Tag Archives: inspiration

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

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!

Fibre Content 2016 – a Canadian fibre art exhibition

If you have love art and textiles, make your way to the Art Gallery of Burlington for the third biennial fibre art show: Fibre Content 2016. The juried exhibit is on from September 8-18, 2016 and showcases outstanding Canadian artists.

Royal Thistle by Helena Scheffer and Marion Perrault, Montreal, QC

Royal Thistle by Helena Scheffer and Marion Perrault, Montreal, QC

l attended the opening reception on Sunday, September 11th with my friend Helen (@piece_by_piece) and her proud mother Barbara. Helen’s piece: Seaton Trail was hung in the gallery space where it could be seen from the entrance.

Seaton Trail by Helen Garland, Toronto, ON

Seaton Trail by Helen Garland, Toronto, ON

Yesterday's News by Dianne Gibson, Fonthill, ON

Yesterday’s News by Dianne Gibson, Fonthill, ON

Falling Leaves by Anne Solomon, Etobicoke, ON

Falling Leaves by Anne Solomon, Etobicoke, ON

Off the Rails by Valerie Prideaux, Toronto, ON

Off the Rails by Valerie Prideaux, Toronto, ON

Maid of the Mist by Jennifer Earle, Burlington, ON

Maid of the Mist by Jennifer Earle, Burlington, ON

I met and spoke to  Jennifer Earle who wove, embroidered and beaded the beautiful shawl above. The details are stunning!

Maid of the Mist (Detail) by Jennifer Earle, Burlington, ON

Maid of the Mist (Detail) by Jennifer Earle, Burlington, ON

Jennifer also created the hanger out of copper tubing to display her entry.

Refuge by Bethany E. Garner, Elinburg ON

Refuge by Bethany E. Garner, Elinburg ON

The Way I See Myself by Sharon Deacon Begg, Guelph, ON

The Way I See Myself by Sharon Deacon Begg, Guelph, ON

This was the first time I had ever attended and so happy to see the amazing works on display. There were 125 pieces on display in 2 gallery rooms. The three jurors chose these from the 218 submissions from 102 artists.

Sunrise at Plum by Micaela Fitzsimmons, Mitchell, ON

Sunrise at Plum by Micaela Fitzsimmons, Mitchell, ON

Ocean by Pat Hertzberg, Caledon, ON

Ocean by Pat Hertzberg, Caledon, ON

I spoke to Pat Hertzberg, a textile and mixed-media artist who recently moved and how this change has influenced her artwork. Her artwork conveys a lightness and transparency that is beautiful.

Stitch Meanderings by Linda Kittmer, Rockwood, ON

Stitch Meanderings by Linda Kittmer, Rockwood, ON

Out of the Shadows by Helen Hughes, Guelph, ON

Out of the Shadows by Helen Hughes, Guelph, ON

The Gingko Tree by Cecelia Cameron, Susan Durham, Shirley Kilpatrick and Patricia Menon, Fonthill, ON

The Gingko Tree by Cecelia Cameron, Susan Durham, Shirley Kilpatrick and Patricia Menon, Fonthill, ON

The Gingko Tree (detail) by Cecelia Cameron, Susan Durham, Shirley Kilpatrick and Patricia Menon, Fonthill, ON

The Gingko Tree (detail) by Cecelia Cameron, Susan Durham, Shirley Kilpatrick and Patricia Menon, Fonthill, ON

Floating in Blue - Triptych by Gunnel Hag, Toronto, ON

Floating in Blue – Triptych by Gunnel Hag, Toronto, ON

This triptych of floating feathers made by Gunnel Hag captured their effortless flight. She had originally displayed it horizontally, but after seeing it hung vertically, Gunnel thought it might even flow better.

Poppies Aglow II by Carolynn McMillan, Burlington, ON

Poppies Aglow II by Carolynn McMillan, Burlington, ON

A Green Thought in a Green Shade by Carolynn McMillan, Burlington, ON

A Green Thought in a Green Shade by Carolynn McMillan, Burlington, ON

Mita Giacomini co-ordinator of the Interactive Display Area

Mita Giacomini co-ordinator of the Interactive Display Area

Mita Giacomini was one of the very talented fibre artist who had 2 pieces in the show as well as coordinating the interactive exhibit. Here she is in front of the board that shows how she creates her work.

Cross Road by Mita Giacomini, Dundas, ON

Cross Road by Mita Giacomini, Dundas, ON

She calls the technique she developed “surface weaving.” She described the process and had the sample to illustrate the steps involved. Mita also has information on her website as well as photographs of her other pieces in this series: Overhead Underfoot.

