Kindling the Creativity Within

Inspired by the book Nurture Your Creative Spirit by Vikki Pignatelli

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Curiosity In Art

“Innovative people are curious. They experiment. They discover. They dare to be different and are not afraid to make mistakes”. Excerpt from “Nurture a our Creative Spirit”.

I love to play and experiment and often get lost in the creative process. Several years ago I purchased a felting machine on a whim. Not content to felt only wool, which is standard, I decided to experiment with all types of fabric and fibers just to see what would happen. I had a great time playing and discovered how to make fun collages through felting. My experiments resulted in creating my quilt, Against All Odds. The tree and leaves are a felted collage of materials including cotton, wool, wool roving, silk, silk roving, and cheesecloth, among others.

The photo below contains some of my felted collages including clockwise from top left: A center for a flower; a collage demo from a class; a sample of felted tree bark from Against All Odds; and a collage I intend to use on a handmade notecard.

Are you fearless when you are create? Has any of your experiments led to exciting effects in your artwork/quilts?




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The Spider’s Web


“Setbacks are a necessary ingredient for creativity. Without them we remain complacent in our comfort zones and do not take inventive leaps of faith. From personal experience, I can tell you many of the artistic ideas in my quilts were born out of necessity, trying to hide or incorporate my unfortunate mistakes into workable solutions.” Excerpt from Nurture Your Creative Spirit. 

While completing the back of my quilt, “The Spider’s Web”, I accidentally poked a hole in the fabric on one of the branches. I needed to come up with a good way to hide my mistake. What better solution than to cover the hole with an embroidered spider? It was the perfect complement to the theme of the quilt.


When Things Go Wrong….

Thought for today:  There will be setbacks and times when your artistic work will not go as planned. Setbacks are a necessary ingredient for creativity. Realize that even if something goes wrong, it can be a proverbial silver lining and a tremendous opportunity for growth. Having a setback is an essential requirement for learning or we would not be forced to exercise our imaginations and seek creative solutions for problems.

Of ALL my work, “Needles and Pins” is my least favorite quilt. I’ve never shown it to anyone before, thus the horrible image…it’s my one and only photo. However, working on this piece did teach me many lessons. The crisscrossing threads and yarns spanning the openings sagged terribly and I was very upset with the setback. Through persistence and experimenting, I was able to come up with a solution that works well for my later quilts with openings.… securing the threads onto a stabilizer “frame” before inserting the frame into the opening of the quilt.



Courage In Art #3: “Rosemary’s Garden”

Thought for today: “Allow yourself the freedom to consider all new avenues with avid curiosity. Do not strive for perfection or allow yourself to fear failure. There is no such thing as failure unless you give up and stop trying.” (Excerpt from my book, Nurture Your Creative Spirit) See image story/description below:

ImageAfter making quilts using patterns, I had loads of scraps left over from expensive fabrics…both commercial and hand-dyed and wanted to use them somehow. I decided one day to go to my studio and start playing spontaneously. I had no idea or design in mind, I just wanted to experiment, play without thinking and see what would happen. I began constructing “blocks” of all different sizes and shapes and was having a great time enjoying this new creative process through trial and error. These experiments began a new era for me…creating large improvisational quilts and teaching the technique. The image above, “Rosemary’s Garden”, is an early improvisational quilt I made for my sister, who is an avid gardener. The quilt includes a fun variety of garden-related fabrics such as frogs (she has a pond), flowers and stormy fabrics.


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Courage in Art #2

I love to experiment and play and lose all track of time when I am in my creative “zone”. This felted “moss” was created only with wool roving and dyed cheesecloth. I used it as groundcover and growing up the rocks in my quilt, “Rocky Mountain Wildflowers”. The following is an excerpt from my book, Nurture your Creative Spirit: “Creative people have the courage to work intuitively and spontaneously. They do not create solely to please others, but to satisfy, explore, fulfill, indulge, heal, delight and nurture the artistic need within their mind, body and spirit.”ImageImage

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Courage in Art

Creative spirits are not afraid to work with new ideas nor worry how others judge their art. They think and play freely without expectations, self-judgment or predetermined outcomes and express their thoughts about their work without fear.
Excerpt from Nurture Your Creative Spirit.

ImageDetail of felted leaves and trunk from my quilt, Against All Odds. Creating the machine felted collage was pure joy of creative experimentation. The felted collage contains cotton, wool, silk, wool and silk roving, cheesecloth and various polyester sheer organzas.

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There’s Always More Fabric…..


Stretch, bend, break and shatter any rules that shackle your artistry and try new
things. Courage is taking creative risks. In our world when you take a risk, ask yourself,
“What are the best and worst outcomes?” You weigh the odds and then make a
decision. In the creative world of quilting, the worst outcome I’ve experienced is that
the idea I thought would work didn’t pan out and I had to buy more fabric. This wasn’t
a problem for me, and probably won’t be for any other fabric-addicted quilter either.

Excerpt from Vikki’s Nuture Your Creative Spirit