Wednesday, October 15, 2014


An exercise based around the idea of the grid got me animated over the past couple of weeks.  It is a HUGE area to explore, so I decided just to keep to elements close to hand.  I started with my diminishing but still substantial postcard collection, which provided me with lots of material, but I chose the work of Gunta Stolzl to think about.
She was a weaver, prominent in the Bauhaus group, and I wonder how much inspiration she gave to fabric designers Collier Campbell, whose work I have also long admired.  (Coincidentally I discovered that there is currently an exhibition of quilts inspired by the Bauhaus.)
In considering grids the challenge is to eliminate, to think about what it is that entices, what might possibly work for me. 
I am attracted to photographing grids, such as this path of broken shells:
But mostly the grids which seem to attract me most to photograph are accidental,
or distortions.
I used grids directly when I was designing patterns for my knitting machine.  Here are some doodles showing the template,
and here is an actual design.
Early in my stitching career I did use galvanized mesh (meant for making pet cages!) in some of my pieces - perhaps I was feeling particularly caged at the time?!
Discomforter: Rough edges (detail)
Measured response (seen framed)
Sharper (made with pieced felted knitwear triangles, flint, and stitched cotton figures)
Sharper (detail)
And in my printmaking I have used grids, either whole-ish, or broken.
Piano player (drypoint with chine collé)
Figures (drypoint with chine collé)
Tilt (drypoint with chine collé)
At the end of this current exercise I used a couple of broken grid ideas to come up with this:
which could well be the beginning of something worth taking further.


  1. You're right about grids being a huge area to explore. I played a bit with the concept early on in my transition from contemporary to art quilter and hardly scratched to surface. Grid lines then started showing up a lot as tightly spaced quilting lines in a lot of my work - still love that look. You're reminding me I should get back to that explorations! My favorites from the photos here: the distorted shadows cast by the grillwork on that window and the last picture of your own work - the broken grid lines so effective in relaying the story.

  2. Grids are indeed wonderful and full of potential. These are fantastic - especially the broken grid at the end -very powerful sense of escape.

  3. Sheila - I think the most interesting thing that came out of the exercise for me was working out how to make the grid work for me. I'm so glad that you see the grid as an essential explicator in the final pic.

    Thank you Margaret. It is only when I put together all these grids used in my work that I realised just how close to home my work really is.

  4. A fascinating concept/exercise. I love the last picture which I think needs taking further.

    I am not familiar with Gunta Stolzl's work but must remedy this - what you have posted looks wonderful.

  5. Eirene, Gunta Stolzl's work still looks contemporary. The Bauhaus women are not remembered nearly as well as some of the men.