Improvising with a Plan, a paradox – Walking The Streets of France

Lately, I have been a bit out of touch with the quilting world and friends, however, I have been quietly working in my studio on a few new Walls and Windows creations. They are still in progress but I’d like to show you one of these as I am enjoying the process and the piecing challenge.

The streets of Europe are a great inspiration for someone who loves walls, windows and streets. Inspired by a photo of a street in the city of Lourdes, France, I played around with Prisma, a phone App that allows you to edit photos and create very interesting photo effects, here are a few. On the left is the original photo and then three modifications.

All interesting variations, but the one that caught my eye is the last one on the right, specifically the introduction of the bright colors yellow, orange and red.

Ready to start! For a few seconds I hesitated whether piecing or paper piecing this project but I very quickly realized that using improvisational piecing techniques would make the process much more enjoyable. I also wanted a softer look, so no black skinny lines (although they would have been fun to piece!)

First thing was to make a large black and white print to help me with the scale and determining which lines are important. Next, onto the piecing of the back wall and the windows. I had to iron many seams open to reduce bulk. The challenge was to figure out which lines are important to keep the essence of the image.

Piecing is done … now the quilting. I decided on doing this in two layers…layer 1 is a horizontal matchstick quilting all over the piece, from top to bottom. Layer 2 vertical lines highlighting the three main walls, left, right and back. It is so stiff, it feels like cardboard! ☺ It measures 30”W x 48”H and has no name yet.

As soon as I finish the facing and figure out a name for this piece, I’ll photograph it professionally and post in my gallery. If you’d like to see this piece in person, it will be exhibited as part of my small solo show “If Walls Could Talk” from July to September 2019 at the Visions Art Museum.

To end, I want to dedicate a line to my Mom and her skill as a fashion designer and seamstress. These are pictures of some of her designs and drawings from when she attended fashion design school in Belgium during WWII. She then sewed her designs using paper since it was difficult to get a hold of fabric during the war years.

And some pages from her notebook …

Mom passed away three weeks ago, on January 2 at age 92 in Venezuela, where she lived since 1950. In my eyes she was an optimist, and this always kept her young.


Laura Schmidhammer (May 12, 2019)

I was stunned that this piece is pieced and not raw edge! Unbelievable! I can’t wait to see it at Visions this summer and come to your class at Asilomar next spring. It will be good to see you again and learn more techniques “beyond the bowls” . . . And Although its never easy to say goodbye to your mother, you are so blessed to have had such a great teacher and inspiration in her presence in your life. She will never be far from you.

Ana Barra (Feb 4, 2019)

Me encanta tu diseño de calles y edificios.. , es como un callejón… no se como se llamaría en Europa, voy a ver como práctico a ver si hago uno….P.D. Yo tengo el primer diseño que publicaste de tu mami ;-)

Jeri Auty (Jan 31, 2019)

Thanks so much for sharing about your mother. How special to hear a bit about her story…..

Elyse Everett (Jan 27, 2019)

Thanks so much for sharing your process. This piece is beautiful and I look forward to seeing more.

Penny Geisbush (Jan 25, 2019)

Hilde, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Thank you for sharing your mother’s beautiful drawings. I love your street quilt–have a photo of a street in Portugal I’d love to work on. Hoping for another of your wonderful classes soon.

Allison Lockwood (Jan 25, 2019)

Thanks for sharing your beautiful new quilt and memories of your mother. I would love to take another class with someday… keep coming to Asilomar ❤️

Marsha Cochrane (Jan 24, 2019)

What a lovely tribute to your mom Hilde, her designs are timeless and so nice for you to have these to admire. You obviously have the same love of textiles and design, she must have been an important influence to you. My condolences on your mom’s passing.

I love your new work of art and can see why street scenes from France inspired you. I’ve always been a fan of architecture which is why I’ve been drawn to your art. I look forward to seeing this one in person one day…

Carole Rossi (Jan 24, 2019)

Hilde, thank you so much for sharing both your process for this piece and your photo of the finished piece itself, which is absolutely fabulous. I love everything about it, i.e., the color choices, the angular structures, and the quilting. And your mother’s work is beautiful. I am so sorry for your loss. My mother died about 10 years ago (also in January) at the age of 96. She is always in my heart. I know it will be the same for you. Your mother must have been so very proud of your extraordinary talent. I hope to be able to take another workshop with you soon. You continue to inspire me in every way. Very best, Carole

Joan Nagel (Jan 24, 2019)

Was your mom eventually able to sew her designs with fabric? She was so talented. Last week I went to the Christian Dior exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. I think your mother’s designs are every bit as good as his. I am so sorry for your loss.

MJ Caswell (Jan 23, 2019)

Hilde, I am so sorry for the loss of your mother. Her sketches are wonderful!

Thank you for showing your new work and thought processes. The quilt is absolutely stunning.

