Joan Brailsford – Series #1 – Black and white – Treescape

For this series I chose trees as my subject (to be interpreted throughout the series), because I am always drawn to their shapes, forms and textures. I feel that they can be interpreted in an infinite number of ways, which I believe will give me scope to at least partially explore design in each of the series pieces.

I found the black and white challenge surprisingly freeing, because most of the decisions about colour were removed, and I could focus on the design. I knew that I wanted the background to be white and that I wanted to make it interesting with unusual mark-making, so I set to it with abandon! I made a stamp using several cardboard tubes (the inside of loo rolls!) fastened together with an elastic band, and printed the grassy area using black acrylic paint. I used the same paint but with broccoli florets to the speckled areas around the top of the bushes. I printed with sequin waste dipped in black acrylic paint to form irregular patches of hexagons. I used black Gutta to draw in the branches and clumps of bushes, and finally I splattered the piece with black writing ink.

For the tree trunk and branches I used black felt a little bit of commercial printed fabric, and couched down thick black cotton thread. Then I created paper pieced hexagons using printed commercial fabrics, and created random groups of  mini-hexagons to suggest foliage.

To finish I used mainly hand quilting, with the exception of a few strands of ‘grass’ that were created with straight lines of white machine stitching. My quilting consists of regular white seed stitches among and around the tree branches, with minute black and white hand stitches among the speckled areas above and among the bushes. I added a few French knots, chain stitches, and running stitches among the undergrowth and bushes. I also included a few ’empty hexagon’ shapes at the edges of the leaf shapes, using white running stitches. I did not want the quilting to be too obvious because I think the background is busy enough without further ‘interruption’. I used a plain black fabric to produce a very narrow edge binding.


Close up views:



Black and white challenge, unusual mark making, groups of mini-hexagons, paper pieced hexagons, hand quilting,  black and white hand stitch, explore design

  1. Joan what a delicate and lively quilt, all the techniques combine so well I love looking at it. Bravo

  2. carolinehiggs

    This is lovely, there is so much detail that makes the whole so dainty, I love the use of the hexagons for the foliage…

  3. Joan this quilt is really you ! I like how you have mixed hexagons and prints. Your choice of fabrics for the hexagons is perfect and well balanced with the prints.

  4. Your discribtion of the stamps you used made me smile. You are a dare devil to splatter ink on your quilt. The use of hexy’s are great and your quilting is the finishing touch. A stunning result!

  5. This again is a real Joan piece. I LOVE it. So clever to use the hexagons for the foliage on the tree and what a wonderful idea to use broccoli flowers for printing. The quilting complete the picture.

  6. I love the hexagons intermixed in the piece. It gives the illusion of the presence of bees. Love it!

  7. Nice, cheery piece. The background fabric you painted works very well with your appliqued tree. Nice!

  8. Impressive and very interesting use of various techniques for a fascinating result. I love it.

  9. Love the combination of techniques you used, so bold and fearless!
    Nicely done Joan.

  10. Joan, reading your description and looking at your pictures, I almost could see you work and having fun in the process. This quilt is lovely and the combination of all your different techniques is amazing. Great job, love to see more…

  11. Wow. You are a fine fiber artist.

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