Feather, Feathers, Everywhere

Feathers, by Philip Jacobs of the Kaffe Fassett Collective

If any of you have already had a look at my entry on this years Cambridge Open Studios website you will have seen that I have mentioned ‘new textile work’. I haven’t exhibited textiles for several years, so why now?

Firstly, because of essential building repairs that have been ongoing since November 2020, I have been in a situation where I may have to pack up my studio at any time. Plus I have no idea exactly how much space I will have to display my work for this year’s Open Studios! I already have plenty of framed works on paper from 2020 to exhibit. Textile art can safely be hung in more imaginative ways, and I can work on them in any room as long as I can sit down with a sewing machine.

But more importantly, I’m making them because I wanted to… I love working with the constraints of existing pattern and colour and I haven’t done an art textile project for several years.

Back in 2014 I saw some inspirational paper pieced quilts by Karen Howes of Faeries and Fibres. Rather than launch into making something that complex, I tried making a paper pieced bed quilt using repurposed fabric. It was fun, but I found that I am *very* slow with that technique.

In the meantime I came across this book (photo) which offered a way to design with hexagons without doing all that hand stitching and template cutting. You use six repeats of a large design, cut into many sets of triangles. Filled with enthusiasm, I bought several metres of ‘Feathers’ by Philip Jacob.

But I still had that bed quilt to finish, and I was determined to complete that first. 

‘Value Proposition’ quilt along by me, pattern by Karen Howes

I finally managed that over the various lockdown periods, so I now had the time to start planning my OBW quilt. My ideas grew in the planning, and I’m now hoping to do at least three wall hangings for COS2021, each featuring elements of that original Feathers fabric and also a more abstract range of fabric designs that I have recently discovered. Each one will be made from around 150 hexagons – 900 triangles!

Work in progress – six triangles make each hexagon, lined up roughly with where they are cut from each repeat of the fabric.

Keep an eye on my Facebook and Instagram feeds to see work in progress on these pieces, but here is a photograph of the ‘top’ of the first quilt. It still needs quilting, embellishing, binding, and mounting… but I am waiting until I have the whole set of hangings made so that I can make sure the size and techniques are consistent throughout. I’ll just have to make sure I allow enough time before July!

Dreamcatcher – work in progress



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