Brighter Path by Mita Giacomini, Dundas, ON

Brighter Path by Mita Giacomini, Dundas, ON

A feature of the show is the series of Artist Talks given by three fibre artists. These one hour talks are free of charge and open to everyone. The first talk was given by Dianne Gibson on Saturday, but you still have time to hear: Maggie Vanderweit on Wed. Sept. 14th from 10 -11 am and Mita Giacomini on Sun Sep 18th from 1-2  pm.

Camden Town #2 by Heather Dubreuil, Hudson, QC

Camden Town #2 by Heather Dubreuil, Hudson, QC

Port Clyde 3 by Heather Dubreuil, Hudson, QC

Port Clyde 3 by Heather Dubreuil, Hudson, QC

Rue du Buade #1 by Heather Dubreuil, Hudson, QC

Rue du Buade #1 by Heather Dubreuil, Hudson, QC

The photographs I took are just a small sampling of the beautiful work presented in the Fibre Content show. I hope you have the opportunity to see the outstanding art in person. Fibrations is the not-for-profit organization that organizes Fibre Content. All of the artwork in this show will be featured on the Web gallery, where information for the past two shows: 2012 and 2014  can be found.

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
Stained glass cupola in Casa Loma

Stained glass cupola in Casa Loma

Cupola in Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral, Montréal

Cupola in Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral, Montréal

Medallion in Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral, Montréal

Medallion in Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral, Montréal

Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral, Montréal

Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral, Montréal

Wooden ceiling in Notre-Dame de Montréal

Wooden ceiling in Notre-Dame de Montréal

Wooden ceiling detail in Notre-Dame de Montréal

Wooden ceiling detail in Notre-Dame de Montréal

Wooden ceiling in Notre-Dame de Montréal

Wooden ceiling in Notre-Dame de Montréal

Painted wooden ceiling in Notre-Dame de Montréal

Painted wooden ceiling in Notre-Dame de Montréal

Painted wooden ceiling in Notre-Dame de Montréal

Painted wooden ceiling in Notre-Dame de Montréal

Wooden ceiling in Notre-Dame de Montréal

Wooden ceiling in Notre-Dame de Montréal

Wood ceiling

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.

Ceiling of Montreal Marriott Chateau Champlain

Ceiling of Montreal Marriott Chateau Champlain

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

 

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?

Mayan Riviera tile

Mayan Riviera tile

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

Mayan Riviera tree ceilingMayan Riviera wooden ceiling

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

Mayan Riviera jar

Mayan Riviera jar

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

Mayan Riviera leaf

Mayan Riviera leaf

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

Mayan Riviera tree trunk

Mayan Riviera tree trunk

Mayan Riviera fossils

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!

Fuchsias – a flower quilt!

I took the photograph of the fuchsias a couple of years ago with the idea of using them in a quilt design. I took a workshop taught by Helen Garland through the Yorkshire Rose Quilters’ Guild of Toronto based on Ruth McDowell’s art quilting techniques.

Fuchsias

Fuchsias

In the class we learned to how to draft a pattern from our own photograph using Ruth McDowell’s technique. Helen was an excellent teacher, explaining the concepts, design and sewing techniques that make Ruth’s quilts so original.

Fucshsia pattern

Fuchsia pattern

I’ve focused my design on three of the larger fuchsias and the three small buds on top. I’ve eliminated extraneous leaves and flowers to focus on the elements that I thought would make a good design.

Fuchsia patterns

Fuchsia patterns

You can see my original design and the enlarged copy. The finished piece will be about 48″ x 56″. I am excited to be trying Ruth’s techniques. She has written a few books explaining her design and piecing techniques. The books are available on her website. The next logical step is to trace the design onto freezer paper. But, my next step is to pull fabrics from my stash – I can’t wait!

 

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.

 

Not Quite President’s Challenge Winner!

I’ve been planning the quilt for The Not Quite President’s Challenge for a couple of months. This challenge quilt for the Toronto Modern Quilt Guild had me stumped. I discarded my original design idea: a Greek key design.

One of the sketches I drew had a diagonal line from the left side of the page creating a sort of perspective. I liked the idea of creating depth in the piece by using colours. If I divided the colours I had selected into light and dark I could maybe create this illusion. These ideas brought to mind a couple of quilts I saw at QuiltCon this past February.

