A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Background Check - Week 1 - TRADITIONAL BLOCKS

I know we are mostly art quilters around here. BUT...have you ever thought of using a traditional block, adding a slight twist and making it the background for an art quilt? Let's explore that possibility!!

Traditional Block as a Background

Ok...I had to call in help on this one. I haven't made a traditional block for years and I currently have no need for any. So...I called on a friend who HAS done a traditional block background...
A BIG ONE (it's unofficial name is the Monster Quilt!)

You will recognize this block as Storm At Sea.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time on making the Storm at Sea block. You guys either know how
to make a traditional block or can easily figure it out. The slight twist on this traditional block for a background is the color choices.

So you can see the color bits, here are some process photos for this background.

Here is the pieced top on the bed ready for the next steps.

Since we are talking about backgrounds I'm not going into how the quilts were finished. But I will be posting the finished piece so you can see the final results.

All Beauty Will Perish
Wil Opio Oguta

All Beauty Will Perish

I love the way the variations on this traditional block blend so well from the grass to the sky! 

While she was at it, she also sent the a photo of a finished quilt using a mixed up 9-patch for the background. This one is less representative of a sky but the bold color choices really make the birds
stand out!

Fly Away
Wil Opio Oguta

Thank you, Wil for sharing your work with us!

Now I'm sure you guys can come up other amazing traditional blocks to give just a twist to make it an amazing background.

See you again on Friday!

Kelly L Hendrickson


  1. Another interesting post, Wil since I saw your poppies I dream about making such a beautiful background, very well done!

  2. Thanks Nienke. Size of this poppy quilt is 60"x60".

  3. Love the mix of traditional and contemporary. Beautiful! :) May I ask you why there appears to be paper attached to the traditional block pieces before stitching them together? Just curious about the traditional method you used!

  4. When I make traditional blocks I use the paper as a template to stitch through. After stitching I remove the paper.

  5. Sounds like a very accurate way of piecing. :)

  6. It is a wonderful approach to art quilting. :)


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