Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Blooming beauties: meditations on flowers, quilts, and Mother's Day

We've always wanted to make a flower quilt, but haven't yet gotten it off the ground (so to speak).  In the meantime, we keep adding flowers to our Quilt Inspiration collection.  We thought you might enjoy seeing some of our favorites from this season's crop.

Tribute to Mom by Diane Hartman

Diane Hartman won 2nd prize for the New Member's Challenge at the 2014 Tucson Quilters Guild show. She says: "The challenge fabric was avocado green – one of my mother’s favorite colors; she always teamed it with fuchsia pink! Synonymous with thoughts of my mother are visions of gardens and beautiful flowers."

close up, Tribute to Mom by Diane Hartman

The hexagon flowers, done in colorful Kaffe Fassett fabrics, were 3-D appliqued to the surface. Diane explains the materials she used: "In the tradition of my 'waste not, want not' mother, I decided to team the avocado green with studio leftovers, i.e. hexi-flower experiments, French knot flowers salvaged from a four-decades-old peasant blouse, a rejected black-and-white checkerboard and little yo-yos."

Shangri-La by Barb Forrister (Austin, Texas)

Fiber artist Barb Forrister was inspired by dozens of photos and a desire to plant a 3-D garden. Here is the left-hand panel of an intriguing triptych. Barb explains, "Shangri-la is a 3-D triptych created with soft sculpted flowers on a hand painted and inked background. As a fiber artist, I am constantly looking for different mediums that can be used to add lift and yet be pliable enough to sculpt; others remain flat but still provide texture.”

Shangri-La by Barb Forrister, right panel

The hand-painted background of the quilt was silk screened and stenciled. The soft sculpted 3-D flowers stand out two to three inches from the surface.  Different sections of this stunning piece were beaded, thread painted, embellished, machine appliqued and quilted.

Shangri-La by Barb Forrister, close up

The brilliant red-orange tiger lilies really stand out in this luscious quilt. Textural yarn was used to create the stems.

Shangri-La by Barb Forrister, center panel

The flowers in this panel calla lilies, irises, lilac and tea rose bushes and a variety of imaginary wild flowers. The center stalks of the calla lilies consist of beads set on wire, which stand up and add even more dimension to the flower. The scarlet poppies were stitched and assembled before they were appliqued to the surface of the quilt. The entire piece with three panels was 85 x 29", for more information see Barb Forrister's website.

Camellia by Melinda Bula (California)

Inspired by a photo of a camellia flower, this gorgeous wall hanging was made with fused applique, then thread painted. Melinda Bula says: “Camellias grow in abundance in Sacramento. When I moved here I quickly filled my yard with nine bushes to put on a great show." The photo that inspired the quilt can be seen at Melinda's blog.

Melinda is well known for her beautiful thread painting, which you can see in the close up photos above and below.

close up, Camellia by Melinda Bula

Melinda Bula will be teaching her fabulous fusible flower technique at the National Quilt Museum in August, 2014.  She is the author of Cutting Garden Quilts:  Fabulous Fusible Flowers.

Passion Flower,  34 x 42", by Pam George (Louden, Tennessee)

We were drawn to the beautiful purple, chartreuse and aqua blue colors of this hand painted passion flower quilt.  Pam first painted a wholecloth flower and leaves, and then fused it to the batik background.  She used two layers of batting in some areas to raise specific areas of the flower, such as the stamens and spikes. 

close up, Passion Flower by Pam George

We photographed this lovely quilt at the 2014 AQS show in Phoenix, Arizona.  Here is an even closer view of the quilting around the center of the flower....

Mediterranean Colors and Perfumes, 90 x 94", by Sonia Bardella (Venice, Italy)

One of the most amazing postage stamp quilts we've ever seen, this quilt was made by Sonia Bardella to resemble a petit-point tapestry pillow owned by her late grandmother. For eight months, Sonia painstakingly hand- and machine-stitched 24,000 tiny squares snipped from old shirts, pillowcases and towels into a mosaic of blooms. The large circle of rusty red, deep rose, light blue and golden yellow flowers is set against a background of 11 shades of white.

close up, Mediterranean Colors and Perfumes by Sonia Bardella

A close-up photo reveals the pixelated workmanship of the huge quilt. Sonia Bardella explains,  "This is the quilt on my bed, with all of the Mediterranean's colors."  The quilt was photographed at the In Full Bloom Exhibit at the 2013 Houston IQF.  It won the $500 Ina Stentiford Award, established in 2007 by the family of a late New York quilter who loved flowers and floral quilts.

Benefit of the Sunshine, 81 x 81", by Noriko Nozawa (Chiba-City, Chiba, Japan)

This quilt, which resembles a painting, inspires us with its artistic design and beauty.  The wood-nymph is surrounded by flowers and bathed in ribbons of light. Noriko Nozawa says, “The quilt expresses a gentle light by using rainbow colors I dyed myself."   The rainbow colors stand out against the high-contrast black, white and brown background.

close up, Benefit of the Sunshine by Noriko Nozawa

The quilt was machine pieced and free motion quilted. Noriko says, "For the first time I tried the method that emphasizes an outline by using thin felt.” We love the intricate  stained-glass appearance which emphasizes the flowers, butterflies and flowing hair shown below.

Even the stylized face of the figure is decorated with subtle quilted flowers in orange thread. Noriko is as much an artist as a quilter and we loved her original, exciting design. 

Image credits: Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.


  1. Just returned home from a "Beautiful Japan Quilt Exhibition" and most of the quilts were flowers of different seasons. Of course, no photos allowed but they would have fit nicely with your selection.

  2. Thank you for including Shangrila in your post. I really enjoyed reading and seeing all the wonderful articles and photos on flowers. Inspirational for sure, especially how each artist creates nature in their own voice.

  3. OMG, as always another fabulous quilts.I look and relook them and anyone is an eye candy.Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Thanks for including my quilt "Passion Flower". I was so surprised and thrilled to run across it on your blog, which I found on Pinterest. I love your blog and am a follower.


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