Monday, July 11, 2011

Quilt Inspiration classics: Aquarium quilts and seascapes

This week, we're going positively aquatic! Today's quilts will make you feel that you can dive right in to the underwater scenery. The quilts we're showing include fish, turtles, and other sea-dwelling creatures, in settings that evoke the color and movement of the sea. What a way to keep (your) cool !

Koi, 40 x 68 (or miniature Koi, 11 x 13), by Lydia Russell Albers and Carol Morrissey, at O Carol Designs

Carol Morrissey is renowned for her vibrant, artistic designs. We love "Koi", above, by Lydia Russell Albers and Carol Morrissey, with its orange and red fish cavorting among stylized blue waves. The miniature version (11 x 13) features a single koi, which would make a beautiful motif within an Asian-inspired quilt.   Another stunning aquatic quilt is "Follow Me", below, which measures 40" x 50". The giant green sea turtles are so realistic...the turtle in the foreground appears to be swimming right towards us!

For more aquatic designs by Carol Morrissey, check out Swim PartyClown School (with a school of clownfish, of course), and Standing Room Only, to mention just a few ... we're particularly fond of  The Toad ( formerly known as Prince) (!)  Her patterns can be found on the patterns page at O Carol Designs. 

Seascape I and Seascape II,  by Marjan Kluepfel

Marjan Kluepfel is a fabric artist whose work has been shown in galleries around the world.  The inspiration for her magnificent seascape quilts comes from her scuba diving trips on reefs around the Hawaiian islands, and Australia. Seascape I is in a private collection, but Marjan offers a pattern for the dreamy Seascape II, which is shown above. The brightly colored hand-dyed fabric, which blends from blue-green up to yellow,  creates the impression of the sun penetrating the ocean depths; and the textural embellishments really bring the reef to life.   Marjan teaches some great workshops, including one devoted just to seascapes.  Her work can be viewed in her online galleries.

Blue Lagoon, 41 x 41, and Sandhill Cranes, 67 x 63, by Louisa L. Smith, at Quilt Escapes LLC

Louisa L. Smith is a fabric artist, designer, and teacher, whose work has been described as "painting with fabric".  The radiant Blue Lagoon is an example of a "creative nine-patch" quilt, while Sandhill Cranes uses a special curved diamond template; these are just two of the projects in the One Patch Plus book by Louisa L. Smith and Lisa Harris. In these quilts, a few dramatic elements are appliqued on top of pieced backgrounds that evoke the sea and sky. As in all of Louisa L. Smith's art quilts, the colors and values of the fabrics are expertly blended to create a sense of depth and movement (witness the beautiful blue Cycloid II).  Also check out her classes and lectures, which include "The Wonderful Art of Stripping"!

Beach Walk, 59 x 73,  including Whale Watch, by McKenna Ryan, at Pine Needles

Beach Walk has become a seascape classic; we especially like the Water Ballet (jellyfish) and the Whale Watch block, shown above...okay, we like 'em all.   Her other aquatic series include Sea Breeze, which includes a cute pufferfish (Koo Koo Puff); and her newest design, Something Fishy.  And here is something fun about the Pine Needles site:  you can send a free electronic postcard of any quilt block to a friend (how cool is that?)  Check it out by clicking on the exquisite LOVE quilt block (or if you happen to know someone who is snooty, consider sending The Snooty Sisters !

Aquarium Art Quilts: For even more inspiration,  take a quick peek at a few quilts by these outstanding quilters (you'll be glad you did): Janice Potter's Lion of the Sea;  Jean Baardsen's Raffle Reef and aquarium quilts;  Mary Butler's  Into the Deep;   Betty Busby's aquarium quilts at bbusbyarts;  Debra Harry's aquarium and mermaid quilts; and Stacy West's underwater gallery.

Fish samplers:Hmmm, a fish sampler sounds like something on a sushi menu (sashimi, anyone?) But of course we're talking about fish sampler quilts. See the Under The Sea series by Barbara Bieraugel, who lives in Hawaii (lucky devil). Now someone just has to design a sushi sampler quilt so we know what to order at the sushi bar!

Image credits and links: Images are shown with the generous permission of the artists.  This article was first published at Quilt Inspiration on August 9, 2010.

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