Blue Wing Chair and Science?


Blue Wing Chair by Laura Wasilowski

Today the Radical Elements exhibit sponsored by SAQA, will open for a five month showing at the Gallery of the National Academy of Sciences. Blue Wing Chair is my entry into this exhibit with a theme combining quilting and science. At last, a use for that periodic table displayed in chemistry class!

Blue Wing Chair (back) by Laura Wasilowski

This, from the SAQA website, describes the Radical Elements exhibit:
Our physical world is created out of the chemical elements, from hydrogen to platinum to arsenic. For this exhibition, each of the selected artists created a new work influenced by an element from the periodic table. Inspirations came from anything relating to that element, whether it is a play on the name, its color or the products made from it. Both representational and abstract works were welcomed.
The artists were also asked to move quilting beyond the usual materials of fabric and thread, exploring the function and decorative properties of different surfaces and stitching materials. This exhibition was the first to embrace the newly expanded definition of an art quilt and is a signature exhibition for SAQA.
In the next few days I’ll show you the design process for making Blue Wing Chair. But first, can you guess which element from the periodic table I was given to depict?

Blue House Stitchery #3


The top fields and blue house have all their stitches but what to do with the red field in the foreground? Why not try a simple Running Stitch. That sounds easy and fast. What I discovered, after a dozen rows of running stitch, is that the red field is huge! To break up the running stitch fatigue, I added a few straight stitches to the light blue flowers. But don’t worry, I shall plow on and finish this field some day.

Blue House Stitchery #2


After finishing all those juicy French Knots out in left field, I tackled the yellow and green fields to the right on my blue house quilt. This is what I like about adding hand stitchery to a fused art quilt: you can make shapes with stitches. Shapes like little flowers growing in a field.

The plant leaves on the yellow fabric are made with the Lazy Daisy and the Pistil Stitch makes the flower head and stem. No need for fabric when you have needle and thread to make the shapes!

Blue House on a Hill


Here’s another small quilt that awaits me in the studio. It was halted just as I was adding red French Knots to the fields and had to leave to hop on a airplane. That’s the advantage of hand-embroidery, you can pick it up and continue where you left off. It’s so nice to return home and settle into a comfortable stich-a-thon. Wonder what happens next on this piece? I’ll show you tomorrow.

Imagine the Possibilities!


It is with great joy that I return to my studio today! And here is something to look forward to: a quilt top ready for hand stitchery. It was discovered under a pile of fabric and other partially finished quilts. My fingers are itching for a needle and thread. Where would you start with the hand embroidery? And what stitch would you use?

Using a Photo as Design Inspiration


While hiking up a hill in New Zealand, I stopped to catch this great view of Akaroa harbor (and to catch my breath too). Can you imagine turning this into fabric? To convert this image into a quilt design, here’s what I’d do:

  • Stylize the image by simplifying the shapes that make up the design: hill, tree lines, water, island, distant mountains, and clouds.
  • Change the color palette to brilliant greens and blues. (I can’t help myself.)
  • Add some flowers in the foreground.
  • And finally, add another boat to make a total of 3 heading out of the harbor.

So I’ll let you catch your breath too and ask: What would you do?