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Bricks, stones, facades and patina

Facades

facades as inspiration for art by doris lovadina-lee

Patina

marble wall inspiration for design by doris lovadina-lee

venetian calle texture on crumbling wallBricks

brick wall in rome italy

brick wall in rome italy photo taken by doris lovaidina-lee

honeycomb wall in roma, italia

Stones

texture of stone wall for quilting inspiration

urn and stone wall in italy

These photographs were taken on a trip to Italy a few years ago. I don’t often look back at photos, even though I always think I will do just that. Time gives me an opportunity to view the photos, with a fresh perspective.

Peeling stucco wall in Italy as design inspiration by dorislovadinalee

This of selection photographs from Rome, Venice, and Pompeii have a common theme. They are mostly monochromatic so that the texture is evident. Even the facade of the wall in Venice is various shades of a beautiful terracotta that has faded in places to a soft peach.

How often do you go back to your vacation photos and look at what you decided to record? You might be surprised at what your photographs reveal!

 

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Glimpses of Italy 2017

A few of the photographs I took during my recent trip to Italy, are glimpses of the beautiful landscape. Archways, windows, pillars, stones and trees frame vistas.

Sirmione, Italy – Garda Lake District

Sirmione, Italy
Lake Garda from the Grotto of Catullus, Sirmione, Italy
Sirmione, Italy
View from the battlements of Scaligero Castle, Sirmione, Italy
Sirmione, Italy
View through an olive tree on the grounds of the Grotto of Catullus

Venice, Italy – Rialto Bridge

Venice, Italy
Rialto Bridge through an archway, Venice, Italy

Treviso, Italy – Historic City Centre

The Sile River through an archway in Treviso, italy
The Sile River through an archway in Treviso, italy

Verona, Italy – Giusti Gardens

Verona, Italy
Entrance to the Giusti Gardens, Verona Italy
Verona, Italy
View through the central avenue of trees Giusti Gardens, Verona, Italy
Verona, Italy
View from the belvedere Giusti Gardens, Verona Italy
Verona, Italy
Cypress tree, Giusti Gardens, Verona, Italy
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Aga Khan Museum

A friend and I visited the Aga Khan Museum this weekend. A very knowledgeable and enthusiastic docent began our visit with an introduction on the design of the building by architect: Fumihiko Maki. He was given the theme of light as his inspiration. An interior courtyard brings light into the center of the building and provides a lovely outdoor space in warm weather.

Leaf from a Qur'an Manuscript North Africa, 9th-10th centuries ink and gold on blue-dyed vellum
Leaf from a Qur’an Manuscript
North Africa, 9th-10th centuries
ink and gold on blue-dyed vellum

Artifacts that are centuries old have colours, textures and designs that seem modern and timeless.

Oculus Syria, Late 12th-early 13th century Fritware, molded and glazed
Oculus
Syria, Late 12th-early 13th century
Fritware, molded and glazed

The museum’s collection of pottery, glass, metalwork, and calligraphy is a source of inspiration.

Bottle Probably Iran, 9th-10th centuries Glass, wheel-cut
Bottle
Probably Iran, 9th-10th centuries
Glass, wheel-cut

The mosaic tiles in the fountain can be translated directly into quilt blocks.

Fountain Syria, 16th century and later Marble and sandstone mosaic
Fountain
Syria, 16th century and later
Marble and sandstone mosaic

Turquoise, blue, and gold colours found in the pottery, are some of my favourites and I imagine them in a project.

Muqarnas (Squinch) Elements probably Samarquand, Uzbekistan, late 14th-early 15th centuries Fritware, carved and glazed
Muqarnas (Squinch) Elements
probably Samarquand, Uzbekistan, late 14th-early 15th centuries
Fritware, carved and glazed
Muqarnas (Squinch) Elements probably Samarquand, Uzbekistan, late 14th-early 15th centuries Fritware, carved and glazed
Muqarnas (Squinch) Elements – detail

More designs that can be directly translated into quilt blocks. Also Ideas for arranging the blocks in various configurations.

Box Spain 16th century Wood inlaid with bone, wood and mother-of-pearl
Chest
Spain 16th century
Wood inlaid with bone, wood and mother-of-pearl
Candlestick Anatolia, Turkey, 14th century' Copper, tin, and zinc alloy, inlaid with silver and gold
Candlestick
Anatolia, Turkey, 14th century’
Copper, tin, and zinc alloy, inlaid with silver and gold

The circular design in the candlestick above reminds me of the New York Beauty block. I can imagine this block on a solid background and heavily quilted with angular lines like in the background above.

Bowl Nishapur, Iran, 10th century Earthenware, slip-painted and glazed
Bowl
Nishapur, Iran, 10th century
Earthenware, slip-painted and glazed

Two dishes in the collection look very modern. I loved the simplicity and elegance of the designs. More information for both of these pieces and many others are available on the museum website in the Collection Highlights tab.

