During the summer I have been exploring some new work based on my visit to Sunny Bank Mills near Leeds. Taking my direction from stacks of samples in the mill archives and also from the buildings and site plans. The patterns of woven stripes and plaids, windows, mill rooftops, shadow lines and industrial features; the work is taking it's cue from variations on grids and blocks. Naturally that has leant itself to patchwork.
I am never certain if it is best to learn the rules and then work out how to break them, or to start without any rules and take your own line. This is something I have been pondering as I read through Sherri Wood's wonderful book The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters; is it better to be a beginner with no knowledge of traditional quilt patterns or to know the back catalogue and enjoy the thrill of tearing it up? As it happens I wouldn't quite consider myself at either end of that spectrum, but certainly more of a novice. As with so many things I know a little bit about a lot!
I like the idea of improvisation; working from a given starting point and then exploring out from it. So I have been working from Sherri Wood's 'tumbling blocks' score, playing with my own set of rules, adding, subtracting... playing! It's been a lot of fun and I could keep going for ever. But as with most projects there comes a point when things need to be brought to a conclusion. It's time to make some decisions and play at being the editor. More on that another day. Here are a few photos of some earlier work
More to follow soon...