Challenge sketch

Challenge sketch

Chawne Timber of Completely Cauchy  has created a series of log cabin style quilts based on her family history. In Anniston is a beautiful quilt that really captured my imagination when I saw it in person. Chawne used hand dyed indigo for the dark logs and various shades of cream for the light logs as well as some reds and green logs as accents. The placement of the light and dark logs emphasize the dark side of the log cabin. It really seemed to be in shadow.

TMQG challenge revised sketch

TMQG challenge revised sketch

Chawne’s pieces were very tiny, creating a lot of depth and movement. So, I thought that using the log cabin block would let me create the idea of depth and perspective. I did a rough sketch of the design above.

TMQG challenge top

TMQG challenge top

I wanted to vary the width of the logs and used both half inch and one inch finished logs. This quilt is not pieced in the traditionally method, rather I pieced sections of strips together and then attached these as a unit. I cut the navy solid and print in one inch finished strips to emphasize the idea of steps leading in towards the centre.

TMQG challenge detail

TMQG challenge detail

There is a tiny bit of green and coral the inspiration photograph. I used Jean Well’s technique of narrow insert piecing to add these bits of colour. I love the way they pop out of the dark blues.

TMQGchallengethread

Thread selections

Log cabin quilts symbolize hearth and home, security and stability. The centre is usually red to reflect the fireplace that was the centre of the home and the light logs represented the side of the home facing the sunshine, while the dark faced the shadow. My inspiration photo was a couple embracing in their bedroom with the closet in the background. Truly an intimate and safe place.

TMQG challenge quilt

TMQG challenge quilt

I decided to hand quilt this piece and auditioned a few different threads including a rayon perle and a variegated sulky.

TMQG quilt detail

TMQG quilt detail

In the end I hand quilted with the dark blue and white rayon perle thread. I really like the strong linear quality the stitches gives to the piece.

TMQG Not Quite President's Challenge Rosette

TMQG Not Quite President’s Challenge Rosette

I am happy to announce that this quilt was chosen as the winner of the Not Quite President’s Challenge. As well as the fabulous ribbon made by Becky, I received a one year membership to the Textile Museum of Canada!

 

Not Quite President’s Challenge

The Toronto Modern Quilt Guild does not officially have a president. Rather two of our members, Rebecca and Andrea are acting as co-presidents. They have been doing a fantastic job in organizing our growing guild. This year they decided to host the Not Quite President’s Challenge. All the members were given a magazine, told to go to page 25 (there were 25 members at that particular meeting) and use that page as inspiration to create a small quilt.

California Closets ad

California Closets ad

The ad pictured above was on page 25 of my magazine. Anything on this page could be used as inspiration: the colours, shapes, words, anything! The quilt could have a maximum perimeter of 60″ and could be made using any technique.

Greek key blocks

Greek key blocks

I was really attracted to the Greek Key design in the rug shown in the picture. I started to piece  this block using a warm rich brown and cream.  After spending a bit of time making what you see above, I decided I didn’t really like where the design was heading.

Quilt sketchs

Quilt sketchs

I sketched a few designs on a piece of paper and also wrote down some key words from the photo. The colours include: brown, navy, white, green and fuchsia. The designs include: greek key, piping, curved light (fixture), lines both horizontal in the rug and vertical in the hanging clothes and the two people. I wanted focus words to help me plan the quilt.

jean wells cover

Intuitive Color & Design: Adventures in Art Quilting by Jean Wells.

I remembered Jean Wells’ book: Intuitive Colour & Design and read it again for inspiration. The chapter: Color Through My Eyes was especially helpful in deciding on a palette of colours. One of the assignments in this chapter deals with proportion. In this assignment you: 1) choose a colour source for inspiration – the ad; 2) write down the colours from your inspiration – the sketch above; 3) give each of the colours a percentage rating so that you can see how much or little of that particular colour is represented; 4) go back to the inspiration and look again carefully, make note of any background or dull colours you may have missed the first time.

TMQG challenge fabric selection

Fabric selection

The photograph above shows the fabrics from I pulled from my stash. I don’t have them organized by proportion yet. After my initial selection I added the two light blue pieces. One of the design elements I really like from the photo is the crispness of the piping on the chair. I also like the fine narrow lines of the piping and the light fixture. I want to include these elements that Jean calls: narrow insert piecing.

White fabric selection

White fabric selection

I don’t have many solid white in my stash, but found these tone-on-tone whites. I don’t know if I will use them, I may add a few more or eliminate some fabrics as I begin to work.

 

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!