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.
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!
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.
Artifacts that are centuries old have colours, textures and designs that seem modern and timeless.
The museum’s collection of pottery, glass, metalwork, and calligraphy is a source of inspiration.
The mosaic tiles in the fountain can be translated directly into quilt blocks.
Turquoise, blue, and gold colours found in the pottery, are some of my favourites and I imagine them in a project.
More designs that can be directly translated into quilt blocks. Also Ideas for arranging the blocks in various configurations.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Deborah Osburn is the founder of Clé 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.
Clé 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.
Deborah Osburn’s book: Tile Envy showcases the work of sixty artisans with stunning photographs of their work.
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.
One of my ideas is to use the log cabin block, another is to base the quilt on architecture.
Looking back at some photos taken on vacation last year may provide the spark that I need.
Tumbling blocks, rail fence, hexagons, attic windows, these are just a few of the patterns I see.
Inspiration is all around us, we just have to look for it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
The Oxford English Dictionary defines Inspiration as:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!