New Series of Moroccan Mosaic Quilts, Upcoming Quilt Classes, Maker Project-Valentine's Papel Picado

Several months ago, I became completely infatuated with various forms of ancient tile artwork. From Zellige of Morocco to Azulejo of Portugal to Talavara of Mexico and also the mathematical geometric wonders of Islamic tile work. Each form of tile art is not only fascinating in design but rich in history. Already having a love for mosaics, I believe that it was only a matter of time before I had discovered these other types of tile artwork. But the discovery did more than excite and expand my knowledge, it gave birth to a new style of mosaic quilt designs, which I refer to as Moroccan Mosaic Quilts.

Looking back, I feel that my creative muse was directing me long before I had even realized it. As I came across this older design, created in 2017. While it is nothing special, it clearly indicates that I had an interest in this type of small, detailed and repetitious pattern early on.

But it actually came to fruition while I was experimenting with non-figurative mosaic designs as I worked on developing teaching samples such as smaller quilt designs and other types of quilted projects. My first non-figurative quilt designs started out in a more painterly style.

Very quickly I realized that this painterly style of mosaic quilting had its challenges. Especially in working with a digital cutter and vector designing. For one, the very narrow paint lines and blending of colors was often, time consuming to dissect and to create and color a vector drawing from. But this didn’t stop me from exploring and creating other types of non-figurative mosaic designs. This is a quilt was created specifically for Janome’s 2019 Education Conference gallery exhibit. Working from one of my original photographs, I specifically gave this quilt a more abstract feel to its design.

While both styles, painterly and abstract are appealing to me, my focus narrowed in on a more specific form. It came as a result of spending some serious time at my computer, playing and drawing with original vector designs, meaning designs that were not traced from my hand drawn mosaics of photographs. It was during this dedicated time, that my Moroccan Mosaic quilt designs emerged. First, using the Simple Cut software (included with Janome Artistic Edge digital cutters), I began designing using the array features of the software, creating circular and rectangle array designs and repeating patterns. Desiring some additional features and controls over my designs, I moved to creating in Corel Draw and Adobe Illustrator. I experimented with symmetrical, mirroring and repeating pattern options. That sense of balance which I was witnessing in my designs along with a continuation of what I already was comfortable with, creating small intricate shapes, pushed me to want to explore more with the new designs I was making.

It was then that I turned to research and education. I purchased books and read about Islamic, Arabic, Portuguese and Mexican tile artwork. I learned that each culture has its own fascinating history and application of this art form. The complexity, engineering, patterns, colors and detail of each was mesmerizingly beautiful to me.

Armed with new knowledge, I practiced drawing my own motif tile designs. First experimenting with an all over repeating motif. This one was of fall leaves.

Then, I worked with a combination of two different but interlocking and repeating patterns. I hand sketched each block design, turned them into vector files and selected a color scheme. From this point, the process was just like any other mosaic quilt I had ever made. I used the digital cutter to cut my fabric pieces and puzzled the pieces together to create my first larger Moroccan Mosaic quilt. I was so ecstatic with my final creation. I knew it was beautifully done and that excitement fueled my internal fire and since then I have created 3 additional Moroccan Mosaic quilt designs.