Wednesday, May 16, 2018

More May Flowers !

“Just living is not enough," said the butterfly, 
"one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”*

Flowers have a language all their own.  They evoke memories and emotions, and may symbolize hope and love. In quilting, flowers provide the ultimate challenge in color and design.  Here are some exemplary quilts that inspire us.

Receiving Grace, 65 x 37", by Elizabeth McDowell Heagy (Ontario, Canada)

Elizabeth Heagy says, "The Echinacea stands strong, radiant in the love of its Creator.  This study depicts a moment of spiritual enlightenment."
Receiving Grace won First Place, Art – Naturescapes, Pictorial at the 2017 National Canadian Quilters' Association show. It was created with machine piecing, hand and machine applique, hand and machine embellishment, and painted with Jacquard Textile colors.  

The background was appliqued, pieced, and quilted simultaneously, using tulle as a third layer. The tulle protrudes from the top and bottom edges of the quilt and creates a natural setting for the flower. The flower petals stand out from the surface of the quilt.

Honeysuckle by Elizabeth Habich (Massachusetts)

Elizabeth Habich was inspired by the exuberance and vivid colors of honeysuckle growing against a fence in Bar Harbor, Maine.  For the background, Elizabeth used an experimental piece she had made with black Procion MX dyes. The honeysuckle itself was created with hand-dyed fabrics by Elizabeth Habich and others, as well as commercial solid colors. She says, "Melinda Bula's fusible applique technique made it possible."

Tulipa by Karen Ponischil (Charlotte, North Carolina)

Tulipa was inspired by beautiful tulips given to Karen Ponischil by her niece as a birthday surprise.  Karen's fabric painting, thread painting and free motion quilting perfectly conveys the smooth texture of the tulip petals; see the closeup photo below.

Karen Ponischil creates quilts using whole cloth painting or raw edge appliqué. She then uses thread painting to bring the quilt to life. For more inspiration see Karen's online gallery.

The Implication of Red by Hsin-Chen Lin (Tainan City, Taiwan)

This quilt's title, The Implication of Red, is explained by Hsin-Chen Lin as follows: "Although red represents joy and happiness, it is also a symbol of stirring emotions.  For women in the Chinese-speaking world, the color red is like an invisible frame.  Our traditional values teach us to tolerate a variety of unhappiness for the sake of keeping happy lives for the majority.  Such uncertainty stops us from pursuing dreams."

Hsin-Chen Lin is President of the Taiwan Art Quilt Society. She created this piece entirely by hand; it was hand-pieced, appliqued, quilted, embroidered, and embellished.  The incredible detail of the quilting, embroidery and embellishment can be seen in the closeup photo below.

In Full Glory by Akiko Kawata (Osaka-City, Japan)

Akiko Kawata showcased brilliant hollyhock flowers against a strip pieced background.  She says, "I wished to express the beautiful hollyhock flowers in their full glory, stretching to the bright blue summer sky." In Full Glory was machine pieced, appliqued, and quilted; and hand embroidered.  The flowers and leaves were bordered with solid fabric to add emphasis. The magenta and green hues create a beautiful complimentary color scheme.

Summer in the South, 41.5 x 38.5", by Ellen Lindner (Melbourne, Florida)

Heavy with blossoms, the arching branches of Crepe Myrtle trees grace the Southern U.S. all throughout the summer. Their colors and shapes delight all who see them. Ellen Lindner created Summer in the South with fusible raw edge collage and machine stitching.

For more information on this and other works of art see Ellen's website, Adventure Quilter.

Pop Up Posies, 57 x 57", by Erin Russek (Colorado)

Erin Russek says, "I am continually inspired by folk art and the natural world.  I wanted to create a quilt of flower blocks set on point with scallops for leaves... I enjoy working with brightly colored prints and creating cheerful quilts." Pop Up Posies features 5 different applique blocks, a large scallop applique border and beautiful flowers throughout.

The flower blocks are Erin's own design and are hand appliqued (a complete pattern is available).  She also created a scalloped border with plenty of white space for Karen McTavish's beautiful quilting (see the closeup photo below).

Credits:   *Quote from The Complete Fairy Tales by by Hans Christian Andersen.
Photos were taken at the 2018 Road to California show (Pop Up Posies) and the 2017 Houston International Quilt Festival.


  1. What glorious quilts! The hollyhock one is the best.

  2. Oh my, I could cry as these are so beautiful. I would love to make one of these but I just don't like fusible raw edge- I don't like the textures or the feel of the piece. Great, great inspiration! Thank you.

  3. Last week Celebrate hand quilting's theme of the week was "flowers" and I think it was the most popular subject of all. Not many art quilts but plenty of flower blocks and quilts.

  4. Oh my goodness - what fabulous quilts!


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