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Sunday sketch #19

Something a bit different this week. I toyed with this square unit when playing around with half-rectangle triangles awhile back, then finally decided to alternate its orientation and colour to produce a more interesting design.


I realised when shading in this pattern that there are stars (or maybe pinwheels) hidden at the juncture between 4 squares. I coloured the same pattern in a slightly different way to reveal them (I should have used 2 colours with more contrast, but hopefully you get the idea):


Can you see them? The stars/pinwheels in blue point clockwise, whereas the ones in black point counter-clockwise. The white diamonds and triangles then become the whitespace in the pattern, rather than the focal point.

I love how a single quilt pattern can look so different depending on the colour (or fabrics) you use.

I would probably make this pattern using half-rectangle triangles, but you could also do it as elongated (4:1) flying geese (although I don’t think Bloc Loc do a ruler for that!). If you wanted to feature a single piece of fabric in the large diamond shape (i.e. not 4 half-rectangles), you could piece or paper-piece that unit by modifying the square-in-a-square technique.

Inspiration: Ai Weiwei and Lego

I went to see Archie Roach at the Melbourne Recital Centre on Saturday night. The gig was fantastic. Archie played songs from his forthcoming album, Let LOVE Rule, some of which were accompanied by the Dhungala Childrens Choir and members of the Short Black Opera.

The backdrop to the stage was a huge projection of this pixelated image of Archie (which also graces the cover of his new album).


I hate to admit it, but I spent a large portion of the gig staring up at this image and figuring out how big a finished quilt would be if each pixel were a 1″ square (answer: pretty big).

Afterwards, when trying to track down the image online, I discovered that the portrait was part of the Letgo Room, created by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei as part of the Andy Warhol / Ai Weiwei exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria in late 2015 / early 2016. Archie Roach was one of 20 Australians depicted, whom Ai chose because of their activism or advocacy for human rights and free speech.

Ai’s initial aim was to create the work using Lego®, but the Danish manufacturer refused to fulfil a bulk order of the plastic building bricks if their use was for political purposes (it’s since reversed that policy). Australians donated their spare Lego in droves, but it’s not clear if Ai used these bricks or imitation bricks to complete his work.

I’ve always been a fan of pixelated imagery – all the way back to my high-school art class, when I translated a photo from a magazine ad into a hand-shaded, ~A0-sized pixelated image (inspired by this 1985 movie poster… yep, I was in high school in the 80s). It’s probably not so surprising that I’ve found another art form (or craft form) that relies on the same straight lines and gridwork.



Sunday sketch #11

A common theme to my designs is the repetition of simple shapes. Here, an isosceles triangle lying at an angle within a square.


The design could be coloured to reveal the alternating bow-ties or each group of 4 triangles arranged in a square formation (which are easiest to spot in the top left or bottom right of the frame).

The same shape arranged randomly produces a completely different effect.


I’m not sure which one I prefer! I’m a big fan of regularity and consistency, but I also like the ‘ordered chaos’ that arises when a single unit is arranged in unexpected ways.

Each unit could be constructed from an isosceles triangle, 2 half-rectangle triangles (for the sides) and a half-square triangle (for the base). But in the interests of precision (second only to my love of consistency), I think I’d go for paper piecing.