Sunday, August 28, 2016

Busy Bees Village

As I said before, everything I found in my cupboards is desirable - it's just that I haven't got round to use it!  So I call this my "unused desirables" piece. 

I have been collecting commercial batiks for years.  I find them pretty and at times irresistible - so I buy them occasionally, with the idea that I will one day find a use for them.

I decided to use them to make a map. When I teach classes on map-making, I find my students often bring commercial fabrics to work with.  So I have often thought I should make a map using commercial fabrics myself, as a class sample. This was my opportunity.  (I can always show a photograph, if the quilt is away travelling).

It's an English village among fields, with a river at the bottom.  I added one or two other old fabrics. I used my usual freehand piecing technique for most of the quilt.

It was important to find a contrasting fabric for the roads. The dark fabric I originally planned on did not show up well. So I eventually bought a new, very light, batik fabric, at the Festival of Quilts - it has a much more interesting effect.

I also fused-appliqué a bridge crossing the river. 

The striped fabric comes from a small stash of fabrics I bought in my first trip to the USA in 1993, intending to use them to make doll's clothes (and I did - in the times when I was a toymaker).  I have recently used some of them for my tribute to Yvonne Porcella quilt, and have rediscovered the pleasure of using stripes and checks, and black and white.

However I am not sure I will use the batiks again, certainly not all together - maybe as details, among other fabrics.  I find the result too busy - I am so used to working with hand-dyed, almost solid fabrics.  So I called my map Busy Bees Village.

Size 30" high by 25" wide.


  1. Oh, I LIKE it. It will be a great class sample...when it's not traveling the earth

  2. Alicia, I don't know that I could ever verbalize the serenity of your prior pieces until I saw this one. The batiks definitely make busy bees! If you ever feel a need to rid yourself of those annoying fabrics, keep me in mind :)

  3. Love the bridge. I love batiks also and have a big collection. This is just as bright as your usual map quilts, just more patterned.

  4. This is a really interesting contrast to your current map series! I think it's fascinating how different it becomes with a little pattern in the fabric - no matter how subtle. Love the black and white details!