Essay: Why is a Raven Like a Writing Desk?

by contributor on March 30, 2009

in Features, Quilting

Becka was one of 50 participants who received a packet of IKEA fabrics to transform in to an art quilt.

About the author: Becka Rahn teaches and creates a little bit of everything fiber art related, from sewing and dyeing clothing and creatures to beading and embroidering whimsical accessories and tiny art quilts. She has made hundreds of puppets to sell at local art shows and has designed costumes and puppets for several community theaters. Becka lives with her husband and a big blonde dog in Minneapolis. You can find her online here or her etsy shop.

ikea project patchwork

In August 2008, IKEA Twin Cities challenged local contemporary quilters to design art quilts using IKEA fabrics. IKEA partnered with
Textile Center, a non-profit art center located in Minneapolis, giving IKEA a way to connect to the local fiber art community.

I was one of 50 participants who received a packet of IKEA fabrics to transform in to an art quilt. Using these fabrics was a real creative challenge, and I started my design many times before I really came up with an idea that would work. For my quilt, I chose to use just one of the four pieces of fabric and lots of decorative quilting. The IKEA aesthetic has such large-scale bold patterns that they are not what you would think of as quilting fabrics. My yardage was more like a canvas weight fabric, so it was tricky to do anything really tiny or intricate. I learned to quilt by watching Saturday morning quilting shows on public TV and reading lots of books, which take a much more traditional slant on what makes a quilt. I like that my piece really ended up looking a bit like a traditional quilt in a design sense, but was created in a more unconventional way.

The packets of fabrics were given out on a first come, first served basis and interested quilters started lining up outside the Textile
Center as early as 5 am to get their fabrics. Participants had a deadline of January 31 to complete their works of art and on Saturday March 21, the quilts will be on display at IKEA Twin Cities for the world to see. A panel of local judges will award prizes, including a $1000 IKEA Studio makeover to the Best of Show, $500 and $100 IKEA gift cards to first place and Juror’s Choice awards. Proceeds from the sale of the art quilts will be donated to the Textile Center’s summer youth education programs, which teach sewing, knitting, dyeing, felting and many more fiber art techniques to kids and teens.

Working with these unusual fabrics really brought our local art quilting community together. I know one trio of artists who got
together to work on their quilts and brainstorm together. Many swapped and traded different fabrics from their packets. Several were so inspired by the IKEA idea that they created their very first art quilt just for the challenge. The Textile Center got calls looking for advice on “How much quilting does it really need to have? My sewing machine can’t stitch through this many layers!” About 25 of us are planning to meet up at IKEA for the celebration and unveiling.

ikea project patchwork

ikea project patchwork

Pieces by Nancy Mambi and Karen Wallach are included with permission from the artists.

Links if you would like to learn more: Project patchwork challenge : gallery of images.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 gwensmom March 31, 2009 at 11:20 am

The raven is fabulous! This is the best looking quilt I have seen in a while. Great work!

2 becka March 31, 2009 at 5:50 pm

Thank you so much! What a nice compliment. And thanks to everyone who has visited my blog. It has been lovely meeting all of you.

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