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Around the World Blog Hop

Hello world!  Hop on for today’s quilt tour! I received an email from the lovely Paula at The Sassy Quilter last week asking me if I’d like to join her on her blog hop travels around the world and of course I said yes please! It’s a great hop, not least because you get to meet some great quilters, but because it reveals a little about each quilter’s creative process, which is really fascinating.

'Saffron Fields' 2010. Lap quilt. A saffron coloured patchwork quilt laid at the edge of a field of swaying corn - perfect for a picnic and doze in the sun! © Stephanie Boon, 2014 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Saffron Fields (finished in 2010)

Introduction

Well, what can I tell you about myself that isn’t already on my About page?!  Hmm, that’s a tricky one, but I don’t think I’ve mentioned that one of my earliest scars is from a sewing machine! I was about 6 and stuck my finger under the needle as my mum was sewing, “what’s this?” I asked. Judging by the scar I think she made several stitches through my finger, but all I remember is the copious amount of blood!!!  I can’t recall not being able to use a sewing machine though, so maybe she taught me after that!

I’ve been lucky enough to have spent most of my life making art (I have a Masters Degree in Fine Art), but I’ve been sewing just as long. Over the last 7 or 8 years I’ve really concentrated on patchwork and quilting and it’s going to stay that way – I’m addicted!  I’ve finally found a way to express myself through stitch that seems natural and comfortable.

So what am I working on?

It’s not in my nature to work on one thing at a time, so I have several things on the go, not to mention the volumes of ideas still in my head!  Looking back over the last few years though it seems I generally have a couple of large projects and numerous small ones that I’m working on at any one time. At the moment I’m hand quilting a double (twin) bed quilt that I’ve called Summer Blues; it’s an old project I’m desperate to get finished so that I can move on! (You can read more about it here.) My other large project is my grandma’s flower garden bed quilt, which is on the back burner while I get on with Summer Blues.

summer blues being quilted on bed - 2

Summer Blues bed quilt with lots of Kaffe Fassett fabrics (started over 6 years ago and still in progress!)

Small projects include this growing string quilt (it’ll be lap quilt size) and numerous cushions/pillows (I love making these as a way to test ideas and techniques).

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

'Found', Linen and cotton patchwork wall hanging. Textile art in neutral colours with hand quilting and embroidery. © Stephanie Boon, Dawn Chorus Studio, 2013

Found, Wall Hanging 2013 (exploring appliqué, machine and hand embroidery)

I think that what I bring to my quilts is an artist’s eye for colour. I hate using pre-cut packs, I think they really limit my creativity – I don’t want someone else’s idea of fabrics that compliment each other, I want to find my own.  Finding my own ‘quilting voice’ has taken me a while and is one of the reasons I want to get these old projects done and dusted so that I can really move on.  One of the things that’s dawned on me lately is that I can draw, and so many quilters lament that they can’t, so I’m excited to explore appliqué as a way of making things more ‘me’. Of course I also love to include hand stitching on just about everything I do – I feel so connected to the process, it’s personal and intimate. But it does mean that ideas can often take some time to come to fruition!

Why do I create do what I do?

It’s about process. I love every step of the way from idea to completion.  Making something with my hands is intrinsic to the process; I don’t want to just have an idea and let someone else follow it through, for me ideas develop through the making – creating something is a decision making process and it’s not something that ever ends. The piece you’re working on might come to a finish, but the ideas you have and the decisions you make are carried on to the next project to explore.  I’d stitch, sew, create even if no-one ever saw what I made – I just have to do it. It’s who I am, as trite as that sounds!

Lost Soul Mate, detail, by Stephanie Boon, 2012. Quilted embroidery panel with hand and machine stitching.

Machine and hand embroidery (this wren became my logo!)

How does my creative process work?

