This large scale piece has been up on my design wall for the last several months, patiently waiting its turn to be completed. Part of the problem was a busy travel schedule in the last months of 2018, and part of it was uncertainty about how to proceed. It’s been through several variations already.

This was the black and white study I started with.

Black and White Study – Cindy Grisdela

I laid out the black arcs first and then filled in the colors separately. I liked the idea of a cobalt and black color recipe based on a couple of quilts I’ve seen recently that used that combination. But those colors are dark together.

The construction was tricky and I wasn’t sure about how the colors work together. I needed to either scrap it or go forward. I posted an image of the work in progress on social media and indicated I was struggling with it.

This is the earlier version of the image I posted.

First version of Cobalt/Black Art Quilt - Cindy Grisdela

Early version of Cobalt/Black Work in Progress – Cindy Grisdela

I couldn’t seem to put my finger on what was wrong with it, but it just seemed off somehow.

My online friends were generous with their comments about it. One suggested that I call it “Picasso’s Cheshire Cat,” because of the large swoop of light area in the center moving up to the left, which does look a little bit like a smile. An even earlier version was much darker, and I had added the lighter tones to help add movement to the composition.

It was helpful to get other eyes on the composition, because it’s often too easy for me to get stuck on elements that I really like. Sometimes you have to sacrifice the “darlings” to make the composition better, one of my friends reminded me.

The suggestion that really helped me move forward on this piece, though, came from Lois, who took the time to print out the image, cut off the left third of it, and turn it upside down before adding it back. Thanks Lois!

New Work in Progress - Cindy Grisdela


I think this version is more interesting and I’m happier with it. It’s a wild composition still and I don’t know if it will ever be my favorite, but I’m glad I kept at it.

Close up quilting image - Cindy Grisdela

Beginning the Quilting – Cindy Grisdela

I’ve moved on to quilting it. It doesn’t have a name yet–I do like “Picasso’s Cheshire Cat” though! Maybe “Fractured”?

I can’t thank my online friends enough for their kind and generous input on this piece–all the mistakes are mine!







  1. Jenny K. Lyon on February 22, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    Our regional SAQA has had Sandra Sider do critiques several times. What struck me about those is that often, she would turn an abstract piece another direction. The audience would sigh in response, as it resolved the issue. Usually the maker was initially shocked since they had never thought of their piece with that orientation. I agree with Lois and this is a fabulous piece! I’m not good at naming quilts…

    • Cindy on February 23, 2019 at 2:00 pm

      Thanks Jenny–It’s funny because I tell my students to look at their work from different orientations all the time and I just didn’t think to do it myself!

  2. Leslie Dickinson on February 22, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    First word that came to my mind when I opened this pic, Clock Tower

    • Cindy on February 23, 2019 at 2:02 pm

      That’s a good idea, Leslie–thanks!