Bowl Nishapur, Iran, early 11th century Earthenware, slip-painted and glazed
Bowl
Nishapur, Iran, early 11th century
Earthenware, slip-painted and glazed
Flying Carpet, 2007 by Farhad Moshiri b. 1963, lives and works in Tehran and Paris 32 stacked macine-made carpets
Flying Carpet, 2007 by
Farhad Moshiri
b. 1963, lives and works in Tehran and Paris
32 stacked macine-made carpets

Although the Aga Khan Museum features historical cultural artifacts from Islamic civilizations, it also features contemporary artwork. The piece above: Flying Carpet by Farhad Moshiri is a stack of 32 machine-made carpets that has a fighter plane cut out of the centre. The artist, Moshiri, was inspired by a documentary on Afghan carpet weavers. They had been incorporating modern technologies into the design of the carpets – planes, drones and other military armaments.

Flying Carpet, 2007 by Farhad Moshiri b. 1963, lives and works inTehran and Paris 32 stacked macine-made carpets
Flying Carpet – overhead view by Farhad Moshiri

Another special exhibit on display until March 26, 2017 is Syria: A Living History. This exhibit contains historical artifacts and contemporary artwork illustrating the diverse culture and history of Syria. Unfortunately, photography was not allowed in this exhibit, so you will have to visit the museum to see the collections in person. The grounds around the museum are also worth visiting – I will need to return in the spring when the weather is a bit warmer!

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Look up – Ceilings as Inspiration

We don’t often walk around looking up to see what is above our heads. If we looked up more often we would see some beautiful and inspirational ceilings.

Ceilings as inspiration for:

  • applique
  • shapes
  • blocks
  • block settings
  • quilting designs
  • colour palettes
  • textures
  • layouts
Casa Loma, Toronto, Ontario, cupola made with stained glass
Stained glass cupola in Casa Loma
Cupola design of Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral, Montréal
Cupola in Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral, Montréal
painted medallion in Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral, Montréal
Medallion in Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral, Montréal
ceiling squares in the Cathedral: Mary, Queen of the World, Montréal
Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral, Montréal
detail of wood ceiling in Notre-Dame de Montréal
Wooden ceiling in Notre-Dame de Montréal
stencilled and painted wood detail from Notre-Dame de Montréal church ceiling
Wooden ceiling detail in Notre-Dame de Montréal
Stenciled ceiling designs in Notre-Dame de Montréal church
Wooden ceiling in Notre-Dame de Montréal
Wood ceiling panels hand painted in Notre-Dame de Montréal
Painted wooden ceiling in Notre-Dame de Montréal
Notre-Dame de Montréal painted square wood panels
Painted wooden ceiling in Notre-Dame de Montréal
Notre-Dame cathedral in Montréal's diamond shaped woo ceiling
Wooden ceiling in Notre-Dame de Montréal
underneath walkway with metal supports and planks
Wood ceiling

I love the colour and texture of this ceiling. It is the underside of an outdoor warehouse structure in the Port of Old Montreal.

Montreal Marriott Chateau Champlain domed ceiling in hallway
Ceiling of Montreal Marriott Chateau Champlain

So, look up! You never know when something will spark an idea for your next project.

 

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Vacation inspirations

Many of us have hundreds of photographs taken during our vacations. Digital cameras have made it easy to take and store images. How often do you go back and look at them?

cement tiles in turquoise, brown and white on floor in Mexico
Mayan Riviera tile

Looking through holiday pictures can stimulate creativity. Look closely and see what design ideas are hiding in plain sight.

ceiling trusses of the palapa in the Mayan Riviera, Mexico

Patterns on tiles, floors and ceilings can inspire quilt blocks or quilting designs.

turquoise glaze on a ceramic jar in lobby of hotel in the Mayan Riviera
Mayan Riviera jar

The patina and colours found in pottery and nature can inspire unique colour palettes and applique shapes.

veins of a leaf of a tropical plant in mexico
Mayan Riviera leaf

The texture of bark  can inspire a machine or hand quilting pattern.

bark of a tree trunk in Mexico
Mayan Riviera tree trunk
fossils embedded in walls of hotel in the Mayan Riviera
Mayan Riviera fossils

Look back at your vacation photographs, enjoy reminiscing and then take a closer look at all the designs that inspire your creativity!

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Indigo inspiration in tiles

Deborah Osburn is the founder of C a company that creates and showcases beautiful artisanal tiles. Her newest collection features Indigo. She dips, brushes, stains and washes tiles in Indigo pigments. They are all one-of-a-kind.

Watermark Indigo tiles by Deborah Osburn
Watermark Indigo tiles by Deborah Osburn

C features hand-painted tiles from nine artisans, herself included. Each artisan has their own unique style and look, from Forrest Lesch-Middleton’s tiles referencing traditional patterns to Peggy Wong’s urban photographs lithographed onto marble.

