In the past week, I found myself with some unexpected sketching time – but no dot pad. Instead, I pulled out a Moleskine grid notebook. I don’t normally use grid paper to sketch anymore, because I find that the printed lines limit my imagination a bit. But in this case, it didn’t really matter, because I already had an idea for a design I wanted to explore.
I only had a red gel pen with me, so I just used four levels of shading to differentiate the pieces in each block. The blocks are set on point, but they could just as easily be swivelled 45 degrees to be set normally, with no need for partial blocks on the top, bottom and sides.
I mocked up the same design in EQ8 when I got a chance, but I don’t think it looks any better or clearer than the hand-drawn version. The only advantage is that I can colour it differently; this version is my homage to the new Pantone Color of the Year: Living Coral.
I also realised later that I’d oriented the blocks slightly differently, but I don’t think that matters so much.
This design could be made into a quilt pattern very easily using strips – lots and lots of strips!
I submitted my last magazine quilt earlier this year, and now it’s out in the latest issue of Love Patchwork & Quilting! I’m really pleased to present Stepping Stones.
I designed this quilt in Excel, which I find really easy for creating rectangle-based designs. Here’s the original design:
The design was inspired by Indian stepwells – massive, ancient stone wells in which the water is reached via hundreds of stone steps. This is the Chand Baori stepwell in Rajasthan, India:
Isn’t it beautiful? I’ve been fascinated by these structures for years.
This design is all rectangles – strips are pieced together in blocks, which are then pieced together in rows. The quilt top comes together really easily, and I quilted it in a simple grid pattern.
I used a mix of Cotton & Steel basics from the Netorious, Sprinkle and XOXO collections. I recreated the colour palette of my original design pretty closely, apart from adding that pop of mustard instead of the smoky grey. Because who can resist a pop of mustard?!
Issue 68 of Love Patchwork & Quilting is on sale from Thursday 28 November, in print and digital formats.
I’ve mentioned before that I find inspiration in a lot of different places. An obvious one is Instagram. I don’t just follow quilters; I follow painters and potters, sketchers and screenprinters, woodworkers and weavers. I also follow fellow art lovers who post images of artworks that inspire them. It’s a great way to see stuff that I wouldn’t otherwise find.
It was hashtagged #jodelahaut and #1953. So who’s Jo Delahaut?
Turns out he’s one of Belgium’s first abstract artists, and a key figure in the geometric abstraction movement. His profile on Artnet includes at least two untitled pieces using a similar concept and shapes: the one from 1953, and another one from 1954. Beautiful.
So anyway, back to the art: I couldn’t get one of the motifs – the one that looks half-rectangle, half-circle – out of my head, so I decided to play around with it a bit. I wanted to explore that shape, but also the idea of a single line tracing through a bunch of different shapes (a little like my Sound Maze pattern).
I started by recreating the half-rectangle, half-circle shape, in a more condensed form. I alternated the direction of the shapes to add a little more interest and movement.
These shapes look a bit like letters to me… ‘a’, ‘b’, ‘c’, ‘d’ and ‘e’ seem to pop out. Can you see them?
Then I changed the motif to circular on both sides, just to see what it looked like.
I can’t decide if I like it more or not! I do like those large (broken) rectangles that appear to float above the shapes though (in both designs).
Finally, I decided to try the other alternative: the version with all hard angles and no curves.
It’s funny how similar and yet how different the three designs are. And I still can’t tell which one I like the most!
I’m not sure how I’d translate these designs into actual quilt patterns. I like the idea of piecing the dark lines against a light background, but it would also be possible to appliqué strips if you were careful to keep everything lined up very straight.