I tend to work in series. When something interests me enough to explore, one quilt is rarely enough to satisfy my curiosity; I keep wondering how it would look if I changed one aspect or another of whatever process I am engaged in. Sometimes other quilts elbow their way in (commissions, new class samples, timely gifts and so forth) and interrupt, so I may have to get back to my series at a later date. For this reason classifying quilts simply by date does not really work: I may pick up a new thread of something I was doing a year or more earlier. The quilts shown here have been divided into four categories, which to me are like families, with sub-categories for smaller groups within that family.
Single-fabric quilts using radiant symmetry to reduce a big print to the sum of its parts and reconfigure it as a dynamic abstract composition. Abstract Deconstructions Collection
My “Pieces of Eight” abstract quilts incorporate two distinct design phases: first the octagons are laid out, as I had done for years, but then kaleidoscopic corner squares from the same print are plugged into the interstices, a wonderful idea from Maxine Rosenthal’s book, One Block Wonders.
I had always avoided hexagons, preferring the slim delicacy of octagonal slices to the plumpness of 60-degree segments, but Maxine Rosenthal’s book One-Block Wonders opened my eyes to their design possibilities: nesting shapes eliminate square corners, freeing the quilt from the rigidity of the block.
Quilts using radiant symmetry and multiple fabrics in structured arrangements or blocks. Kaleidoscopic Configurations Collection
In 2002 I had just made my first quilt since the 80’s when I came across a series of American School of Needlework “Wacky Wizard” pamphlets by Linda Causee. Those blocks all used eight identical 45-degree wedges, diamonds or triangles to form blocks totally different both from one another and from the original fabric. This element of surprise strongly appealed to me as I had always used a design-as-you-construct approach in my pieced clothing, and I tried many of the blocks multiple times.
I started experimenting with half-rectangle triangles after reading Margaret J. Miller’s book Angle Play. Cutting identical patches for the star points gives a kaleidoscopic appearance, but in a new shape with right angles at the center.
Still fascinated by the ongoing revelation of the secret inner life of prints, I heard the siren song of batiks and other interesting fabrics while not ready to move on from formal kaleidoscopes. Judy Martin’s 2006 book Scraps inspired me to adapt two of her scrappy blocks, “Flower Child” and “Meteor Shower”, for kaleidoscopic piecing.
This technique was inspired by Ricky Tims’ book Kool Kaleidoscope Quilts, although I quickly changed the process to acquire greater creative control. Double sets of varying-width fabric strips are sewn together, and six pair of mirror-image segments are cut from each double strip-set.
Experiments in 21st century looks for traditional blocks. Playing with Blocks Collection
Exploring the effects obtainable by using just one block in non-traditional ways.
An Article by Claudia Olson in the July 2008 Quilters Newsletter and that magazine’s 2007 and 2008 Quilt It issues, “Two-Block Quilts” and “More Two-Block Quilts” demonstrated why traditional blocks are still around and inspired me to try some of their combinations.
Exercises in discipline for an intuitive colorist. Studies in Color Collection
These small quilts represent my attempt to color traditional blocks so as to create a mood. Since my efforts to retain color theory and terminology have always failed (apart from Roy G. Biv) I can only proceed by eye.