Not everyone can draw but almost everyone can write—and that’s what piqued my interest in The Art of Whimsical Lettering by Joanne Sharpe for Interweave/F+W.
At first glance you may think the book isn’t related to quiltmaking, but wait! It is! I could hardly contain my excitement when I realized that whimsical lettering is perfect for quilt labels.
The Art of Whimsical Lettering is for anyone who can physically write.
If you can make the alphabet, you can create interesting, artistic and totally unique letters that can be used however you like. For quilters, the first thing that comes to mind is quilt labels, but there are other applications, too.
You don’t have to be a serious artist to do this, although serious artists will find it fascinating. And everyone will find Joanne’s relaxed teaching style engaging and easy to follow.
I tried one of the simplest ideas in the book, first on paper. This was done with no practice at all—think how great it could look if I practiced! You can see that I was working in a sketchbook but just about anything with substantial paper will do.
From there I decided to try it some lettering on fabric. I ironed solid white cotton to freezer paper and worked on a hard surface. I used dual-tip Tulip fabric markers I purchased on Amazon (because I live in a rural area). The word “Ryann” on fabric above is quite large, about 3″ tall.
I decided to work smaller, more like an actual quilt label would be. I learned some things on this one that’s about 3″ x 3.5″. I’d make the word “great” smaller and make the word “aunt” larger, because it’s more important.
I’m going to reread some of the sections in The Art of Whimsical Lettering to learn how to make a greater variety of letters. And I’m going to practice, practice, practice.
I wanted to see how it would look made into a label. I added fabric strips around the edges and made it into a label using my Quick Quilt Label method. If it was for real, it would be ready to add to my quilt.
I have just scratched the surface of what is possible with artistic writing on quilts. I think it would be fun to make a bunch of quilt blocks that are just my whimsically lettered thoughts, or quotes, or favorite verses, filled in and around with artful doodles and decoration.
The piecing between the blocks could accent them or add additional color or be wonky and improvisational or…the possibilities are endless.
One other important thing about the book: It’s wonderfully affirming for anyone who wants to learn a new art or craft. There’s no room for self-deprecation—take this statement as an example:
“Know that each brave attempt in any stage of a creative learning process is a perfect result in your learning curve.”
Isn’t that empowering?!
I recommend Joanne Sharpe’s The Art of Whimsical Lettering from Interweave/F+W. You’ll find ways to use it for quiltmaking and you’ll stretch your creative boundaries as you explore making beautiful, whimsical letters of all sorts.