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From Quilt Squares to Abstract Art

May 13, 2015

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I love the amazing variety of quilt patterns and styles, and the grand tradition of quilting that has been handed down to us through generations of mothers and grandmothers, created first out of necessity and frugality, and now celebrated for its sheer beauty and creativity.

My friend Betty Hughes is an accomplished quilter, who happens to be my over-the-fence neighbor. So when Betty has something new to show me in her sewing room, I drop everything and go see. Every single time she shows me the newest quilts she’s just completed or is working on, I get bitten by the bug to get a sewing machine and have a go at it myself. But then I get over it, because, in all honesty, I have years and years of accumulation of every other kind of art-making equipment and supplies that a person could want. I don’t need to start on a new art form. So I just allow myself to enjoy her creations.

As you’re viewing these images, I have to tell you that Betty is a very traditional quilter. She likes order and coordinated colors, and follows all the rules of the honored traditions (well, she doesn’t take it as far as hand piecing and hand quilting, but not many others do either.)

These images are photographs of squares she made for a fun quilt for Project Linus, a kids’ charity that she participates in regularly. In creating this quilt, she has used very small saved-up scraps and put them together in what is called a “crumb quilt”. The quilt top is finished, but it was the individual squares were what blew me away. Each one could be a painting, therefore I have “framed” each one. I love how the color combinations are sometimes so unexpected, and that the shapes reveal bits of a larger pattern, adding mystery to the compositions.

I hope you enjoy these. They have me excited and inspired to do some new collages. Thanks, Betty, for giving me permission to show off your abstract art!

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. May 13, 2015 2:02 pm

    I love these Martha!!! Thanks for sharing Betty’s works with us.Helping children is such a wonderful thing! *HUGS*

  2. May 13, 2015 4:45 pm

    Most interesting. Excellent photography too!

  3. May 14, 2015 2:43 pm

    Great article. You and I sound very alike. Every time I see some wonderful new creation I get all excited and want to try it too. Like you my studio shelves groan under all sorts of ephemera that I have collected over the years. I am going to try your tactic of allowing myself to enjoy without the need to take on new pursuits!!!

    • May 15, 2015 8:44 am

      Good luck with that, Aisling. 😉 I would still be amassing art stuff if I weren’t reaching a “certain age” and know I need to do just the opposite — diminish the inventory.

  4. Cyndy Goldman permalink
    May 16, 2015 9:43 pm

    Hi M. What another great post. The saying ‘no’ to starting another art form is priceless! I stumbled a bit lately and bought some sewing equipment. These are wonderful patterns, and I’m with you on enjoying and no impulse to pursue! C

    • May 17, 2015 7:44 am

      Cyndy, it’s even more tempting with Betty living right next door. The stacks of fabric and works in progress are glorious. I try to think of my paper stacks and stashes in the same way, and just re-focus after a visit.

  5. June 20, 2015 10:39 pm

    Hi, Martha. I just discovered your blog today and hopped over to visit. These quilt squares are absolutely delightful. It’s so sweet of you to share your friends work on your blog. I often do that with photography from a good friend of mine who is one of the most excellent photographers I know, but he will not put anything of his online through any kind of social media. He gives me permission to use anything of his that I want, so I share his work on my blogs and on greeting cards a lot.

    I do understand the thing about refusing to allow yourself to start on any more new art forms right now. I have to be careful about that myself even in the writing. As incredible as the human mind is, it should be stretched only so far in any given year.

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