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What remains? Snow Melt.

Allison James

 What remains?


I liked this prompt a great deal. It was both specific and non specific and encouraged me to think of all sorts of possibilities for a quilt.

At first I considered derelict buildings – what remains after people have left and decay sets in. I also found some beautiful painted walls, where old paint was peeling off to reveal layers of different colours. I even thought of what remains after quilts have been finished – all the scraps of fabric and thread ends.


However, one day in late November  2023 it snowed here in the UK. It was light enough to cover the ground but not really heavy enough to stay. As later I looked out of my window into the garden I saw that a curious pattern had developed on the flag stoned surface of the patio. The snow had begun to melt in quite uniform ways, leaving dark circles in the centre of the snow covered flags. I have never seen this before and still have no explanation of why certain patches of snow remained and others didn’t. I had found my subject matter.




I began by sketching the shapes both of the snow and the spaces left by the snow and then cut these out in paper to create a collage. I liked the almost monochrome / black and whiteness, the cold stillness of the photographs that I had I taken, so I chose to recreate this colour way in my quilt. Using cotton, a shiny synthetic fabric and net,  the quilt captures the different stages that the melting snow went through as it gradually disappeared. The shapes were fused onto the grey background fabric, using turned appliqué to give a slightly raised edge. The black quilting lines trace out the pattern of melting icicles, and white the hand stitched french knots suggest the ways in which snow both accumulates and melts away. What remains depends on the  moment one looks……



Snow Melt

24" x 32"





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