Friday, September 14, 2012


My wood quilt has been a long time in the brewing ... the tinkering.....
the carving .... and finally the assembling.
I intended to take my time with it but a part of me kept niggling...
it ought to be finished by now.

"I really do prefer to give the ideas time to surface .... and I need to work repetitively with impulses to make them part of my vocabulary or language .... a way has to be found into the rhythm that works ... quite simply". - Sophie Munns

I found my rhythm as I was creating each "patch" of the wood quilt but when it came to putting them all together I lost my way and spent many weeks pondering. Eventually I decided not to "sew" the pieces together as originally planned because the quilt was busy enough and I glued them instead. Even then it was not quite right. Another few weeks of tweaking ensued. On the day I deemed it fit for the gallery it sold to a regular customer who just happened to email me on that very day. It was meant to be!

As with a patchwork quilt made of cloth this piece has memories and stories worked into each square. You can see a few of my ideas here. I kept in mind that in Africa nothing is wasted and had fun using found objects and rusty bits that had been lying around in the bottom of boxes. I also wanted to use elements that reminded me of Africa.

(The name for the piece came to me while I was assembling it, inspired by a favourite book ... The Story of an African Farm by Olive Schreiner)

Shards from an old African pot.
Pebbles, driftwood and shells from Transkei beaches.
Cowries symbolizing feminine energy and wealth.
White seed beads symbolizing purity and protection, faithfulness, spirituality, holiness.
A carved wooden sun bristling with nails for protection.
Black and white patterns which represent the contrast of:
dark and light
good and evil
male and female


  1. It is beautiful Robyn! Congratulations on the completion of the quilt and the surfacing of a collector at just the right time!

  2. I LOVE IT! I was wondering aloud the other day as to whether we would see some of your own work soon. hooray. you've been carving!

  3. Ruth, thank you so much. I'm delighted that it is going to such a great home.

    Thanks Lyle, I heard you wondering aloud :-)

  4. Robyn - I think this is quite the most beautiful and exciting thing you have ever done - I just absolutely stand in awe of it. I am so envious of its new owner.

  5. What I love is that this seems (to me) to be "new territory" for you in your carving and sculpture. Its exciting to push and see where it takes us. There are echos and remnants of many of your former sculptures in this piece presented in a new and exciting way. What an ingenious use of your artistic language. Bravo Robyn!

    (I particularly love the square with the dark and light stripes and dots..of nail heads perhaps?)

  6. oh this is a most intriguing piece, I so want to touch it!

  7. This piece, your work, your aesthetic, your thought process and your blog are SO inspiring....every time I post something, a series of photos, artwork, or thought that I deeply resonate with...Thank You Sincerely

  8. What a wonderful piece! It has all the elements I love, wood, found objects, rust, design, put in a language(quilt) I can read. What a pleasure to see your work...wish I could touch it.

  9. I love this piece, and love seeing your work again... glad it all happened so perfectly!

  10. I'd love to run fingers over the textures of this exciting new piece Robyn. Glad you found resonance in words making sense of a slow process!
    Wonderful that on the very day the feeling it was ready coincided with a request... what a confirmation of the timing!
    I've been reminded this year that in Africa nothing is wasted... love that your work celebrates that so eloquently!

  11. It would be nice to spend time up close meditating upon the pleasure of your language; the juxtapositions the colors the softened angles, the cracks and fissure of the wood and rust. It resonates!

    Very lovely, and so much of you, Robyn. I Thanda it.

  12. That is just gorgeous well resolved and a very contemplative piece.

  13. a brilliant conception of a quilt!
    love it : )

  14. Hi Robyn, Beautiful work and congrats on finding a good home so fast! I have to comment about this, since you said "in Africa, nothing is wasted." I named my upcoming show "Nothing is Wasted"--and of course everything you say about the work taking time to emerge resonates too :)

  15. After your previous post on quilts, I was wondering when YOURS was going to be done! It is beautiful (as is all your work) and thank you for sharing!

  16. Sometimes all the accolades of "beautiful, lovely, awesome etc just don't do justice to some things... I find myself searching for something new to say - I certainly admire the time and patience you put in to your craft. It shows and is quite moving indeed.

