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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.

More recently, I wanted to experiment making designs the way I had read about, the way ancient Islamic tile makers created. I am always captivated by raw talent and hand craftsmanship, therefore I wanted to invest the time to learn how to use just 3 simple tools, a ruler, a compass and highlighters to design geometric patterns. Sounds easy, right? Well it wasn't. But I was determined. I created almost like these craftsman did, starting with an underlying grid of circles, squares and lines. The designs then started to emerge on top of that underlay. It was thrilling! The combinations, duplication, weaving and interlacing can create an infinite number of geometric designs. Creating endless unique designs, and in my eyes these amazing designs translated to art quilts.

I have no doubt that I have steered my form of mosaic art quilting off in an incredible new direction and I look forward to every twist and turn as I journey along that road.

Upcoming Workshops

If you want to learn more about designing Moroccan Mosaic Quilts, I am teaching about some of the history, design, assembly and quilting of a 9” x 9” Moroccan quilt tile or if you want join me in any one of my other Mosaic quilt classes here are a few of my upcoming classes:

MQX Quilt Festival - New Hampshire - April 2020

AQS QuiltWeek – Paducah - April 2020

New Janome Maker Project – Valentine’s Papel Picado

Share a little love with this sweet digital cutter and sewing machine Valentine’s Day project. Did you know that stringing up Papel Picado flags in your home can be a reminder to celebrate affection and the joys of living? Papel Picado is a name given to a Mexican folk art where originally decorative flags were meticulously hand cut out of 30-40 layers of tissue paper (china paper) using chisels and hammers. Each flag depicted intricate details depending on the intended celebration. A tradition that is still carried on today. These beautiful flags are hung as colorful decorations across buildings, altars and streets to celebrate secular, religious and other special celebrations in Mexico and in other countries. In honor of this love-filled holiday, using this design created in the Simple Cut software along with the Artistic Edge digital cutter and your Janome sewing machine you can create your own delicately detailed flags out of fabric to celebrate the joys of life and love. Check out Janome’s blog here or Find the Instructions on my blog here.

This year is one of those monumental years in life, I am turning 50! Hard to believe, it’s true and there’s no escaping it. The inspiration for these detailed flags came as I was helping my hubby plan my party. As I was standing in the lobby of one of this Mexican restaurant making the arrangements, above my head were these delicately detailed and colorful tissue paper flags, which I now know are called Papel Picado.

Well, that’s all I needed for inspiration…I came home and whipped up a design on my computer and using my digital cutter, cut my own pretty little flags to celebrate love and the joy of living!

Happy Valentines!

And Cheers,


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