Caro Higgs – Architecture-Snapshot of step well

For this challenge I have approached it in a minimalist manner by I  interpreting a photograph I took of a step well near Kheri Gate, Amer when I was India last year. Step wells come in different forms but I find them fascinating even if the water at the bottom is often somewhat suspect! I went down to the water level and back up again, the choice of paths is vast and it is childish fun choosing which steps to take next. There are old water marks on the stone and some parts are more worn than others and this one had the vestiges of the Holi festival on the lower steps.

I stencilled the steps and alcoves on to silk noil which I had painted and then I machine outlined the stencil. A machine embroidered line at the top to represent the carved stone work around the top and then using a sponge I added the water marks and residues. There is a very small amount of hand stitching but I decided that less is more and as the stonework is relatively smooth I didn’t want to add out of place texture, the surface of the noil was, for me, enough. I have bound the edge in white, like a photo edge but it has come up true white in the photo!


step well snapshot


step well detail

  1. joanbrailsford

    I love the idea and the minimalist design. I agree with you that less is more in this case, and the overall effect is wonderful

  2. Your interpretation is fascinating, Caro. From afar, it looks like a metal fence (we have many such fences around playgrounds and yards here in Canada)…only on closer inspection does one see the shapes as steps. As well, your technique for the watermarks on the walls is just the right touch. Very well done!

  3. Caro, how creative, I love this approach and the paint on the silk has made a great background. Bravo

  4. To have visited the place too, I can tell that the visual aspect is perfect !
    I like the way you have added the water marks and residues on the background. Very nice piece.


    Steps and watermarks, an intriguing quilt. I love your less is more idea in this piece and think you succeeded very well.

  6. English quilter

    This piece has a wonderful rhythm to it with the repeated step motifs. The minimalist design without extraneous elements is very effect. The paint on silk creates a very subtle effect.

  7. I love the repetition of the stairs. Such a beautiful rhythm.
    This and the subdued colors are giving the whole piece a mediative feeling. Well done.

  8. I love the way you stenciled the stairs and stitched the outlines. Beautiful “quiet” colors.

  9. I hadn’t heard of step wells before but i love the steps you have created. At first glance it looks like a fence but on closer inspection you can see the texture and the steps.

  10. So peaceful! This is a lovely, simple design that really shows off the patterns within the step well. I loved the well itself and I love your version of it.

  11. Step wells are new to me too, but you have depicted this one with a wonderful simplistic design, with very effective stencilling. The noil was a perfect choice for the background. Using a sponge for the watermarks created realistic detail. A beautiful piece, Caro.

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