This is the third entry about the classes I took at the Houston International Quilt Festival when I was there last October. The point of this exercise was mostly to remind myself of what I learned there, and of the ideas I had for new projects and experiments to try when I got home. What happened when I did get home? Well, the usual late fall culprits – Christmas shopping, daily chores, yard clean-ups, that sort of thing. Sort of drove a lot of it out of my head. Now it’s time to look back and refresh my memory.

So, the third class I took was called Creativity Unleashed, and was taught by artist Traci Bautista. It was all about quick techniques to use to spark creative ideas, and to get the juices flowing. It was a lot of fun.

First up, a quick collage made from magazine clippings. Working fast, not thinking about it but acting instinctively, we snipped and then pasted. Here’s mine.


The images and text are mostly from Discover Magazine. We used this as a source of images and words, to doodle and play around with on a manila folder. Shapes become other shapes, become other shapes. A progression of exploration of ideas.

We used a number of other techniques, too. We made stamps using fun foam, and stamped on paper, and paper towel, with various paints and inks.


We doodled shapes, alphabets and words. We used different pens, pencils and crayons. We cut shapes from paper and pasted them on. It was very quick and intuitive – we didn’t spend much time on any one exercise. The idea was to let go of our over-thinking minds, and see what would come out.


I must say, I loved this class. I came away with a lot of new techniques to use when planning and designing a new quilt or other art project. Doodling is a great tool, and going through multiple iterations of doodles – picking one element to expand on, then picking a part of that to play around with, and so on – can lead to very unexpected results. This was all good for me, I am normally far too much of a control freak to be so spontaneous and free in making art. I need to practice playing!

Traci Bautista has a book out called Collage Unleashed, which I’ve found to be a great supplement to the things I learned in her class.


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