Design and the Creative Process - Regina Marzlin

SAQA Seminar (Artist Q&A)


Tell us about your artwork and artistic career.

I took up traditional quilting after moving to Canada 15 years ago, but quickly started to do my own designs. My designs tend to be collage style, simple piecing with a mix of commercial fabrics and hand dyed or surface designed fabrics. My style is mostly abstract with some recognizable content like certain symbols and shapes that I keep incorporating. I have been selling and exhibiting my work for 13 years. SAQA helped a lot on this road, I was juried a JAM in 2011 and feel that I have found my own niche where I feel happy with my work. I keep learning and evolving, it’s an exciting journey!

Ascending by Regina Marzlin


How would you describe your process? Do you plan ahead or work more freely?

I often work to a given prompt or theme for art groups or exhibitions, so there is a certain amount of planning involved to realize my interpretation of that theme. I also work on my own series. These pieces evolve more freely and spontaneously, without so much preplanning. There is more experimenting and “what if” with those pieces.  

Unfolding Story by Regina Marzlin


Which stage in the creative process is the most challenging? Which comes most easily?

The planning and design stage is the more challenging part for me. Sometimes it helps to write down some words I associate with a given theme. Once I have an idea in my head the actual process of making the quilt can be very fast. Sometimes a quilt pops fully formed into my head, then I need to audition fabrics or make them first and finally get it all together and see if it really works. I don’t work from a sketch of the layout, it’s just all in my head.

Stepping Stones by Regina Marzlin


What role does editing or revision play in your process?

My design wall is an invaluable tool to see if my ideas work. I decide where more is needed, decide on the technique I have to use to achieve that. Can it be done in the quilting stage? Does it need some surface design, a pop of a contrasting colour? The vision that I had in my head is sometimes executed very accurately, other times it doesn’t work as well as I thought it would, and then I need to revisit the concept and make adjustments.

A Rare Bird by Regina Marzlin


Is there a particular question you ask yourself or an idea that you keep in mind when you are focusing on the visual design of an art quilt?

The question is always “Is it interesting to look at?” I do want the piece to convey a meaning, too, but if the design is boring and can’t hold the viewer’s interest long enough I won’t have the chance to get any message across. That’s why I pay attention to design principles like having a focus point, using repetition, look for balance and so forth.




Regina Marzlin is an award winning fibre artist and quilter. She started to make traditional quilts in 2003 after moving from Germany to Canada, but quickly moved towards designing her own art pieces. Most of her pieces are decorative wall hangings which are non-traditional textile collages, often inspired by nature, mainly abstract and colorful.

She enjoys working with hand dyed fabrics which are further altered by painting, printing and other surface techniques such as discharging and resist processes and photo transfer. The texture of different fabrics, the interplay between colours, the build-up of layers as well as hand- and machine-quilting are important design elements.
Regina exhibits her work locally, nationally and internationally.


This is a member exclusive page. To see all member exclusive content, join and become a SAQA member today or log in to your member account.