Tile Envy by Deborah Osburn
Tile Envy by Deborah Osburn

Deborah Osburn’s book: Tile Envy showcases the work of sixty artisans with stunning photographs of their work.

Indigo dip dyed tiles by Deborah Osburn
Indigo dip dyed tiles by Deborah Osburn

Have a look at Deborah’s blog: Tile Envy: Everything Tile + Style to see the many beautiful ideas for using tile, decorating, architecture ….

The inspirational photographs will have you digging into your stash to create some stunning new works!

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Inspiration from architecture

I have a fabric challenge that I signed up for and am committed to having a finished piece by the end of November. I had a couple of ideas for the quilt but I haven’t narrowed down the concept so that I can begin.

Stone window panel
Stone window panel

One of my ideas is to use the log cabin block, another is to base the quilt on architecture.

Mosaic floor
Mosaic floor

Looking back at some photos taken on vacation last year may provide the spark that I need.

Mosaic floor tiles
Mosaic floor tiles

Tumbling blocks, rail fence, hexagons, attic windows, these are just a few of the patterns I see.

Mosaic floor
Mosaic floor

Inspiration is all around us, we just have to look for it.

 

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Paper pieced scrap blocks

I love scraps!

As I am finishing up a project I will take the larger pieces left over, usually less than a quarter of a yard, and cut them into then largest size squares or strips possible. These all go into plastic scrap booking containers. I will go through these boxes (yes, I have more than one!) when I need a small amount of a certain colour, but generally, these scraps sit in their boxes for long periods of time.

paper-pieced blocks
paper-pieced scrap blocks before trimming

I started an improvised quilt top in the fall, which generated a fair bit of scraps. I loved the look of the colours and patterns together. So, I decided to use these scraps to create paper-pieced rectangles.

paper-pieced blocks
back of paper-pieced scrap blocks

I received a calendar in 2011 that was printed with a quilting pattern-a-day. I kept the calendar even though I knew I would never make any of the quilts. Each piece of paper is 6 1/2 inches by 4 3/4 inches. This was a good size to use up the scraps I was generating.

paper-pieced blocks
paper-pieced scrap blocks trimmed

I like using the paper-piecing process when working with scraps. Since many of the scraps are not on grain, using the paper stabilizes the block. The paper stays in the block until I have either stitched it to a piece that is on the straight of grain or into a complete top.

paper-pieced blocks
paper-pieced scrap blocks pressed and trimmed

The improvisationally pieced quilt top that started this process is now completed. It actually turned into 2 finished quilts. I have used all the calendar pages up to February 21st! and don’t have any scraps to deal with! I plan on using up more of the calendar for the scraps generated from my next quilting project.

I don’t know how I will join these rectangular blocks together yet. Maybe with sashing, or joined together. I will let them sit for a while.

Wishing you and your families a very Happy New Year for 2015!

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Inspiration – Whimsy Quilt

The Oxford English Dictionary defines Inspiration as:

  1. A breathing in or infusion of some idea, purpose, etc. into the mind; the suggestion, awakening, or creation of some feeling or impulse, esp. of an exalted kind

“inspiration, n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2014. Web. 13 October 2014.

This sketch drawn by my 7 year old niece was the inspiration for my Whimsy quilt.  I knew immediately that I would use it in a quilt. I loved the design, it was fun and playful. With a minimum of lines a flower was suggested by a spiral in a circle.  Triangle shapes became leaves. I loved the curlicues sprouting from the hearts, they were so whimsical.

Pollys sketch

The sketch suggested many design opportunities.  Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s book 15 Minutes of Play: Improvisational Quilts, gave me many ideas to use in making the quilt.

15 Minutes of Play: Improvisational Quilts by Victoria Findlay Wolfe
15 Minutes of Play: Improvisational Quilts by Victoria Findlay Wolfe

I had a lot of scraps and this book gave me the inspiration to use them. Sorting through the scrap bins (yes plural!), I separated my scraps into reds, greens, and black/white piles. Using Victoria’s instructions I began to create pieces of fabric in each colour way. I enjoyed the process of playing with scraps, creating new and interesting pieces to work with. Once I had the centre portion completed, I auditioned fabric for the background. I had an idea of what fabric I wanted, but my first few choices didn’t really work.

Whimsy detail background 5 Whimsy detail background 4 Whimsy detail background 3 Whimsy detail background 2 Whimsy detail background 1

Some of the background fabrics were too close in colour to some of the elements and they disappeared into the background. Some fabrics overpowered the design. In the end I found a polka dot piece that seemed just right. It was colourful but with a white background, the centre portion stood out.

Whimsy by Doris Lovadina-Lee
Whimsy by Doris Lovadina-Lee

I added more black and white pieces in each of the corners and bound it in black. The entire quilt was free motion quilted. I really like this quilt, it is a different look for me. It was challenging to work outside of my comfort zone.

The original sketch is still pinned to my design wall and inspiring me. There are more ideas to extract from this sketch: more creativity, more quilts!