Sunday, September 7, 2014

Bruce Seeds and the One-Block Wonder

After getting permission from the subject artist, I wrote this for our ASG (American Sewing Guild) May newsletter. I'm more than a little slow at posting it on my own blog. Love seeing Bruce Seeds' work, I think I may have to make a quilt yet! Here's the article, along with pictures of two of his quilts. Below the article, I have my own version as well:

Bruce Seeds and the One-Block Wonder
I am not a quilter, although I've long admired the artistry. I even made a signature quilt for each of my three children to commemorate high school graduation, however I was uninterested in doing more. But I was intrigued when I was introduced to Bruce Seeds' work on a Sewing With Nancy episode, probably in 2012. He was an architect suffering from a strained economy who did web design, when he was at a quilt shop in 2008 with his mother and saw Maxine Rosenthal's book "One Block Wonders". He creates what he terms "quilted textile mosaics" from fabric which has large repeats. He proceeds to stack 6 repeats precisely together and cuts them into equilateral triangles. The resulting 6 matching triangles can be matched in 3 different possible kaleidoscopes. While the hexagons are individually fascinating, Bruce Seeds' particular genius is in his arrangement of all the hexagons together. According to his introduction at, "It's only when I get to the very end that I can see each quilt for what it wanted to be."
I was so taken by his work, it pursued my creative psyche ever since I saw it. I started following him on Facebook.  I bought the book and one of Bethany Reynold's "Stack-n-Whack" books which use similar techniques in multiple shapes. Again, I had no intention of quilting! But along came the ugly Christmas fabric challenge. The pattern was a bit small, but I thought I'd give it a try. I was glad for the push and pleased with the results. I'm leaning very heavily towards doing a full sized work.

Two of Bruce Seeds' work:
The Deep


The inspiration of Bruce Seeds' work led to my own take on it... 

The "ugly Christmas fabric challenge" mentioned in the article was a guild challenge to any member who wanted to participate. You received a piece of this fabric and were challenged to make something with it. It's always good to force yourself be creative, so I accepted a piece of fabric.

I stacked 6 identical pieces, sliced them into equilateral triangles, then played with each set to find the kaleidoscope effect I liked best. Once two sets of three were stitched for each hexagon, I played with them until I found a grouping I liked. I didn't have enough fabric to do a center piece, so I dug in my stash and found a piece of maroon velvet to complete the project (leftover from a costume I made for a First Lady Lucy Hayes re-enactor!).
I liked how it came out. My mother bought some large print fabric on a family vacation to Hawaii which she's made into stack-n-whack quilt squares. She's currently putting it together. I lucked out and she left the fabric at my house, so this Fall or Winter, I'm going to attempt my own version. Yikes! When did I decide to do quilting??

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