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How did they do it? Beaumont by Bronwyn Hill

Beaumont by Bronwyn Hill
Size: 232cm x 90cm (91½in x 35½in)

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How did you come up with the idea for the quilt?
The inspiration for Beaumont came simply from the fact that I have far too much blue fabric! I love colour. I love all kinds of fabric. My beautiful sister loves to buy me fabric and she loves the colour blue. Needless to say, I have a lot of blue in my fabric collection. Normally I use as many different colours in a single quilt as I possibly can, but this time I was determined to use only one colour. I nearly achieved this, but by the time I reached the final panel of the quilt I felt instinctively that the anaemia jut had to be red and I think it really makes the whole quilt much richer.

How did the design process work for you?
The process actually began with the central panel. I had only intended to make a traditional quilt, comprising just a single piece, but after “completing” it the design did not seem finished. The whale, Beaumont, seemed trapped and I felt as if the sky and the ocean’s depth were cut off. So I decided to expand out and explore the elements of the design that were missing. I like to make quilts that are not the standard square or rectangle and the trapezoid shape adds interest to the quilt.

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Create Jemima Flendt’s Ocean Stars Quilt

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How is the quilt constructed?
I am fortunate that my daughter is a skilled draughtsman. She is very good at enlarging my small-scale designs and assisting me to construct interesting compositions from the diverse selection of stimulus material I always seem to compile.

Every quilt I create begins with an idea, or really several ideas. Then I begin to collect images and swatches of colours or patterns that resonate with me. Using this material, I make small sketches and start to experiment with possible compositions. At this stage my initial idea becomes less important to me; what matters most is the visual impact. As with all my quilts, the making of Beaumont began with a simple hand-drawn pattern on brown paper (Photo 1). Then, using a permanent marker, I traced the whole pattern onto a sheet of clear plastic (Photo 2) that is later placed over the top of the background fabric to ensure accurate placement of the collage pieces.

Brown Paper Pattern
Photo 1
Plastic Overlay Pattern
Photo 2

Perhaps the most important part of the process for me is the fabric selection. I chose a variety of blue fabrics, from dark to light and varying patterns and types of fabrics (such as cotton, chiffon, satin etc). I also selected a piece of navy blue cotton for the background that the quilt was built on. I reinforced this background piece with a light interfacing to give stability and a little extra support to avoid stretching.

Create your own version of the classic Lone Star Quilt

The quilt top is created from several hundred individually drawn, cut and placed fabric pieces. The individual pieces are traced from the original paper pattern onto the paper-back fusible web, which is then ironed onto the reverse of the fabric I usually construct as I go, concentrating on one area of the image at a time and selecting fabrics just as you would select paints or pencil. Each piece is cut out and the paper back of the fusible web removed. Then I place the pieces onto the background fabric using the plastic copy of the design as a guide. I lightly press the pieces with the iron on a very low heat so they are fixed in place, but only enough so that I can remove and reposition pieces if need be. Once I am satisfied with the overall aesthetic of the image, and often this takes numerous revisions, all the pieces are ironed down in place.

I quilted Beaumont on my domestic sewing machine, using different shades of blue thread and quilting designs that complemented and flowed with both the quilt design and the fabrics. I constructed my binding from several pieces of fabric, ranging from light to dark so that they matched the graduated tones of fabrics used throughout the quilt.

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Celebrate the marvels of the ocean with this pattern by Deb Layt

Did it turn out how you envisaged?
I am finally happy with the finished piece and I almost achieved my original goal, a single-colour quilt! 

Which awards has the quilt won?
Beaumont recently received first place in the Art Quilt category at the Canberra Quilters 2016 Exhibition and to my amazement and delight was also selected as Bernina Best of Show.