Two More Pairs of Art Quilts: Entwined and Ups & Downs

Since I joined SAQA I tend to peruse the calls for entry regularly to see what themes are requested. Sometimes I have to let the theme sit for a while before I can feel a response, other times I just ignore it, particularly when I am feeling restless, or life is out of the usual (im)balance. It can be hard to focus on art when there are perplexing distractions. 

But I was intrigued by a call, not due until February 2024, that requested entries of quilts 30 cm square (for a gallery in Australia), that's 11.8", but a pair of them that spoke to one another. No theme. They can be presented either stacked vertically, or side by side, horizontally. Making two small quilts is an interesting challenge and poses unique questions. It also allows me to explore new methods and use up scraps, particularly those strips of batting trimmed from larger quilts: I've been stitching those together for these tiny ones.

Having made book art for thirty years, to me, two quilts side by side reference a book. That became the driving force to include a poem, half on one, half on the other, for my first pair, One Crow Comforts Me. With that quilt I made monoprints, and they sorted out naturally into lighter and darker for two separate pieces that were related.

Sorting and ironing are calming tasks for me; they help me think. The next set of monoprints incorporated vines and plants and also sorted out into more blue and more red. I thought about adding words, but the quilt just wanted the vines to be highlighted, so I machine quilted around them for Entwined.


(I always say I want to do a piece that looks like the backs of quilts but haven't dedicated a quilt to that yet.)

For the third set, I drew and cut a stencil, which I layered over more monoprints, but it didn't come out as clear and obvious as I would like, so I cut it up and pieced together ladder imagery for Ups & Downs.


Each is primarily machine quilted with some hand stitching in red silk thread, cotton thread, or linen thread around the edges.

As I worked my questions were:
1. What makes the two connected?
2. Why do they have to be together? (do they?)
3. What kinds of themes make sense in pairs? 

Some thoughts were: opposites; theme and variation; half of the composition on each side; things that come in pairs. It's an interesting exercise, one I am enjoying and that seems to be worth exploring even further. I can tell there will be more.