Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Tracing inspirations (quilting)

A finished quilt is the culmination of lots of decisions.  The fabric (type,weight and colour) the size, the patchwork block pattern used and the style of the quilting.

Sometimes I start with one idea in mind and that makes it all the way to the end.  Mostly the plan changes as the quilt progresses.  And sometimes it is not easy to make the connection, even for me, between what inspired the quilt and the end result.

Some years ago I went to Dublin with my friend and we went to Trinity College to see the book of Kells.  We both have a fondness for Celtic knots and I occasionally try my hand at calligraphy (pun intended) it was a very enjoyable visit.  I recommend it if you visit the city.

I came away with an increased appreciation of the skill (the book is so much smaller than I had expected) required to complete such intricate designs, and a postcard of a carpet page from the book of Durrow.


Until recently I thought I had pretty much forgotten it.  But with the Lindisfarne Gospels coming to Durham I recognised it had been the influence behind a quilt I made.  The design, called snail trail or monkey wrench uses triangles in increasing dimensions growing out from a central square.  A triangle based logcabin construction now I come to think of it!

I chose material gradually moving from yellow to orange and from pink to red and set the block into an interlocking tessellation.  As you can see from the picture it is neither a celtic knot nor is it the same colours as the above image.  Being inspired does not have to lead to a copy.  I designed my own quilting pattern and was very pleased with the result.  Again it is not a celtic knot nor an exacting spiral pattern but again I realise that it drew its inspiration from the artistry and skill of the monks.  


Snail trail , carpet page quilt
It was some years between the visit to Dublin and the medieval manuscripts echo arriving in quilt form.  So having just seen the Lindisfarne Gospels at Durham (instead of their adopted home in London, again I recommend a visit to see them) I wonder when they will appear in one of my crafting projects?
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