  17. Oh how exciting to see your finished African Quilt...each patch/block a story in itself. I especially love the block with the white see beads and their meaning. So much beauty and so tactile. I just dont have the words to say how much I love your quilt. I am full of admiration.

    Jacky xox

  18. I am always blown away by the design and imagination you build into each and every work of Art you create, Robyn...
    This is so tactile... everyone who comes near it must want to rub their fingers across it. I am awe-struck!

  19. You never cease to amaze me Robyn, your timber quilt
    is a beautiful piece of art that will never date, it's timeless, such a unique statement. Love it. What a lucky owner.

  20. it's a great work you did here and the idea of ​​a quilt is well invented. I like it very much!

  21. very fine! i think it's neat how something grows slowly, sometimes frustratingly, and then it is perfectly right! it's a good piece.

  22. Gorgeous!! Would love to have this in my home! Lucky owner!

  23. What a lovely and meaningful piece, Robyn. I've made lots of non-traditional fabric quilts and your story of the pondering that went into this quilt resonates... Should this go here? What about that corner? Where's the emphasis? Will the viewer understand?
    I'm so glad it sold to someone who'll love it.

  24. I think the timing was in sync with the owner contacting you! It's beautiful and she was meant to have it. Lucky person.

  25. Oh Robyn...absolutely magnificent!!!

  26. What a beautiful work of art. Intuition and muse hand in hand sometimes in sync and other times responding to another beat. When it all comes together it is so sweet

  27. Robyn, that is so very, very beautiful. I will take a longer look tomorrow because it's past bedtime here.

    When I get balled up in work that seems to be going much too slowly, I remind myself that some things take longer to ripen than others. It's just the way of things.

    go well,

  28. it's quite amazing, robyn... the maker is always harder on themselves... but i see such interest and balance in texture, shape and color... while it is definitely 'work' - your aesthetic moves through you with such power and grace...
    have you ever journaled while making one? making note of the different pieces and what you were thinking about/what they are made of and the significance? that would really be fascinating to have along with the quilt... for it isn't just about the visual - yours is so steeped in meaning...
    well done!

  29. Robyn,

    It is stunning and worth the wait!
    And to sell it the day you finished it is magic. You can't rush good work. xoxo

  30. A beautiful creation that expresses YOU, your country, its people and its traditions...congratulations!

  31. I know it has been said by so many others here Robyn... but I will add it again, this piece of art is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! I too would love to touch and look at it in person. Exquisite work!

  32. delicious Robyn! And not supprisingly it sold as quick as it did, your work is accessible on so many levels.

  33. Daryl, thank you!

    Weaver, wow thanks so much. The owner is one of the nicest people I've met through my art .... and she owns more of my pieces than I do!

    Thanks Leslie, the stripy piece is actually a recycled piece of totem.

    Thanks Mo, it is great to touch.

    over the rainbow, I'm so glad you enjoy my blog. You've made my day. Thank you!

    Thanks Cathy, there was a stage when I thought it would never come together.

    Valerianna, thank you. It's good to be working again.

    Sophie, I saved the quote some time back and every time I read it it resonates with me.

    Thanks Carole.

    Mansuetude, yes I think it is very me, Thank you!

    Thanks Jo, there is a lot to contemplate on in this piece.

    liniecat, thanks so much :-)

    deborah, what a great name for a show! All the best for the opening.

    Thanks Heather, it was supposed to be finished for the quilt post but that never happened :-)

    SooZeQue, thank you so much!

    Thank you Jacky, the beaded X is one of my favourite blocks.

    Gwen, thanks so much. Many years ago I made a set of tiles for a blind man to serve as reference points in his new home. They were tactile but this piece is more so. I'm thinking of all the ways I could have made his tiles more tactile now.

    Ro, thank you. I feel lucky that the quilt has found the right home.

    Thanks Wim.

    Velma, Jude Hill's slow cloths inspired me 2 years ago when i created the first few "patches".

    Thanks so much Jann!

  34. Thanks Jo R, oh the pondering ..... and more pondering :-)

    Robin, this isn't the first time this has happened. She seems to sense when a new piece is ready. I'm delighted!

    Laura, thank you so much :-)

    Thanks Jan W, sweet indeed! I thought it would never come together.

    Thanks Melanie, I think this piece will help me to be more patient in future. It's far better for me to just to let things unwind at their own pace.

