Quilt 6 - 2015 'White Holes'
A few years ago I read Marilyn Doheny´s book 'Op-Art Quilts' and had been struck by how well suited this
type of art was to simple patchwork. The problem, however, was that I wanted to find a way to enhance the
3D effect and suspected that this could be achieved either by using colour gradation between the centre and
outside of the areas I wished to stand out or by using a series of concentric lines running around those areas,
or both. Furthermore, these subtle colour gradations could either be achieved using distinct fabrics from the
same family of colours or using ombre fabrics where the colour changes steadily across a single fabric. The
concentric lines, meanwhile, could either be inherent in the fabric or part of the quilting pattern or both.
Unfortunately, neither of these improvements could be more than partially achieved using the simple strip
piecing technique of the book so I had to find a new way altogether to do it. It was really via a process of
elimination that I alighted on the idea of using interwoven strips where the black patches are actually
continuous parallel strips of fabric and the coloured strips, which run perpendicular, are made of different
coloured patches, the joins between which are hidden behind the black patches under which they are
interwoven. This had the additional huge benefit of ensuring that all meeting points met in exactly the
right place as they had no choice!
When I saw a collection of fabric by Ranae Merrill entitled "Radiant Ombre" I immediately knew that this
solved both my problems in one as it was both an ombre and contained darker lines throughout the fabric
at right angles to the colour gradation. I made my coloured strips not by sewing the individual pieces
together but by fusing them onto strips of interlining, turning the edges underneath. This produced a
fairly stiff result which would have been a problem had I wished to cover the piece with delicate quilting but
this has never been my thing anyway ! As it was I had to be rather forceful with the needle in order to
complete the hand quilting, for which I sewed a few concentric lines using thread of the opposite colour
from its background to enhance the 3D effect.
Finally the quilt sandwich was held together with barely visible machine quilting using black thread on the black patches.
This quilt has won the Koala Studios Master Award for Innovative Artistry in the 2015 IQA judged show in Houston, having previously been awarded first prize in the contemporary section of the annual Spanish national patchwork competition.
Click thumbnails to enlarge photos
You can see a brief explanation of how I made this quilt in the video below.