the art of quilting

original quilted textile art by k3n

My quilting journey began at age 9 when I was taught to English paper piece (the classic hexagon!) at school. Our templates were cut (rather wonkily I fear!) from old greetings cards and cereal packets and our fabric was scraps that we were able to beg and scrounge where we could. I was lucky in that my mother made a lot of my clothes so scraps were readily available. Primarily I made cushions - small and easily achievable. These were rather garish affairs, with fabrics mixed in terms of tone and type - lots of polycotton in those days - and no thought was given to actually quilting them. Unfortunately (or perhaps not!) none of these early works survive. I continued to knit, sew dolls’ clothes, do needle point and cross stitch sporadically throughout my early life, only laying it aside when the other girlish interests of ballet, horses and boys took priority.


My interest in patchwork and quilting as a craft was revived in my 30s by a chance flick through a patchwork book in the local library whilst browsing the needlecraft section in search of creative inspiration. My interest was renewed and I embarked on a full size quilt in the only way I knew how - by the English style of piecing over papers. I chose a colour palette of purples and lilacs and mixed cottons, polyester dress fabrics, even velvets and nylon net with abandon (and no thought as to how the finished article would be cleaned!) It took over a year to piece this creature and when it was finally done, I went out and bought the fattest, fluffiest polyester wadding I could find, backed it with some thick cotton lining fabric and set about hand quilting it. I keep it, largely as testament to my staying power and my ability to work through the pain of my poor, sore fingers! But I don't show it to many people.


Since then, I have developed a more ‘textile arty’ style though still with its roots firmly in quilting and patchwork. I am constantly rewarded by the way in which working with textiles has allowed me to unleash my creativity and find my ’inner artist’ - me, who was strongly discouraged at school from even taking O level art! So for better or worse, I am self taught and I work by studying all the tried and tested ways of doing something before ‘playing’ in my studio and reaching my own conclusions about the method that best suits me, my personality and my own style of working.


I am happy living in the beautiful West Country county of Somerset where I find inspiration not only in the local landscape but also in the work of the county's numerous artists in not only textiles but also paint, photography, pottery and ceramics and every other media imaginable.


Flying High

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Ilminster TA19 0AJ

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