Wednesday 1 November 2017

Four in Art: Illumination (Number 4 in the 'Light' series)

If you've been reading for a while, you'll know that for three years I've been a member of the quilt group 'Four in Art'.  We have been making a quilt every quarter to an annual theme and quarterly sub-theme.

Our annual theme for this year is 'Light', and this quarter's theme, chosen by Janine, is 'Illumination'.

I've absolutely loved this year's theme - so much to think about.  The particular nature of the subthemes this year also made it possible to return to some sources of inspiration and with each quarter I got more and more interested in the qualities of light and in light as a metaphor.  So my thought processes for the final quilt in this series turned towards these again and spun off something like this:

  • Illumination as in lighting, light, sources of light
  • Illumination as in illuminated manuscripts - where 'illuminated' comes from the Latin for 'lit up' or 'enlightened' and refers to gold or colourful decoration of important and precious texts ...
...which might be a source of
  • illumination as a metaphor for intellectual or spiritual enlightenment
...which all sent me on a train of thought back to
  •  the beauty and colour of cathedral windows...
  • a source of illumination which in turn made me think of motes of coloured light dancing on old stonework (a different quality of light to that in Stained Glass Shadows)
  • and back to the idea of colour and gilding in illuminated manuscripts

I wanted to incorporate all these inter-related elements.  So this quilt has all the things!

Patchwork cathedral windows represent the real thing, casting dancing coloured lights on old stonework.

The quilting, a combination of straight line and stippling, reflects rays of light on weathered stone.

But you could also imagine illuminated texts, with gilding and beautiful colours on paper or velum, and these texts are themselves a source of 'illumination'.

The gold represents beams of light (illumination in the physical sense), or gilding, and also contributes towards the idea of illumination in the metaphorical sense.

30" x 30"
Oakshott cottons and gold silk
Aurifil 50 and 28wt in two colours
Faced binding

Sadly, this will be our last Four in Art reveal!  Thank you fellow members for being a constant source of inspiration and enthusiasm, many thanks to Rachel, our current chairperson, for organising us, and, most especially, thank you Elizabeth for being the drive behind such a warm, supportive and thoughtful group.

Please check out the other Four-in Arters who also reveal their quilts today;

BettyElizabethJanine, Nancy, RachelSimone or on the group blog.

and stay tuned for The Endeavourers, as Janine, Nancy and I move forward with a new group next year.


  1. I love this quilt. You've incorporated such a wealth of detail and allusion and the colours, together with the different quilting styles, really capture the atmosphere of light coming through the glass onto old stone. It really is beautiful :)

  2. Really beautiful Catherine, and quite spiritual. I could see this hanging in a home, in a church, in a meeting house. You really have incorporated illumination in all its senses. Looking forward to seeing what your new group come up with next year!

  3. Cathedral windows really gives it depth. Lovely and inspiring.

  4. Love, love, love. This is brilliant. I totally felt all your inspirations even beige reading the blog text. I like the shimmer, the windows, the suggestion of a letter. So very well done! It was fun to see your glimpses on IG along the way.

  5. This is stunning! I love all the thought that went into it and the execution is flawless (in spite of all that picking). Congratulations on a job so well done.

  6. I absolutely adore this quilt and from the moment I saw it (before reading about it), it made me think about stained glass windows and the way the coloured light falls on the stone floors, etc. of cathedrals and churches as well as a sense of the central portion emitting light and warmth and a sense of, well, well being and all being right. Thank you for sharing it!

  7. Your quilt does have all things, doesn't it. The beauty of cathedral windows, the nuance of stonework, the dancing of those little rays of gold, the clever use of quilting stitches and the clever thoughts behind the word illumination which eventuated in this clever quilt. Looking at your quilt, Catherine, I can almost hear heavenly music; it is truly spectacular!

  8. Your quilt is absolutely gorgeous and truly conveys illumination immediately upon catching sight of it! Everything you put into it drives it to its purpose. Congratulations is the only other thing I can say.

  9. I finally get to relax after this crazy day, and I turn to your quilt and your post, and wow! I am drawn in by your stated intent, but mostly by the beautiful rendition of all that you wanted to say. My attention goes first the stained glass, then to the streaming light (the quilting) and then I see the glints and golds surrounding all of this. What a beautiful rendition of this quiet, rich scene.
    And many thanks to you for being such an inspiring member of our little four-in-art group. I loved all your quilts!

  10. Your quilt is a complete jewel! Your concept behind your design, use of color and use of quilting techniques is a beautiful representation of illumination. Your unique style has always impressed me and I love how you tie it all together for our final project.

  11. What a well-thought out piece of art - it is just marvelous! And wouldn't it look lovely in a church? Every element adds to the whole and I am in awe - congratulations. I'm so glad you are going forward with The Endeavourers and look forward to seeing more wonderful creations!

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