Spike Spike Bloom: Art Quilt

It is summer in California, a season that means fog and chilly mornings in the coastal areas of Northern California, and beating heat inland and in the South. Californians are often teased for having a lack of seasons, but some of ours are subtle. Up the hill I pass by varieties of cactus, and indeed, there is a season in which they bloom. The prickly plants burst into amazing blossoms, which last for a week or two, then they are gone. Cactus season.

I've taken photographs of the cacti over the years. I like the contrast between the sharpness and softness of the same plant, more interesting than a rose because the flower is fleeting. A glimpse, if you notice.

This year, the word "spike" is common enough to be part of a drinking game, unfortunately. Amidst the prickly times we can find moments of joy, delight, beauty, and I'm grateful for them, perhaps because they, too, seem so short-lived. This art quilt came from that idea.

Photos made into negatives, made into solar prints on cotton cloth, cut up and arranged on a black background, also spiky. The stitching came after. The piece wanted to be hand quilted that way. More spiny spikes.

Spike Spike Bloom
45"w x 43"h
Cotton; solar prints from original photos; hand quilted with cotton sashiko thread



The prints darkened overnight, some of the white areas turning light blue.
Arranging the triangles.

Sewing some together.

I used the leftover pieces from the solarprints as accents in the border.