Wooden Quilt (February 2019)

Dimensions: 40" x 52"

Build Time: 49 hours

Materials: birch plywood, raw canvas, multipurpose glue, gesso, acrylic paint

Inspired by the processes of traditionally constructed quilts, this sculpture was 

designed to take a contemporary approach to imitate the soft folds of fabric by using stiff materials.

Each square is 2 x 2 in., and the triangles are 2 x 2 x ___ in. A new technique called a living hinge was utilized in this piece to allow the wood to "fold" like fabric.

What inspired the final design?

Mostly images of other quilts. I looked at hundreds of them to recognize the patterns used, and settled on using three variations of star-like designs (the largest star in the center being inspired by a barn quilt) and simple pattern repeats for the remainder of the piece.

Why cut triangles instead of painting some of the squares to look like the triangle sections?

I was set on constructing this piece exactly like a normal quilt; this included mimicking the ways that fabric is cut to prepare for sewing the face of the quilt together. Most quilts and blankets are composed of triangular and square shapes, giving me two shapes of wood to work with. 

I was also interested in seeing if the triangle sections would allow for more flexibility in the finished product. 

Did you have any concerns about the overall construction?

My biggest concern during the assembly process was lining up each row with enough spacing for flexibility, but so much that large gaps would be visible between each square.

Post-assembly, I was a little worried (read: extremely worried) about how the living hinges would hold up with the weight of the plywood. The plywood I used was 1/2" thick, causing the blanket to be pretty heavy in the end. Thankfully, the glue set wonderfully and the quilt can move and flex without issues. If I ever make another wooden piece like this again though, I will definitely use 1/4" wood.

© 2020 by Elizabeth Henderson