It’s fascinating to know where the idea for a quilt came from..so I thought I’d write an occasional piece about the beginnings of one (or in this case two) of my quilts.
A few years ago I was lucky enough to have a glorious 2 week trip with a good stitching friend to Cornwall – I hadn’t been there since a “summer” in the early ‘70s when there was such torrential rain many roads were flooded out…took me 30 years to get back! One of the lovely little towns we visited was St. Ives. And of course we went upto the top floor of Tate St Ives to get a cup of tea. Well the service was sooooooooo bad, we never got our cup of tea, but we did get some great photos from the windows.
That golden brown lichen grows everywhere! I love views like this where you can explore all the shapes and strange little windows, and chimneys and rooflines out to the distant channel. When I was a kid I spent ages peering out of the old skylights in the attics of our Victorian house just to look at roofscapes – but nothing as interesting as this. I love that hint of distant water.
So from this photo I made a big drawing including the values, and here are some crops from that drawing.
This one is a vertical section…but I wasn’t too keen on the dominance of that very large roof – it’s out of scale with the rest of the buildings I think – even though it did exist in real life!
I much prefer this horizontal crop.
The top of the roof anchors it but there is a lot more space and light.
But the more I looked at it, the more I felt that the big roof blocked your way into the houses…you can’t go here! so I eliminated it, and extended the houses downward slightly simplifying it even more.
And then made this piece Edge of Light based on the simplified sketch. I liked it a lot…but I still was fascinated by the very first image and the soft warm golden browns….and the mystery of the overlapping shapes…so I decided to make another quilt about St Ives that wasn’t quite such a literal interpretation of my photograph. I looked at the relationships between some of the rooflines, and some of the shapes of the houses, and the placement of windows, made a lot of beautiful discharge shibori fabric and then cut and layered it in collage fashion to make the quilt below.
So to arrive at my final quilt, the one that really summed up my impressions of Cornwall and St Ives including those long ago memories of the torrential rains, I went a rather roundabout route! But this quilt I feel does capture my feelings about the place. It’s called St Ives.
Hope you enjoyed the story! After not getting a cuppa tea but definitely getting some great photos we deployed to a nice pub and got halves of Guiness!
If you have been, thanks for reading!