“Chinoiseries” – a Silk Quilt for your Bedroom
June 4, 2008
Did I tell you that I created whole-cloth quilts, entirely hand quilted? Probably not. But I did. Even quite a few – as a kind of relaxation program after the wood work. Wood carving is quite challenging for the body and after a couple of hours you get really tired. So I looked for something that is physically less demanding and could be done while looking TV. I found quilting exactly the right thing for me.
I discovered this by accident. I did not even know what that really was, when I visited one of those annual craft fairs in Munich, where I saw a small exhibition of original Amish quilts. I got hooked when I saw that delicate patchwork and the wonderful quilting patterns they were quilted with and I learned what the word “quilt” meant. Home again I bought 2 books about quilting.
Well – I had some experience with sewing as I had designed and sewn quite a lot of clothes for myself and friends. I have even designed and created some really exclusive clothes for kids. So sewing was nothing new to me.
So my first quilt was a patchwork quilt made entirely from square silk pieces, that I adorned with various brocade ribbons and also some embroidery. But I realized soon that this was not what I wanted to do really because I was sitting at the sewing machine all the time. This was physically not relaxing at all.
So for the next piece I switched over to a whole-cloth quilt also made entirely from silk and completely hand stitched i.e. hand quilted with a nice feather pattern and others that I designed myself. But this was not the end of all. I wanted a new challenge.
Thinking of some exclusive furniture in Asian style such as the Tibetan Dragon bed I wanted to create a silk quilt with an extravagant quilting pattern, that was reminiscent of those ancient ornaments and patterns you can find on ancient Chinese porcelain. And so I started to draw ornaments and motifs for a new whole cloth quilt for a huge king sized bed.
Well – I think I really need not tell you anything about the history of quilting – the heirlooms you can find in the US tell us their own amazing story – and I know that in many families the tradition of quilting goes over several generations.
As I already said – I have no deeper relationship to quilting as I just stumbled over this amazing art and craft medium a few years ago. So you may forgive me if I approach this in a pragmatic and less emotional manner.
I called my quilt “Chinoiseries” because it should be reminiscent of the preferences of the 18th century in Europe where everything “Chinese” or “Asian” was totally trendy. People were fascinated by exotic ornaments and everything that was simply foreign. It was also the time of the great travels and discoveries of old cultures. And of course whoever was part of the high society loved silk and other precious materials. Up to today silk has that aura of something very special.
I also love silk although it is not really as precious any more as it was. Thank heaven it is handy for nearly every budget in the meanwhile although it never quite lost its magic and that tiny touch of luxury. Silk definitely has something magical: its shimmer and smoothness cannot be created with artificial fibers even if the textile industry says something different. Silk can be cool and it can be warm. Silk breathes, refuses to keep smells (you will hardly be able to make silk stink!). You see – I am a total silk addict!
Another special attribute of silk is the light and shadow play you can create with quilting silk. The quilting lines create a sort of relief – if you use a light fluffy volume batting. That’s a wonderful effect because wherever your light source is coming from the patterns of your quilt will always look different as well as the colour of your silk.
Back to the quilt “Chinoiseries“.
(click on the image for enlargement)
The quilt you can see in above image has been entirely hand quilted.
First I made a couple of sketches to design the whole composition. After that I made detailed drawings which were then transferred into templates (made from transparent foils for multiple usage and paper for single time usage).
All the ornaments and motifs were then transferred on the silk with a very soft pencil.
You can see the drawings in pic 3 (click on the image)
After having finished the transfer of the patterns and motifs, batting and backing were added to the top, loosely stitched in a grid over the whole piece in order to keep the 3 layers in place during the quilting. You can see bits and pieces here (pic 3 and pic 4):
Pic 4 also shows the detailed and filigree quilting patterns, finished in about 300 hours, a lot of work but very satisfying also to a result that is worth while to go on any luxury bed.
I decided to part with it now and offer it for sale.
As I already said before – quilting on silk creates a wonderful light and shadow play on the cloth. There is no comparable fabric with which you could achieve the same results. And although the quilt itself is relatively thin – I really used a very thin volume batting – it can hold a lot of warmth, which is never getting uncomfortable as it happens with polyester or other artificial fabrics.
The next close-up image shows what I am talking about:
The last image gives you another impression from the quilting and how decorative the whole piece has become:
This Quilt is for sale. If you have any questions regarding this or any other piece of work please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your questions will be answered within 24 hours. Promised!