Just over a year ago I came across and pinned this image, and my heart leapt. It's an image of an art installation by New York artist Jacob Hashimoto titled "Silence Still Gverns Our Consciousness". You can see more images of this amazing installation at his website.
I love this installation - the sheer scale and geometry of shape and repetition of shape, the interludes of colour, and the fine strings of black line which tie it all together, literally. The perspective and scale of each installation is fabulous - immersion in views and vignettes which change with every slight angle change. To say that this image, and this piece of art, has had an impact on me, is doing it a great disservice. I have thought about this for over a year. I have lived and breathed it in my head. I have dissected it. I have worried about whether what I have done degrades the original in some way, trivialises it, or whether it becomes an insult to the original artist, and the time and bravado that oozes out of the artists soul. There is something wonderful about the abstracted landscape of paper and timber kites which flow and float through the air which I desperately wanted to incorporate into a quilt.
I wanted that free flowing spirit of white on white, whispered with discs of bright patterned colour and thin black and grey lines for a bed, for Pia's bed. I wanted that landscape to fill her dreams with ethereal fields of flowers, and for the light in the day to reflect off the whiteness and fill her world with pure light. I wanted something playful, yet deliberate and carefully constructed. I wanted lightness and I wanted depth, all at the same time.
I took that image, and I abstracted it down to a simple series of ellipses and circles connected with fine lines. I took that sketch, and I created a Cad drawing, which was then PDF'd and tiled into A4 sheets that I could print off and use as my pattern template. I gathered fabrics ... what started out as an excercise in using up stash, went a bit off the rails as I found more and more fabrics to add. The white backgrounds and the white cloud ellipses that float through the centre of the quilt [barely seen in the photographs] mainly came from Tessuti - a mixture of plain white cotton and textured cottons with small dots either printed or raised to give some visual and physical texture. Then there is an assortment of Liberty fabrics from my stash, japanese fabrics from stash, cottons from stash, and the same again for all three from Calico and Ivy. Both Colette at Tessuti and Sarah at Calico and Ivy have been involved in the quilt, watching its progress over the last year as circles were cut and sewn together, ellipses sewn, and finally the whole thing pieced together and hung up on a wall at craft camp to see how it all looked. It's been a lot of work - each of the circles is hand sewn to each other, the front base is pieced together in sections with vertical seamed piecework within each panel, then each row of circles and ellipses is hand sewn to the front. Fine black and dark grey sashiko embroidery lines pick up some of the vertical seams to anchor the circles, and give a small amount of quilting to the piece. The back is plain white cotton, and it is bound with the same white cotton.
She's been watching me, peering over my shoulder when I've been working on it, knowing it is for her, and knowing that means it's special. She has delighted in finding each circle, and there has been moans when sections didn't have enough pink, but on the whole, I think the colours are fresh and girly, without a need for obtuse girlishness, butterflies or fairies.This quilt is now dictating how I decorate her room, and I love the cohesion that brings to her space. I love the mini kewpie dolls. And the deer. And her beloved Le Train Fantome dolls. I love that her brother took his job of holding up one side of the quilt so seriously. And I love how she snuggles in it.
It also secretly feeds my love of circles.