Sandie French (Jan 23, 2019)

My thoughts are with you. Your mother was a very talented designer as are you. My mom was also a seamstress and passed at 92, I miss her every day but get to use her sewing machine from the 30’s, still running like a charm! My hope is to one day be able to take one of your classes. I’ve seen some works done by friends who have been able to take your class, absolutely fantastic! Your work is inspirational! Keep well.

Shelley O’Brien (Jan 23, 2019)

Hilde, so sorry to hear your mother has passed from this life. But your relationship with your mother will continue in a new way. Now she will guide and influence you through the countless memories you have experienced with her. She is with you always. Take care of yourself as you allow the time you need to mourn.

Carolyn (Jan 23, 2019)

Thank you for sharing this work. You are so inspirational!

Darlene (Jan 23, 2019)

Love your street scene! What a piecing challenge! My condolences for your mom!

Tess Black (Jan 23, 2019)

I was so glad to see your blog in my mailbox this morning. I’ve missed you. Your blog’s walk-through for this street scene is fabulous — can’t wait to play with a photo I took of a street scene on the island of Santorini (many years ago), keeping you as my spirit guide as I go. Very sorry to hear about your mother . She lived a long life and, from what you say of her and show of her work, she lived a good one. My own mother will be 96 in April; since she had a stroke two years ago, I care for her from a distance — she lives in a nursing home in Southern California and I live in Northern California near Santa Cruz.. My husband and I travel to see her every month or two months. It is our time in life to contemplate the meaning of all our close relationships and bless them, for good and bad, for they are our teachers too. Sending you aloha, Hilde. Continue on making your gorgeous art.

Janet Wilson (Jan 23, 2019)

So sorry to hear that your mom passed away. Her drawings were beautiful. How hard it must have been to be in school during the war. What a beautiful and creative daughter she raised; I can tell her heart from my time spent with you and seeing your art. Her spirit lives within you, and your memory of her keeps her alive with you always. Much love to you.

Heather Callaghan (Jan 23, 2019)

This piece is amazing, and inspiring. Looking forward to the exhibit at Visions. Congratulations, Hilde. You bring so much to the quilting world.

Suzanne Warren (Jan 23, 2019)

I love your new pieces and appreciate hearing about the app you found to do some interesting things. You never cease to be an inspiration Hilde. I’m sorry to hear about your mother’s passing. How wonderful that you have her journals and drawings - she was obviously a very talented woman, just like her daughter.

Del Thomas (Jan 23, 2019)

My sympathy on the loss of your mother. It is a huge shift in anyone’s life, regardless of age. Great new piece and intresting to see your process. French Byway? Love

Rebecca Dakan (Jan 23, 2019)

When I received your email about the show in Hood River, we made arrangements and went! It was well worth it. I especially loved the winter triptych.
I really enjoyed seeing the process pictures above. I keep trying to take your class in Asilomar…either the dates dont work or the class is filled! Will just keep trying. I am sorry to hear that your mother has passed away. And glad she had a long life that looks like it was filled with good things including a very talented daughter.

Peggy Peirson (Jan 23, 2019)

Hilde - love your spin on the French architecture shot. Amazing how after you used the phone app, then deconstructed and reconstructed the image in fabric it really communicates the streetscape!

Very sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. Thank you for sharing a touching glimpse into her artistic talent. Now we know where you got yours. ❤️

Jill Hoddick (Jan 23, 2019)

I enjoyed the process you went thru on this new piece Hilde. Wish I could see it at Visions. COngrats on that show. Also interesting to see your mom’s renderings. I especially like the b/w ones. I was a costume designer so can relate to the rendering/patterning. I am sorry for your loss. I am sure she was quite an inspiration for you.

Shari Belling (Jan 23, 2019)

What wonderful inspiration you provide! I would love to take another class from you! Brooke and I are attending Asilomar this year but don’t think it’s during a week you teach (Gloria Loughman). Love what you shared regarding your mother …warm thoughts your way as you deal with your loss 💗. Your new piece looks like it has a number 1 above the blue door on the right side …you could title this piece “Behind Door Number One”.

Pam (Jan 23, 2019)

Thank you for such an inspiring post, Hilde. I have had the opportunity to take your class at Sister’s and it was a wonderful experience. You are a knowledgeable to patient teacher. During the class we talked about our mutual connections to Venezuela. Your mother’s fashion designs are amazing. I am sure you have been inspired by her in many ways. I am sorry for your loss. Take care, Hilde.

Larsja Peterson (Jan 23, 2019)

Hilde, your work is amazing. I’m so impressed about your planning process. I look at my pueblo project from your class at Asilomar and and sometimes wonder how I managed to make it … couldn’t have done it without your guidance. Visiting your studio is on my bucket list. My mother has been gone for 15 years but I still miss her. My thoughts are with you.

