Joan Brailsford – Series #2 – Abstract: The light through the trees

My starting point for this piece was finding the space-dyed commercial fabric which reminded me so much of a misty-vague view of tree trunks in a dense forest. It looked to me like a half-light creeping through the trees so that only their shapes are discernible. I wanted to include the shapes of branches seen when you look up towards the sky, and the shape of leaves which of course determine the tree itself.

I used the dyed fabric as the whole-piece background, and used my own hand-dyed orange square on which I chain-stitched the design of the branch shapes. I added an echo line of machine quilting to emphasise the patterns of the branches, but left plain areas to form calm islands in an otherwise overgrown abstract forest (in the same way that looking towards the sky lifts the viewer out of the forest landscape).

I added squares of commercial black and white fabric that suggested to me the veins on leaves, and created leaf shapes around these with more chain-stitching. I used the same leaf shapes and a dark but sparkly thread below the trees, to give the impression of fallen leaves or undergrowth. The orange circular pieces can be thought of either as cross-sections through cut wood, or as the sun casting it’s light through the trees. I used more hand-dyed fabrics for these with running stitches and chain stitches.

The forest background uses machine quilting to further suggest the spaces between the tree-trunks and to emphasise the difference between the light and dark areas. I used wiggly vertical lines for the quilting to suggest tree bark. Finally I added some branch shapes in chain-stitch at the top of the piece, similar to those in the square, to suggest the tops of the trees.

Close up views:



overgrown abstract forest, design of branch shapes, machine quilting, chain-stitching, forest landscape, half-light creeping through the trees, leaf shapes


Series previous pieces:


  1. Love this design Joan well done the colours compliment the design as well.

  2. carolinehiggs

    This is really lovely. The use of colour and detail of stitching is excellent, a very successful result.

  3. quilterpaola

    A beautiful composition. Great choice of colours and magnificent quilting and stitching work. Charming result!

  4. Chantal GUILLERMET

    Very good use of fabric and stiching to translate your idea; great choice of colours. Bravo !

  5. So beautiful how you used the background fabric for the trees. Very good how you used black and white squares and quilted the leaves on it. The quilting of the leaves on the bottom and the top of your quilt is a great choise. Bravo!

  6. The colours, design and composition all works together to make this a really wonderful piece.
    I just LOVE it.

  7. Love at first sight, what a wonderful abstract quilt you made Joan. The colours, the design and the stitching, every thing compares. A big bravo to you!

  8. studiociboulette

    Incredible work, I love the fabrics and the composition. Congratulations.

  9. You created and beautiful abstract forest. Love all your design choices and techniques you used. Just lovely.

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