501 Quilt Blocks A Treasury of Patterns for Patchwork and by Joan Lewis, Lynette Chiles

By Joan Lewis, Lynette Chiles

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Extra resources for 501 Quilt Blocks A Treasury of Patterns for Patchwork and Applique

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What underlies this exploration is a reinforcement of the role of drawing and stitch as methods of seeing and looking, and of editing, notating and interpreting. Ultimately, drawing helps in developing a personal visual language, which can then be applied and developed further through the marking and making of cloth using machine-embroidery processes. Through a process of discovery and exploration, needle and thread can share an incredible proximity to the media of inks, charcoal and pencil, and the rhythms and motions of the hand that draws, even though the ‘ground’ may shift from the smooth crispness of paper to the fluid softness of textile and thread.

Twentieth-century art movements, of which drawing and embroidery are a part, however, do not really demand the kind of extreme emotions alluded to here. Visual artists focus much of their attention on what they are doing and how this relates to philosophy, history, criticism, politics, gender studies and psychoanalysis, to name but a few. Indeed, some of the best work is intensely self-aware and self-interpreting. Contemporary machine embroidery, too, seems to know itself and its ‘project’, which runs along very similar lines.

The small single stitch she uses is a repeating element. In many different guises it functions as do the bricks and stones of a building or the words in the sentences of a story. Amy Bonsor’s work also gives prominence to recurrent motifs. Single cells mutate and reproduce into complex multi-sectioned forms, reefs of apparently living, growing textile entities which steal through the air and onto the floor. She speaks of: ‘rhythmic pattern created by dark crevasses and crisp highlighted lines. ’ THE BI G G ER PI C TU R E Amy also uses machine stitch for its functional aspect, to join layers of fabric with straight lines of machining.

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