Some hints on beginning a landscape quilt – Part 1



A few months ago, I put together a little how-to worksheet on approaching landscape quilting. Most of it is based on my own personal process of developing and implementing an idea. A lot of it is my memories of what I wish I’d known when starting out. I still use it (or something more refined, yet similar) when I have an idea that needs more oomph or a glimmer of inspiration that requires more systematic thinking through. Thought I’d post it here, in case anyone else found it helpful. Parts two and three complete the series.


General Tips and Ideas:

  • There is no wrong way for you to make your artistic work. Use whatever techniques you need to accomplish your vision. Some techniques are more appropriate than others, but all have their place.
  • Remember that what you create has to satisfy you. Your artistic vision is your own and it is your prerogative to make choices in its rendition. Shut out of your mind what other people might think, say or believe and work with your expression of an idea and your interpretation of what the piece needs.
  • Keep a notebook or photo album (or ideally both!) of ideas, potential scenes for inspiration, interesting perspectives, things that are meaningful to you, etc.
  • Keep notes and/or photos not only of the basic picture that you want to do, but also of skies that might be used with that scene, details of flowers that might be artistically transposed into the scene, that sort of thing.
  • Collect an assortment of fabrics. When trying to decide on colours, look at nature’s palette for guidance.
  • Look for new perspectives on old motifs. Don’t just do the same shot that everyone else does. Change the angle from which you’re looking at the scene. Zoom in on a detail of the scene. Use the borders to add depth by incorporating flowers, rocks, an extension of the scene itself or some other detail.
  • Eliminate the word “can’t” from your vocabulary and just do whatever it is the piece requires.
  • Work towards visualising all of the steps that go into making a landscape piece and their contribution to the whole. Don’t forget about the dimensionality that quilting adds. Embellishment with beads, ribbon or other additions can add sparkle and attract the viewer’s eye.
  • Be open to changing your plan! Art has a way of growing organically and taking on a life of its own. Be aware that even the best laid plans sometimes need reworking.

The Starting Point – what are you hoping to do?

Get a notebook or a sheet of paper and work through the following steps. Feel free to cut and paste this text into a wordprocessing program and print out your own worksheet.

(If you have a photo, picture or sketch, put it at the top of your worksheet. If not, write a brief description of the scene you want to depict.)
Points to ponder and questions to ask yourself
1. What is the scene I’m doing? Where is it?

2. How do I feel about it?

3. Why am I doing it? People do landscapes for different reasons – veneration, expression of powerful emotion, perfunctory Christmas gift, etc.

4. Colours that immediately come to mind when I think of this place:

5. How can I make this more interesting and different? Can I add neat borders, portray it at a different time of day or a different season? Look at it from a different angle? (Don’t worry about the construction yet, just think on the end result)

6. What do I envision my rendition as being?

Part 2 & Part 3 continue the process…


12 Comments Add yours

  1. Pingback: Anonymous
  2. Cindy Ravid says:

    Thank you. I have been searching wildly for such information. I live in Israel and have become addicted to quilting. However, cotton material is now so expensive that I have had to put it aside. Boxes and boxes of little and big pieces so I decided to try and make a picture. But one has to know the basics. Thank you for taking the trouble to explain everything

    1. Cindy Richard says:

      Cindy, Where do you live? Maybe we can compare notes. I am in Beit Shemesh. Regards, Cindy

  3. Brigit McCallum says:

    I have moved from quilting to mosaic art. I want to create a landscape piece depicting Mt. Katahdin in northern Maine from Sunday Pond for my daughter. I have been thinking about how I have brought many ideas from quilting into my mosaic work, and as I have little experience with landscapes, found your ideas here. Lots of transfer from fabric to glass, tile, beads, etc.!

  4. sara says:

    Awesome art!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Lynnette Druyor says:

    I am an artist and find it monotonous cutting precise squares and triangles from cloth however the landscape quilts make me come alive but I have no clue to where I would begin. My paint brush does and I was wondering do people actually paint quilts? Or are all the colors based on fabric color choices. Do you use a stick up on the wall and create method or go by paper cut out templates or build as you go and on what color/material base? I really need this experience and avenue to express my work but am used to immmediate color application process through mere painting and the idea of putting this on cloth is utterly amazing. Thanks Lynnette

  6. Mary says:

    I want to make a landscape wall hanging w/a width of ~44″. Is this too wide, or should I split it between 3 hangings next to each other?

  7. jo villiard says:

    so glad to find website that explains landscape quilting that i can understand

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