Workshop: Sandra Bruce



ß “Summertime”, by Sandra Bruce, 38″ by 40″


Back by popular demand  is my technique, Material Matrix. In this workshop, you will be working on a photograph of your choosing, which I will grid for you ahead of time. After receiving the gridded photo back from me, you will use the photo to select the fabrics  you will need to produce the quilt. I will be happy to help you “audition” possible photos by email. If you have taken a workshop from me before, you may bring an existing Matrix project to work on. If you have taken a workshop from me before and are ready to tackle a more challenging photo this is a great opportunity to do so. If you are new to Matrix, I ask that you to pick a photo that contains an inanimate object, no faces. An animal face would be the only exception, although it needs to be a very simple composition. I would prefer that you start with something that will allow you to get used to the technique and give you success. Then you can go on to another more challenging subject. You are welcome to use any of the 3 samples that I teach for this workshop: Sew Ready, Wake Up Cup, or Junior Cardinal (see my website under “teaching” for photos of these). In general, what makes a good image for the Matrix technique? A good composition, variety in colors and values, a focal object, not too much detail, and above all, a photo that is sharp and in focus.

Here’s a couple of student examples, from Paula and Marti who came to Zephyr in 2016:

The supply list for this workshop is pretty simple. About fabric: I encourage you to bring as many pieces of fabric as your suitcase will allow. You want variety, not necessarily quantity. It is fine to have quarter yard cuts, fat quarters, eighths and even scraps. Look at your photo carefully and bring as wide a range of fabrics as you can. This means solids, prints, stripes, and batiks, even polka-dots. Pay attention to values. Look at my Matrix quilts (on and notice the fabrics that I have used. We will have Fabric Chicks on site at Zephyr for one day selling fabric in case you need something, but please be as thorough as you can beforehand in loading your fabric bin for the workshop. Here’s the supply list:


  1. Sewing machine in good working order, with a 1/4″ foot
  2. Rotary mat and cutter, with a sharp blade
  3. Omnigrid ruler for cutting  (my favorite size is 2-1/2″ by 12-1/2″)
  4. Your gridded photo
  5. A neutral thread, 50 weight is best
  6. Sewing kit with the usual tools: scissors, seam ripper, pins, etc.
  7. A stack of 3″ Post-Its
  8. Pens or pencils for marking light AND dark fabrics
  9. Paper and pen for taking notes
  10. Your fabric

Cheri came to Zephyr and started this beautiful piece, when she finished it and came back to Zephyr for another workshop she brought her finished top.

I hope you are inspired to take my workshop. Please contact me if you have any questions!