Artful Improv Students - Cindy Grisdela Art Quilts

Artful Improv Students Reston 2016

We had a great time yesterday in my “Artful Improv – Permission to Play” class in Reston, VA. I had 20 enthusiastic students ready to explore their own creativity.

This class is about letting go of the “rules” of traditional quilting and learning to work without a pattern to design original art quilts.

We start by talking about color and improvisational techniques that I use in my own work, looking at some of my quilts for inspiration. Next I demonstrate the improv techniques and everyone gets to work!

After lunch, we talk about how to use the elements we’re creating to design their own work using simple principles of design–balance, symmetry, unity, focus and repetition.

As you can see from the featured image at the top, each student created something that was uniquely hers–some finished tops and others got a good start.

Every time I teach this class, I’m amazed at how each piece is different from the others, and different from my work as well! My approach in class is there are no mistakes, only learning opportunities. I firmly believe that each of us has the ability to be creative, especially if we’re willing to play, to experiment, and to embrace the creative process. And it is a process–you rarely make a masterpiece the first time around!

I was also thrilled to be able to share my new book–Artful Improv: Explore Color Recipes, Building Blocks & Free Motion Quilting–with the class! I just received my shipment of books and they’re available on my website here if you’d like a signed copy. The official release date is October 17.

I’m very proud of my newest students–they did a great job!

My next event is the Great Falls Studios 2016 Studio Tour this coming weekend–October 14-16. Hours are 10-5 each day. Admission is free. I’m located at the Artists’ Atelier at 756 Walker Road, Great Falls, VA, and I will have a display of my art quilts, as well as books to sign.

We’d love to see you if you have a chance to stop by!



  1. Willa Downes on October 10, 2016 at 9:19 am

    Great class!!!!! Fabulous quilts – your quilts are even more beautiful than the pictures of them!! You inspire me!!! You have opened a door to a whole new world. Thank you soooooooooo much!!!!

    • Cindy on October 10, 2016 at 9:58 am


      Thank you so much for your kind words about the Artful Improv class and my work! I had a blast teaching the class to such talented students and I hope you’ll share a photo of your project when it’s finished.