderful job of highlighting Sharon's quilted projects in her home space. I think I've seen most of these over the years at various quilt meetings. Thanks, Sharon, for sharing.


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