What is Landscape Quilting?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Landscape quilting is an art form that is focused on the creation of a particular design used in quilts. The typical landscape quilt seeks to emulate some type of landscape by either attempting to reproduce the general look as faithfully as possible or creating a landscape design that suggests a particular type of landscape. Landscape quilters make use of several different methods to come up with inspiration for the design and sometimes employ some amount of technology to prepare the quilt top to best effect.

Woman painting
Woman painting

Because landscape quilting is all about the depiction of landscapes, the actual inspiration can come from many different sources. The quilter may employ photographs or online images of well known sites as the basis for creating the design of the quilt. Paintings and sculpture that relate to a landscape may also serve as the source for the inspiration. The quilter may even choose a local site and make a rough sketch of the landscape that can be translated into the overall design for a quilt.

There are two main approaches to landscape quilting. One approach is to create a scene on the quilt top that is as faithful to the original as possible. This can often be a labor intensive project, as it involves identifying all the shapes that make up the original image and locating material that can be cut into the proper shapes and fitted together in much the same manner as a puzzle. The material must also mimic the various shades and hues that help to convey the original setting.

The second approach to landscape quilting is somewhat more freeform. With this approach to landscape quilts, the goal is to create an image that suggests a particular landscape but does not attempt to be an exact replica of the scene. With this approach, the quilter may employ some artistic license and use alternate colors for the various elements. The relative proportion of various elements within the scene may also be adjusted to suit the tastes of the quilter. While still recognizable, the final product is more of a caricature of the landscape than an attempt to reproduce the same image.

Landscape quilting is a time honored form of quilting. The technique has been used to create commemorative quilts for family or friends who are moving away, as a way to honor clergypersons when they retire from active ministry, and as a keepsake to remind one of a favorite location from childhood. It is not unusual for the landscape quilt to include fabrics that have some connection to the recipient of the quilt or the landscape that is depicted on the quilt top.

Because of the growing popularity of landscape quilting, there are a number of books and electronic resources that provide patterns for the creation of various landscapes. Some are capable of being placed onto transparencies and projected onto the basic quilt top, allowing quilters to sketch out the general design using a fabric pen.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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