I’ve been working for the last several months on a new set of quilts with a very different aesthetic than I’ve used in the past. Sometimes these experiments don’t really turn into anything, but I have hopes for this one!

The most recent one is Unfurling, pictured below. This is so far my favorite.

Unfurling – Cindy Grisdela

It’s 16″ x 20″ mounted on painted black canvas.

This series explores large shapes and the tension between the positive and negative space of the design. I used warm red and orange for the primary shapes, accented by a narrow black and white stripe, and a deep purple for the secondary shape on the lower left. The green negative space is a duller, less saturated hue so it recedes into the background. In this one, I added texture with simple lines echoing the shapes. I really like how the change in the shape results in secondary design patterns in the stitching.

Balance – Cindy Grisdela

Balance, above, is 20″ square, also mounted on painted black canvas. This piece won an Honorable Mention award at the April Open Exhibit at the Art League gallery in Alexandria, VA. In this one, the shapes are dull raisin and brown, and the background is a stronger, more saturated gold. There are different motifs stitched into each shape, and the background texture is the echoed lines of the shapes.

Color Slices – Cindy Grisdela (private collection)

Color Slices, above, also uses large shapes to define space in strong saturated colors–red, blue and green, with a background of muted yellow. The stitching is again simple lines echoing the shapes to add interesting texture. This one is also 16″ x 20″ mounted on painted black canvas. This was the first one in the series.

In these pieces, the negative space, or background, is just as important as the shapes that define the design. It’s important to “draw” the lines of the shapes with my rotary cutter carefully to create not only an interesting primary shape, but an interesting background shape as well. It’s interesting to try something that’s so different from my usual “small shapes, lots of colors” work. I certainly won’t abandon that work, but I’m always pushing myself to try something new and ask “what if?” to grow as an artist.

This series grew out of a workshop I took with Nancy Crow last fall that focused on spare designs. Her approach to the exercise was somewhat different that what I’ve ended up with, but it made me think in a different way. And that’s the great thing about continuing to expose myself to other ways of creating my art. I am going to take a 7 day independent study class in June with Michael James and I’m excited about that!

What do you do to shake yourself out of your comfortable creative space?


  1. Joan Delony on May 2, 2022 at 5:54 pm

    These are great. I love the vibrancy of the colors and the quilting.
    Thanks for sharing your new work.

    • Cindy on May 3, 2022 at 10:53 am

      Thank you Joan–I’m having fun with this new idea!

  2. Deb Bayer on May 4, 2022 at 4:53 pm

    I love the simplicity and uncluttered look of clean lines and shapes. Great color combos! How do you mount them on the canvas?

  3. Jean Haese on May 4, 2022 at 5:42 pm

    Wow! Fabulous colour and the quilting used has emphasised the shapes. I love them, thank you. ????

    • Cindy on May 5, 2022 at 10:45 am

      Thank you Jean–I appreciate the positive feedback on my new idea!


  4. Patricia Brubaker on May 4, 2022 at 6:22 pm

    I love these! I love the way the simplicity and vivid colors create drama. And the quilting adds interesting texture; almost a 3-d effect. I would love to hear more about how you choose and combine color.

    • Cindy on May 5, 2022 at 10:47 am

      Thank you for your kind words, Patricia–I appreciate it. I’m working on a new class about how I work with color that will be available on the Creative Spark Online Learning platform hopefully by the end of the month. I also talk at length about color in both of my books, Artful Improv, and my new book, Adventures in Improv Quilts.

      I’ll keep everyone posted.



  5. Fran Sakelarides on May 4, 2022 at 8:11 pm

    Very cool. I love the interesting texture of the converging quilting lines. I’d the black and white piece down the center pieced? Looking forward to your presentation at
    Lancaster Modern Quilt Guild and the workshop next week.

    • Cindy on May 5, 2022 at 10:48 am

      Thank you Fran, I’m looking forward to my visit to Lancaster too! The black and white stripe is a commercial print–not pieced.


  6. Darcy Berg on May 4, 2022 at 8:20 pm

    Love these new quilts, especially Unfurling!

    • Cindy on May 5, 2022 at 10:48 am

      Thank you Darcy!

  7. MARYJO on May 4, 2022 at 8:46 pm

    Very modern but I do like them, the echo quilting is excellent.

    • Cindy on May 5, 2022 at 10:49 am

      MaryJo–I’m enjoying adding this shape echoing technique to my FMQ toolbox.


  8. Jennifer Goodwin on May 4, 2022 at 9:12 pm

    I love “Unfurling” too and just finished a class sample from your zoom class last Spring. Thanks for doing that.
    I too am experimenting with more minimalistic quilting and bold colors.

    • Cindy on May 5, 2022 at 10:49 am

      I’m so glad, Jennifer!

  9. Robinoneil on May 4, 2022 at 11:13 pm

    I really like the cleanness of this series- the quilting adds so much dimension . These are inspiring!

    • Cindy on May 5, 2022 at 10:50 am

      Thank you Robin–I appreciate your kind words!


  10. Colleen on May 5, 2022 at 10:22 am

    Cindy I am blown away by your new quilts. The colours and shapes challenge the space so dynamically. They have a force about them that is magical. Your stitching, as always, so enhances the pieces. Thank you for sharing your wonderful quilts with us.

    • Cindy on May 5, 2022 at 10:50 am

      Wow–thank you Colleen!

  11. Nancy Wegmann Riffle on May 5, 2022 at 12:38 pm

    I like the new look. Cindy, how do you mount your pieces on black canvas? Do you sew them to the black canvas? I have
    not found a good way to do this. I have it done at a framing shop. And I would like to do it myself. Thank you.

  12. Deb B on May 9, 2022 at 2:48 pm

    Your work inspires me to step outside of my quilting comfort zone. Thanks for sharing!

    • Cindy on May 11, 2022 at 9:13 am

      Thank you Deb! It’s good to step outside those comfortable lines sometimes.

  13. Elaine Carson on May 25, 2022 at 1:39 pm

    Hi, Cindy,

    I love this new art quilt style – its simplicity, the contrast in colors.

    I will check to see if you are offering a course in this.

    • Cindy on May 25, 2022 at 1:52 pm

      Thank you very much, Elaine! I’m not teaching this idea yet–I need to get the process nailed down in my mind first.