Genesis Of Torii Traces

Thanks to my master class I’ve become better at front end quilt design, sketching out ideas, if only to reject them. However, I begin some quilts with absolutely no idea of what they’ll be. My Torii Traces is a good example.

Here’s the collection of fabrics I began with. Almost all of them were altered with dyeing, painting, stamping, etc.

Ginkgo leaf ideaIn fact, I labeled this photo Ginkgo Leaf Idea. I view it as an embryonic stage where it could easily have taken a totally different direction. Those scraps were up on my design wall for some months before I began to play with them.

Ginkyo startThe blurriness is caused by my lack of photographic skills, not your eyesight. However, you can see  I settled on the gold mottled circle and the bracketing half circles early on. The dragonflies were flitting around and I was determined to use organza I had stamped with leaves.

IMG_6417At this point I realized I wanted to make a torii and spent time looking at photos online. Once I sorted out a symmetrical structure I built the top section and began constructing the lower parts. I layered organza in shades of gold and turquoise.

IMG_6421I decided to curve the outer edges of the lower section and tried a dark purple bottom strip.

IMG_6424I discarded the purple bottom and began to develop a pieced/appliqued bottom with bits of organza laid over.

IMG_6427I decided I needed a heavier turquoise horizontal line at the bottom and foraged through scrap bins for enough of that fabric.

ToriiThe bottom is settled and the dragonflies have flown in. However, once I did the hand stitching I felt the bottom needed more weight to balance the top cross bar.

IMG_7325So, I added water colored fabric and sashiko waves stitching, and called it done.

I constructed the quilt in three sections, sewing false backs on all. I left the bottom of the top and the top of the bottom open so I could slide in the middle section and sew the sections together. All the hand stitching was done before I added the backs, which help conceal all the knots, etc.

This piece is entered in the Akron Art Prize exhibit, which will be on view from September 3 to October 1 at the Summit Art Space in downtown Akron.


Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects, Techniques

16 responses to “Genesis Of Torii Traces

  1. This is one of my favorite pieces, and I wish I could see it in person. I think there is value in both design prior to construction and design-as-you-go. Even when I design something before construction it changes in process, if only because the actual fabrics look different than the sketch can capture. Thanks for sharing your process on this one.

  2. Such an interesting evolution. The fabrics give it such a delicacy and mystery, like you are looking at the torii through a veil of time, catching both the modern and the ancient.

  3. I’ve always been especially impressed with this one! It all comes together so well and I like seeing and hearing how it evolved.

  4. Barbara

    Love, love, love this piece, especially the dimensionality you achieved with the different sections appearing to be on separate spatial planes.

  5. This is one of my favorites and so neat to read about your process. Congratulations on the exhibition. If possible I hope you will post photos from that show.

    • The exhibit will most likely be a grab bag of different artistic tropes, to judge from past years. I think they’ll post photos of all entries online, so if they do I’ll let you know the link. Otherwise, it will be my point and shoot camera.

  6. jennyklyon

    Really love this one! It was instructive to see your process. What beautiful bits and pieces you have lying around! Beautifully designed.

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