Urban Inspiration for the Modern Quilter

In the midst of Minneapolis summer I find that quilting and sewing take a back seat to other activities like gardening, camping, and spending as much time outdoors as possible. This week I thought I would work on the design side of quilting to have some plans and ideas ready for next fall and the long, cold winter. My first instinct when deciding on a quilt or pattern is to look at books and the internet. We all know how much time can be spent searching Pinterest and our favorite blogs to see what others are making but lately I have been taking a different approach for palette and design inspiration.

When the modern quilting movement is described a word that gets thrown around a lot is 'urban' and as I live in the most urban part of Minnesota I strapped on my trusty Canon G10 camera and set out on my bike to see what I could find. Surprisingly I found plenty of quilty inspiration just on my ride to work and back. Here are a few examples:

Some nice color blocking on my restaurant...
...and up the street.

Great pavement markings on the bike path. 
I love this color block on the door.

How about this wonky swirl for a quilting design?

This graffiti mural is a modern take on a traditional Native American motif.  It is also ready made for a quilt block.

And speaking of graffiti, that reminds me of some of my favorite urban design photos: Buff marks. The term 'buffing' is used to describe painting over or covering up any unwanted graffiti and it is frequently done in a paint that doesn't quite match, resulting in artistic layering of blocks of neutrals. While we all pass by this sort of thing regularly, once it is framed in a camera or phone snapshot it becomes a subtle design sketch reminiscent of a minimal modern quilt or quick composition idea for a modern quilt back.

And here are a few photos of palette ideas. The plate stack reminds me of Aneela Hoey's fabrics.

Jamie's bird rides on his bike!
And here is a photo of my coworker's bird because I thought it was a neat shot. 

My conclusion is that there are fresh, original design ideas all around me and I need to get outside more and seek them out instead of staring at a computer screen all summer. Thanks for following along!

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