Jo Kellar (Jan 23, 2019)

My sincere condolences on the passing of your mom, Hilde. It is such a painful time for you. I love her work that you shared with us. I see she passed her talent on to you.

Jan Sturtevant (Jan 23, 2019)

Oh Hilde–what a blow to lose your mother, at any age. She must have had an interesting and full life. It’s sad that you were both so far apart. Well, mothers and daughters are still in each other’s hearts, no matter the distance. Her designs are lovely–that back view of an evening dress cut down to there! The red coat, hat, and handbag remind me of current designs in the Marfy catalogue. Tres chic. And….I love your new piece and so appreciate seeing it take shape. Stunning!

Jennie Corlett (Jan 23, 2019)

Love your new quilting path. Congratulations. Sending you empathy about your mothers death. Sounds like she was a good role model who imparted her love of textiles to you.

Gerrie Congdon (Jan 23, 2019)

Wow! Love seeing your process!

Kathy Logan de Chavez (Jan 23, 2019)

As always, your work is simply inspirational. Thanks for sharing. I’m sorry to hear of the loss of your mom. Hugs sent your way.

Diana Field (Jan 23, 2019)

Love your new work. I have had the good fortune to have taken 2 classes with you at Sister. My favorites. Keep blogging!! And… Visions Art Museum is about a 2hr drive from my home. Plan on seeing your work there. So sorry to hear about your mother.

Katherine Jensen (Jan 23, 2019)

Amazing design and idea for this street scene project. I am thankful to you for putting your bowl making information in your blog. Just completed my 3rd canvas bowl loving the concept. The memories of our mothers longevity give us strength as we age.

Elizabeth Clark (Jan 23, 2019)

I have lovely memories of you telling us of the packages you sent to your mother in Venezuela, to comfort her with food and other treats that weren’t available in the crisis there. That you always had her in your heart and your actions probably made it possible for her to live to such a great age. She was a very talented designer of clothing and her fabric heritage has been left in good hands. I love your current work and it encourages me to keep in my own studio, where I continue to lapse into working on my lap!

Lise Vandandaigue (Jan 23, 2019)

So sorry to hear that your mom passed away. That is great that you still have the drawings your mom did so many years ago.

Take care

Rose R (Jan 23, 2019)

Beautiful, Hilde! My dream and on my bucket list is to one day take a class with you and I hope THIS will be a class!! I have photos from Venice and Italy that would be beautiful this way!

My sincerest condolences to you and your family. May you find some peace in those beautiful drawings of hers…



S G Cobb (Jan 23, 2019)

Love this new work. I too like to make a plan and let it happen there after as it will. Always admire your great sense of design, line, contrast and color.

Dana Burback (Jan 23, 2019)

Hilde, I love your whole process and the finished piece! My Mom died in June at the age of 102, She was also an optomist, a positive thinker, it must have been hard for you to have your mother living so far away. Thank you for the wonderful email, I always love to see what you are doing!

Deanna Ripley-Lotee (Jan 23, 2019)

Hilde–your mother’s drawings are wonderful. I hope you frame them, maybe as a group.

Love the new work–I’ll be attending Empty Spools the first two sessions: Tentmakers of Cairo and Rosalie Dace.

Always, Deanna

Janneke vanderree (Jan 23, 2019)

So sorry to hear about your moms passing. What a wonderfull tribute you gave your mom with the article. Love to hear that her optimisme passed on to you. Our moms were very much alike.

Sharry O. (Jan 23, 2019)

Wow! Hilde, these are wonderful. What fun…I can’t want to see them!!!

Jacki Ficker (Jan 23, 2019)

Your work is amazing Hilde, I have some photographs that I took in Toulouse, France a number of years ago that resemble your street. Your mothers work is also amazing, I love that era. My mother was a seamstress and made patterns from newsprint, wish I had some them today. So sorry for the passing of your mother.

Reinald Van De Walle (Jan 23, 2019)

Que interesante poder ver la eboración de tus obras! Nos mete más dentro de ellas. Además, ver la dedicación que das a las fotos que luego transformas en esas magníficas obras es todo un privilegio. Bonito homenaje para mamá! 😊

Barbara Post (Jan 23, 2019)

Your new piece boggles my mind, I love it. I am still working on my son’s neighborhood in San Francisco. I am so sorry to hear of your mom’s passing and send you healing thoughts in your time of sorrow..

Lorraine Kirker (Jan 23, 2019)

My Mother was also a professional seamstress but not a designer. I had her in my life until she was 95. My heart is with you, Hilde.

Donna (Jan 22, 2019)

I would love to take a class from you.

Melanie Grant (Jan 22, 2019)

Your new work is stunning Hilde! I love the graphic nature and abstraction of the street scapes in Europe… Beautiful! Last but not least, you carry on your mother’s love of design and fiber and her legacy will continue with all you create! Just like your mom, you too are an optimist and that is one of many attributes I love about you…..
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