Post by Andrea Paden
You’ve gotta love a class with a Supply List that includes fresh flowers and a hammer, but no sewing machine! Oh yeah, ear plugs are optional. I am talking, of course, about a Fresh Flower art class I took at Cozy. Or, as we like to call it, a Flower Pounding class. What I liked best about this class is that anyone can do it! You don’t have to be a quilter. You don’t even have to know how to sew at all. As long as you can swing a hammer, you can make something beautiful and have a blast doing it. I think it would be especially refreshing, say, for Mom’s with misbehaving children, disgruntled employees, irritated housewives, and anyone who may just be having a bad day. All that pounding with a hammer really gets those frustrations out! When I first saw the examples for our Fresh Flower Art Quilt class, I was ready to sign up immediately. These small sized art quilts looked so beautiful and different from anything else I have seen and my artsy-fartsy background kicked into high gear! I was also attracted to the fact that these are smaller sized projects and so not as intimidating to me as a full-sized quilt. In fact, you can make Fresh Flower Art Quilts in any size you like. You have full control. You really don’t even have to make them into a quilt. You can frame or display your finished piece without adding a backing or binding. You can make pictures to hang on the wall, cards to give away, pillows, or, if you choose, use these unique creations for various blocks to be sewn into a special quilt.Our class had people from all different walks of life and all different skill and experience levels. Just a sampling of our group included Jolene, a stay-at-home-Mom and former teacher new to quilting; Loretta, an experienced quilter; and Mary, an artist who does not quilt at all.
Our teacher was Peggy Caballero, a lovely and charming lady who gets you going with the basics and then just lets you go for it! Because the class can get a little loud, she suggests ear plugs or cotton balls to block the sound. And to get your attention after all that pounding begins, she just waves a “white flag” of fabric. The whole process is really very simple, but it was great to be in a group setting to learn this technique and see the results that everyone gets from their flowers. Everyone including Peggy brought different kinds of flowers from their yard or from a store and we all just shared around. It was so interesting to see how different flowers stained the fabric. Some that we all thought would work great just didn’t, and some we were sure wouldn’t give off much color turned out to produce the brightest results.
I don’t know if it was the fact that this class is just plain noisy or that there’s no pressure to sew a straight line… but everybody in this class had a great time! It was so enjoyable to hammer away at these delicate flowers and end up with such pretty little images.
This technique would be a great one to learn and share with kids of all ages. How much fun would it be to spend a summer day outside with the kids pounding flowers? They would love it! You could make tote bags for the beach, park or school, custom t-shirts or bandanas. It would make a great project to include Dad in on as well. After all, it does require a hammer!If you aren’t using a pretreated fabric off the bolt for your project (we carry some in the shop), then you might want to investigate this terrific resource, Flower Pounding by Ann Frischkorn & Amy Sandrin to learn how to treat your own fabric so it holds the color and stands up to delicate washing better. This book is also our teacher’s favorite resource – she still refers to it even after 9 years of pounding! My favorite image is of the skateboarder. See, you can make colorful images with flowers and they don’t have to be just for girls!
Towards the end of class, we got instructions on how to add a few finishing touches to our art to create detail and enhance the colors we have created, and Voila! You have a Fresh Flower Art Quilt! What a unique item to decorate your home with or give to a friend. It takes a fraction of the time and expense that making an entire quilt takes, but is so elegant that it would be treasured by any recipient.
You can use flowers to create various shapes with templates. Peggy has made lots of different shapes including vases, cats, and even a seahorse. Fresh Flower Art Quilts, 2 will be given here at the shop in July for any students who have already taken the first class and want to create a larger project from start to finish while learning more advanced Flower Art techniques.