Nothing’s ever in a logical order for a start!  I think I’m beginning to find my focus, which is ‘place’, and colour is the medium I use to convey my feelings about it. I’m a very ‘outdoorsy’ person and I love to run and walk trails, especially where I live in Cornwall, and I want to capture the essence of what I see and feel around me. A simple example is the lap quilt at the top of the post. Saffron Fields captures a little bit of place for me. Here in Cornwall the fields are small (it’s too hilly for anything else) and they’re bounded with stone walls.  At various times in the year the fields are yellow with rape or golden corn and they’re often scattered with bright yellow wild flowers. This was an early example of me trying to reference that in a quilt, just taking the idea of small squares and the colour yellow.

Another example is a quilt I started last year for some very special people (and it’s somewhat late!). It’s about the visual memories I have of a trip to Peru – the colour of the earth was like nothing I’d ever seen before, the shapes of the mountains, the rock, the hand dyed and woven textiles… in my mind it’s fused into this wonderful rich earthiness that I wanted to capture.  I started the process with sketchbooks and photographs and if you’re interested you can see some of the development of this quilt in Playing with blocks of colour and Peru – finally a quilt in progress.

'Prosperity' Patchowork inspired by Peru. In progress (before quilting). © Stephanie Boon, Dawn Chorus Studio, 2013

‘Prosperity’

Dirt road, Peru, 2003. © Stephanie Boon, Dawn Chorus Studio, 2013

Dirt road, Peru, 2003.

I’m aware that this has become a much wordier post than I intended, so I’ll finish up by mentioning the very inspiring work of some of my favourite quilters: Ann Brooks, Victoria Gertenbach and Sujata Shah – their work has given me a framework where hopefully, one day, I might also fit. It’s that cusp between art and design, expressed through the medium of colour and stitch that really excites me.  So please head on over to Victoria’s blog The Silly Boodilly and Sujata’s blog The Root Connection to see their beautiful quilts.

Finally, it’s with great pleasure that I hand the blog hopping baton over to Ann of Fret Not Yourself. Ann is an amazing quilter and her eye for colour and pattern take my breath away.  I love the way she can take something like a simple ‘trip around the world‘ block and develop it into a unique and complex design that really makes it her own. Her skill and experience show in abundance, yet never a more humble, generous blogger are you likely to meet!

Thanks again Paula for inviting me to take part, and dear friends do make sure you visit The Sassy Quilter too, because Paula is just that – sassy, fun and completely full of energy and enthusiasm for this wonderful thing we all love to do. (And she has some great tips for beginners, giveaways and a quilt-along too!) Thanks for reading and very happy creating!

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4 replies
  1. sally
    sally says:

    I’ve finally got round to coming over to explore your place, I am sometimes a little slow! I’ve really enjoyed having a browse, you’re right it is lovely to find another West Country quilting blogger, I get quite excited coming across lovely UK ones never mind this close to me! And I’ve also enjoyed browsing because I feel very in tune with a lot of your approach. I really don’t appreciate using a bundle of fabric from a particular designer line either, where’s the fun and challenge in that. And I love ‘drawing’ in my work too, whether that’s applique or machine embroidery. And your point about decision making in your work and ideas building and continuing through pieces really resonates with me as well. I could go on and on! I also love your quilts, especially your Peru one and your little wren on here. So basically, I’m very happy I finally got over for a visit! Oh and Silly Boo Dilly is one of my favourite places as well, it was one of the first blogs I ever came across and I love so much of her work and really admire her individuality – but the others you mentioned I’ve not come across so I’m off to explore them now. Aghhh, I should be tidying the kitchen or organising tea, or at the very least sewing…

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      I’m soooo glad you called by Sally! I get just as excited when I find someone on this island that I seem to ‘click’ with too, haha! I know what you mean about getting sucked in to blogs and the internet in general…time just seems to disappear, one blink and ooops a couple of hours have gone by. But I’d rather nourish my soul than do the dishes any day! (Ahem, and there’s a pile in the kitchen to prove it!!!!) Hope you come back soon, I shall, of course be coming over to your place again soon too 🙂

      Reply

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