I have made several traditional New York Beauty quilts in my time, but none quite like this! As my work has evolved away from traditional quilting I acknowledge that there are still elements that influence what I enjoy making now. Over the past few months I have had several different projects on the go and several of them have recently been finished. I haven't been able to share them for various reasons, but I am very happy that the time has come that I can at least share this one.
I have called it 'A New Dawn'. It is a double sided piece created from many layers of heavyweight interfacing and thread. It measures 16" by 20" overall and can either be suspended from a cord or positioned on a stand as in the photos above and below.
It has come to life as the latest piece made for the group '12 by the Dozen'. This challenge was based on the theme of New York Art Deco Architecture which was a fabulous stimulus to work from. There are so many beautiful shapes to use that it was rather like being a child in a sweetshop.
Eventually I settled on one of the most iconic buildings of them all, the Chrysler Building.
It was built for Walter Chrysler, the the head of the Chrysler Corporation, and served as the corporation's headquarters from 1930 until the mid 1950s. Built between 1928 and 1930, an era characterised by profound social and technological changes. Times were good and the economic boom of the 1920s led to a surge in the building of new skyscraper projects in New York City and for 11 brief months it was the tallest building in the world. Interestingly, although the Chrysler Building was built and designed specifically for the car manufacturer, the corporation did not pay for its construction and never owned it; rather, Walter Chrysler paid for it himself so that his children could inherit it. Read more about it on Wikipedia:
When the Chrysler Building opened in 1930 there were mixed reviews of the building's design, ranging from comments that it was inane and unoriginal to the idea that it was modernist and iconic. Personally, I love it.
Unsurprisingly I chose the triangular window forms to base my designs on. During my research I discovered that the entire top section (floors 65 to 77) of the building was fabricated from steel, brick and cement in situ. It must have been quite hairaising as it is over 760 feet up in the air.
The website https://chryslerbuilding.com/ has a fun slider that allows you to whiz up and down the tower (take a closer look at the gargoyles on floors 29 - 32 and 58 - 61 . They are incredible).
Using my own interpretive drawings of the tower section of the building I carved two lino blocks and printed onto a variety of substrates.
I scanned a few of the images and played about with different artistic effects using GIMP software (similar to Photoshop but free shareware). This is such fun and can easily consume hours of your time! I can imagine that having the manipulated images printed onto fabric could yield an endless supply of beautiful fabric but personally I prefer to print my own using more traditional methods, but for a fast way to explore possibilities it is superb.
Here are just two examples of the many I created.
If I ever get stuck for an idea again this surely is a go-to project as it has thrown up more ideas I have than time for.
After much exploration I eventually made 3 different print collections on fabric and added colour with paint, ink, dye and Derwent products. (unfortunately I only have photos of 2.)
Adding the dense stitch stitch to all these printed elements has taken a long time, especially as it is double sided so all the pieces needed to be carefully matched up. As a result only the piece on the left has so far been completed, the others are in the 'pending' department! I used Aurifil 12 cotton threads for the embroidery and the heavier weight thread has been perfect, giving a very interesting visual texture and enhancing the vibrant colour in the sections between the triangles.
The photo below also shows the striking classic New York Beauty design many quilters know and love. (Visit the Wnokyworld blog here http://willywonkyquilts.blogspot.com/2013/02/new-york-beauty-why-that-name.html if you would like to know more about the origins of the traditional New York Beauty quilt pattern.)
Once all ten sections were stitched they were then positioned into a sunburst arrangement and stitched together.
I am very pleased that this piece has been selected for the SAQA 'On The Edge' exhibition by Juror Petra Fallaux
Thanks for reading.