    Mary-Jane, thank you. I actually journalled about this piece to help me understand what i was trying to do. There were so many ways I wanted to assemble it but eventually went the simplest route.

    Thanks so much Annie. I've been thinking of you today.

    Thanks Mary Ann, it's been quite a journey!

    Kim Henkel, thanks so much. I'm amazed at the great response to a wood quilt.

    Thanks Kim S, I think it was waiting to be completed at just the right time.

  35. R-you are a wizard. The 'quilt' is magnificent. There is only one slight fault - sad for us that it is sold. Go well. B

  36. I love this work Robyn - it is strong, yet gentle (like a good woman); it exudes comfort and harmony and it just settles me if you know what mean? A truly wonderful piece, perfectly finished and as B mentions, off to a good home so I must be happy for them!

  37. I recently took a photo of the end of logs because I thought they looked like a brown quilt of squares. It's like you took that image and made it real! It's so beautiful, all of the squares interesting!

  38. It's beautiful, I love all the textures and the heart in the work.

  39. Like everyone, I am so happy to see your newest creation, Robyn!!
    To hear about the meaning and symbolism that each piece holds is so special, and I love that it found a home, and Sophie's words as well.

  40. Your work continues to amaze me and even through the computer screen I get the sense that there is so much of 'you' in each piece you create. It was no surprise that it was snatched up so quickly, simply stunning work.

  41. It truly is a quilt of wood. Robin you out did yourself. It is perfect. I love all the details that seem to talk to me. Stories to tell... Thanks so much for sharing this special piece.

  42. Congrats on the completion of your 'quilt'... no wonder you are pleased! You do such beautiful work. Goodness knows how long it took to make but the result makes it well worthwhile. Your 'quilt' is breathtaking, Robyn! I'm not surprised that it was sold so quick!

    Gaby xo

  43. This comment has been removed by the author.

  44. Sooooo amazingly beautiful, how wonderful to use MaterialsThat some people would not look twice at.

  45. That's surely kismet don't you think? You must have been sending out the vibes, too ;) Just beautiful, wonderful detail.

  46. absolutely magnificent... the details are wonderful and Sophie said it perfectly...

  47. What an amazing and beautiful work of art. Just stunning.

  48. Barry, lol.... I think this piece would give you a few headaches at Customs!(It is probably being looked over with a magnifying glass in The States as we speak)

    Fiona, strong but gentle .... I like that! Thanks so much.

    iHanna, Rosalie Gascoigne did just that! Made an assemblage with log ends.

    Hi Lori, thank you. The texture is wonderful if I say so myself :-)

    Roxanne, there is a memory attached to each square. I remember the weather, the searching for just the right attachment, the rust under my finger nails and the smell of the wood shavings.

    Thanks Kathryn, the cherry on the top is that I'm very happy with the quilts new destination. Sometimes when I put so much of myself into a piece it is heart wrenching to let it go.

    PJ, thanks so much. I'm glad you can sense the stories within the piece.

    Thanks Gaby, it actually took 2 years, but of course there were big breaks doing other work in between.

    Mieke, thank you so much. I enjoy introducing different materials and try to think out of the box.

    Emma, I must have been sending out the vibes :-)

    valerie, thank you.

    Thanks India.

    Thanks Cat, Sophie's words were just right for me at that time.

    Hi Jala, thank you so much!

  49. Very nice assemblage quilt!! Love the idea!
    I can relate in ponder on something for while before commiting to the final draft. Usually my pieces will land up sitting on a table for a while. Little by little I start pulling pieces out of it and before you know it, I have a pile of stuff that doesn't resemble anything. anymore. It's all apart of the process.
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful art!

  50. Thanks Carla. Usually I leave my work in a spot where I pass often so that it catches me off guard but this piece was too heavy to lug back and forth.

  51. Oh, Robyn, it's simply exquisite. how big is it? I would so love to run my fingers over some of the textures...

  52. I love the idea that you used rusty bits and found bits.. reminded me of Boro... how the poor Japanese years ago used bits of fabric and thread to patch their worn out jackets, shoes etc out of necessity.. and the Japanese word "mottainai" with means "waste nothing".. which you used to create your wonderful 'quilt'