Thursday, 1 December 2011

Quilt design inspirations - not always Japanese...!


Some quilters seem to think that all my work is 'Japanesey', but what do you think? 'Time and Again' (above) is probably as much retro as anything, while 'Spinning Squares' (below) is an abstract block - not even any Japanese fabrics there (although it would look lovely with lots of colourful gold prints).


When I first started quilting, I had just returned from working in Japan and I didn't have many non Japanese fabrics. Quilt shops were thin on the ground (I didn't know of any in the early 1990s that were local to me), so my other alternative was making quilts from my dressmaking scrap bag, mainly 1970s and 80s fabrics, with lots of Laura Ashley and Liberty materials. While I was inspired by the work of Japanese quilters, who were in turn often inspired by traditional American quilts, I don't think my quilts generally are very obviously 'Japanese'. True, I often use the geometric designs traditionally seen in Japanese fabrics, architecture etc. but very little of my overall output features kimono, geisha, koi, dragons or whatever, and much of the vintage Japanese kimono fabric I sell is selected for it's abstract or retro designs - I don't have much with things like Japanese landscapes and I just don't sell 'geisha' fabric at all.

Quite a lot of the following quilts were featured in 'Compendium of Quilting Techniques' ('200 Quilting Tips, Techniques & Trade Secrets'), so you may recognise them from there, but some are more recent.

A lot of my quilts have been inspired by other things, from Celtic design ('Solstice', my triangular quilt) ....

...to traditional British culture & folkore ('Fish & Chips', 'The Fabled Hare', 'Dancing Colours')...


... as well as antique quilts in the British tradition.


The remake of the checkerboard medallion above, in contemporary fabrics.


I like my retro 50s inspirations too!




The retro cot quilt uses blocks from the 'Retro Revival' chapter in '130 Little Quilt Blocks' -


The red and white 'Fanoe' quilt which is appearing in the latest edition of Fabrications magazine was based on cottage doors in Sunderho, Fanoe, Denmark.


'Lulea Blockhus' (Lulea Log Cabin) uses scrap bag fabrics in a random arrangement based on old Swedish utility quilts.


This earlier quilt, 'Roman Perdu', is just a scrap quilt -


My Oriental Log Cabin Sampler looks just as good made in Kona Bay Japanese prints or another colourway - mine is at the top, while Michelle Boyd from Chester Ps & Qs made the second one, begun in my workshop. I think the red and black one is by Eilish Lund, from Wrexham Quilting Circle.


'Masu' uses the Courthouse Steps construction with textured Japanese wool kimono fabrics, but the 'square in a square' result is very abstract (and not a pagoda or geisha in sight!)


Even a lot of the quilts made using my 'Japanese Circles and Squares' workshop design don't look especially Japanese. The blue one was made by Charlotte Coghill at last January's workshop at The Royal Hotel, Bridlington, while the mixed up batik patchwork blocks became my 'instant art quilt' version. The next is inspired by Chinese colours and patterns, while the last uses the same block design and layout for a community arts project.



Super Strips is based on the 'Hearts and Crosses' coverlet in the collection at the Quilt Museum, York. The original is made from C19th prints. This one by Margaret Evans from Gresford Craft Group is made from batiks -


This is my 1930s style print version and the crumb quilt made from the leftovers -


Maybe people only think I made quilts like this? LOL Hope you enjoyed the eye candy anyway.

5 comments:

Crafting Angles said...

A wonderful display of your quilting talents Susan. Looking forward to learning from you soon.

Jen & Roie Crafting Angels

Queenbeequilter said...

Lovely to see all the quilts ..

Queenbeequilter said...

Good to see all the other quilts x

Susan Briscoe said...

There's a lot more than these... they're just the ones where photos were easily to hand! One day I'll try to count how many quilts I've made, but I really have no idea at the moment.

Lis said...

I also enjoyed the showcase of a selection of your lovely work.