Joan Brailsford – Squares

City rooftops

My idea for this challenge came from images of city skyscrapers and rooftops when seen from above. It always struck me that rather than being flat, these roofs have many industrial looking structures and shapes on them. I also wanted to suggest that where the city ends, suburban areas from above also contain blurred notions of swimming pools, and housing complexes.

I used a plain white background and cut squares from a number of commercial and space-dyed fabrics, which I bonded on to about two-thirds of the background, in a random and sometimes overlapping way. I drew several part-squares and lines within the spaces between these squares and in the remaining third of the background (the suburbs), using ink and a cocktail stick. I wetted the some of the lines in the suburbs so that the ink would bleed and create smudged pools. I added a variety of beads and sequins to simulate the structures on top of the roofs, and added a few  hand-stitches. The quilting was done by machining around the ‘buildings’ in matching threads, before adding more squares on top of the suburbs and around the city blocks using a white cotton thread to give a more subtle square design.


Close up views:


Keywords:  city skyscrapers, rooftops when seen from above, beads and sequins, commercial and space-dyed fabric, square design,

  1. Wished I could enlarge the photos to see the details on this one more closely. I really like the use of negative (white) space as well as shape and colour, and the smudges for pools is very effective.

  2. studiociboulette

    I love the composition of your piece, everything is well complemented from piecing to quilting. beautiful…

  3. I like the contrast between the simple composition and all the details that give life to the buildings.

  4. This is almost a modern quilt with all the negatieve space. So nice how you did the composition in complementary colors. The quilting is very effective. I love the “pools”.

  5. Great inspiration and a very striking piece, very effective. Well done!

  6. Striking modern quilt.Love it.

  7. The complementary colours, negative space and composition together makes for a beautiful quilt. Your embellisment and embroidery finishes it off. I love the rooftop idea.

  8. English quilter

    A great multi-faceted interpretation of modern urban and suburban living. The complementary colors work well. The white background provides divisions and resting places. The beading adds unexpected “pops” of texture. A terrific interpretation.

  9. What more to say, it is lovely Joan and it is you too. Love the bright colours on the lightvbackground and the whole design is beautiful, my compliments!

  10. What an interesting idea! Love the fabric selection and the subtle whittle quilting.

  11. You have created a beautiful birds eye view of a city/suburban landscape. The colors, quilting and embellishments brings it all together perfectly. Well done!

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