Monday 1 August 2016

Four in Art 3: Colour/Purple Passion - "Anemones"

This is the third quarter's Four-in-Art quilt reveal.  Themes for the year and for the particular quarter are suggested by members of the group and the theme for this year is "Colour" and the sub-theme for this quarter is "Purple Passion".

When I first read that this was the quarterly theme I was a bit stumped.  I wondered at first if this was because I didn't like the colour purple - I don't wear it, and I could only find one thing in my house that colour.   But the one thing I have is a little coloured drawing of flowers that my mother did for me. This made me remember that I do actually love purple - in nature, especially in flowers including hardy geraniums, perennial wallflowers and so on. I currently work as a gardener,  so flowers are a big part of my life; you could say, a passion.  With this in mind, I decided to do a flower-inspired quilt, using anemones as my flower.

Another picture highlighting the texture of the quilting and embroidery.

The rationale behind this quilt is that it follows on from my first two for this year's "colour" theme.   My first one was monochrome black and white.  The second quilt progressed to one colour and worked with several variations on that.  With this third quilt I thought I'd expand further on the theme by using purple, the primary colours it is made from (ie blue and red), together with its opposite on the colour wheel (yellow). Anemones were a great flower because the shades they come in made it possible to use several purples containing different amounts of blue and red.

My other FIA quilts have generally been abstract in design and I had been thinking about what an art quilt is, and worrying if I was being artistic enough for the group.  I looked on the Internet (as you do) to see if I could find a definition of "art quilts" which matched the way I think of them and needless to say there was a lot of variation in opinion.

Apart from the fact that it explores the colours in the way that I described this quilt actually has less 'meaning' than the more abstract quilts I have made.  I don't think an art quilt has to be pictorial, but one of the aims of Four in Art is to challenge ourselves and I really just wanted to use fabric and thread in a way that was a bit painterly and impressionistic, for example I tried to piece the background in a way that would be the fabric equivalent of broad, thick brushstrokes - it is made out of lots of scraps of 'low volume' fabrics fused to a backing fabric and quilted into place.  All the scraps have raw edges which I hoped would add to the textured effect.

I outlined stems and leaves with machine embroidery using colour in the same way as I would in a watercolour painting and I used shot cotton for the flowers, because it has a lovely sheen and catches the light beautifully although it is difficult to capture the full glory of it in a photograph.  The different colours in the warp and weft make it far less 'flat' than a standard coloured fabric.

Fused applique
Raw-edge applique
Machine embroidery
Hand embroidery using French knots in Perle 8
Straight line quilting
Background: Quilting cotton
Flowers and jug: Oakshott shot cotton

I enjoyed thinking about and making this quilt so much and am always so happy to be part of this group.  I am looking forward to seeing how the others have treated the theme.

We have a blog, Four-in-Art Quilts, but you can find the other Four-in-Arters here!


  1. I love your interpretation of Purple Passion Catherine! I especially love how you have made a link between this and your previous quilts! Your flowers look life-like enough to be interpreted as anemones, yet painterly enough to be 'artistic'! You rock this challenge!

  2. The day of reveal is a bit like Christmas for me - it's always so much fun to see how a group, with like and different interests, can take a theme and come up with so many wonderful interpretations! As soon as I saw the jug of anemones, I fell in love with it! All the elements you used are absolutely perfect and done in a great stylized way. And your inspiration - the picture done by your mom - is the best, something which has special meaning. Yes, you rocked this challenge!

  3. This is wonderful. I love all the texture and detailing you've used and the whole composition is beautiful. Perfect in every way :)

  4. I've always liked pieced backgrounds, but hadn't thought of the relationship between them and painterly backgrounds...that may explain the appeal in part. I also like the variations on purple and the inclusion of yellow. Now, why am I not surprised that there are varied definitions of an "art quilt"? :-)

  5. I love how you are playing with color and your combination of reds and blues into purple is my favorite. Your block is so distinctive with its lovely flowers and complementary vase. I love it.

  6. I really like your exploration of the color, and using the varied hues. The relationship to your mother's painting and your work as a gardener is lovely.

  7. I like the "old masters" still life effect of this quilt, even though it is a contemporary art quilt. The details are wonderful, I can see that you really took a lot of time to put this quilt together. So pretty!

  8. Beautiful!! Your anemonies are so lifelike and yet like a painting as well. Such a perfect balance of colours and composition. Well done making something so beautiful from a colour you didn't think you liked.

  9. AS always, you give me something to think about, and something beautiful to look at, while you make me think. You were successful on both fronts this time around, from "what is an art quilt?" to the idea of using scraps as paint, complete with blurring from the raw edges. A very satisfying post, with a beautiful outcome of the anemones. I think your flowers are beautiful, and I love the array of purples (I found that I worked mostly with the red-purples, interestingly enough) used in your bouquet. So lovely--a real successful art quilt outing.

    For me (to continue your discussion) art quilts are about the challenge of doing something not normally in the repertoire, whether it be a construction technique or a "look" or the use of fabric. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't, but I like the challenge...and love having you in our group!


  10. I love this Catherine! I agree art quilts have a broad definition and personally I love the way your recent quilts have worked with abstract ideas, in a way I consider to be especially "Arty"; but I think your more literal interpretation of this is beautiful and very fitting for you as a gardener. Your sketchy stitching, which you also use in your ATCs to great effect, is so accomplished and the impressionistic feel of this piece perfectly captures the relaxed cheery jaunty quality anemones have and the Cornish ware vase is the perfect foil. Did you put some from your garden in a vase like that to inspire you or do it from your mind's eye? Such careful thought too about the colour make up in the whole composition!

  11. Passion is purple isn't it? Made up from different components that make the final entity strong and , well, passionate. I hadn't noticed on instagram the pieced wall paper background, the perfect wall paper, acting as a foil and not a distraction. What I am trying to say is this lovely.

  12. Firstly I think your color and texture combinations make for a wonderfully balanced composition. By keeping the purple to just the flowers you did a nice job by not overwhelming the quilt with purple. The flowers have a nice 3 dimentionality to them, which is often a missed aspect with quilters.

  13. Firstly I think your color and texture combinations make for a wonderfully balanced composition. By keeping the purple to just the flowers you did a nice job by not overwhelming the quilt with purple. The flowers have a nice 3 dimentionality to them, which is often a missed aspect with quilters.

  14. What a delightful quilt Catherine, I love to read of the thought processes behind your quilts nearly as much as seeing them :)

  15. This is downright lovely. I'm not so much a purple person either but you are right: purple in nature is a different kettle of fish. I like the pieced background and the all the little touches that you describe in your process.

  16. I always love reading about the thinking behind your abstract pieces, but this one is just as beautiful, and lovely to hear about your initial choice and your making process (I was wondering how you did your background in particular).

  17. This piece is just beautiful-the layout design and the colors are fabulous. Sorry your kitty died.

  18. This quilt is absolutely beautiful! Every single detail is absolutely stunning. I love reading about your process.


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