I've come to rely heavily on the internet for design inspiration, and for photos to mix and match for sketching purposes. So all of these sketches were done by clipping bits of artwork from many sources and manipulating them in Adobe Illustrator. I often used the pen tool to draw shapes over the photos and re-color so I could imagine the actual color scheme I was planning to use in the quilt.
My first thought was to combine symbols of the bride's and groom's careers. The groom is studying to become an osteopathic physician. The bride is an oboist. I thought about making an osteopathic caduceus with the snake entwined about an oboe:
Somehow, I just couldn't warm up to this image, or to the thought of the detailing required in all the keys on the oboe.
So next, I thought about using state blocks to represent their history so far - NY, IL, MO, and OH. As a setting, I thought about a baby quilt I made several years ago for the child of two musicians that included the music for Ode to Joy. I made two versions of that, both of which seemed too awkward and unbalanced:
So I dropped the Ode to Joy idea, and tried state blocks plus double wedding ring. For the first try I left out MO because they didn't spend much time there, but I also left out IL (must've been working late at night).
For the next attempts, I stuck in the IL oak leaf instead of the "official" IL block because I like it better. But the design was still not entirely pleasing to me:
This one I nixed because the corner blocks didn't balance each other well at all:
So..... the whole plan got bigger and more complex.
This one I nixed because the oak leaf blocks came too far forward and overshadowed the rest:
Then I tried using the NY sunbursts as a sort of border:
And I tried it with a sky blue background, and two different renditions of the double wedding ring. I decided that the chain version made too many X's alongside the oak leaves, kind of makes my eyes buzz. The circle version is much easier to look at:
These were alright, but my family was unanimous in saying they didn't like so much spikiness around the edges. And truly, spikiness is not a good way to start a marriage!
Then I got the notion to try the center part on point. This is the design that eventually won out:
I also tried it this way, but felt that there was too much blank space at the edges. Having the sunbursts at the corners gave the whole thing more of a sense of being bordered. A marriage should have an anchor and not fade off into emptiness.
I decided to reduce the spikiness by using blue rather than white as the background color for the NY Beauty sunbursts. But then, when I pinned them on to appliqué them down, I found that they were too quiet. So I added the white edging:
So it was not a smooth road, but hopefully I've symbolically worked out all the bumps for this young couple, and their life ahead will be full of wonder and joy.