Sunday, March 18, 2012


I tossed with lots of ideas for the balance quilt, like a poem about two tightrope walkers that I would have loved to translate into an image, but got me really tangled. Then there was this saying: ‘Balance is the visual weight in design’, right down my alley! After I had sketched some designs they all were very colourful and balanced, but I wanted to dig a little deeper into this theme and try some new techniques. Then I tried to work on a feng shue like quilt, I worked out the idea of Audio Balance, a technique to feel balanced again after a burn out, which is all done with a computer programme, but none of the ideas did see the light.

So the pondering and procastination started all over again. Both my husband and I have been diagnosed in the past with vestibular neuritis (caused by a viral infection in the ear) and experienced an extreme balance disorder. So, there it was, my theme for the quilt! Vertigo! *

I painted fabric and lutradur with blue and yellow inks to obtain that (not so nice) green colour, that you get when you have vestibular neuritis. I printed a drawing of the ear and the inner ear (equilibrium) on lutradur, fused it to the fabric and stitched it down after I basted the quilt layers. With red shining paint and a thermofax screen I printed lines on the lutradur. These lines stand for the ‘short circuit’ that takes place in the equilibrium.

I used a variegated thread and elongated the screen print lines with the quilting. I was still missing the dizzy factor, so I quilted circles with another thread (no quilt without circles for me he?)

When you have this severe dizziness your eyes move rapidly from the left to the right or in circles and it feels like the world is spinning, so you can’t focus. You might experience problems with speech and sight. I stamped the words balance, giddy, tumble, woozy, speech, fuzzy, nausea and blurry in one of the circles, and stamped them again with a darker colour, to make it all a bit more blurry. Then I stamped little stars in another circle but the effect was almost nill, so I embroidered over the stars.

I wasn’t too happy with the overall result and needed something to lighten up the greenish background colour (green is my least favourite colour you know... ) and made a yellow binding with some red fabric pieces that I had painted with the SG paint.

I allowed myself too short a period of time (5 days) to make this quilt, so I miss my happy colourful self a bit, but well, you win some, you loose some.

Thanks Judy for this interesting theme that should have allowed me to work like I love most, simple and balanced but also challenged me to look further.


*(Vertigo (from the Latin Verto, ‘a whirling or spinning movement’ is a type of dizziness, where there is a feeling of motion when one is stationary. The symptoms are due to a dysfunction of the vestibular system in the inner ear. It is often associated with nausea and vomiting as well as difficulties standing or walking. There are three types of vertigo: objective − subjects are moving around the patient; subjective − patient feels as if moving himself; pseudovertigo − intensive sensation of rotation inside the patient's head. It can be caused by vestibular neuritis which is probably caused by a viral infection of the inner ear.)


  1. Well done Nicolette! I've also had the unpleasant experience of suffering from vertigo, and you have captured that feeling all to well! heehee. The spinning circles are the final touch. (This brings back memories that I hope not to repeat!)

  2. Nicolette, you did a fantastic job! Thank you for the close-ups and details on how you layered and created this. I think your yellow binding with the pop of red finished it perfectly.

  3. Nicolette, this is so different from your other pieces, and I love it! It pulls me in for a closer look, and I'm rewarded with more and more detail. Thanks for sharing your very personal journey on this one- and also the creative processes.

  4. Nicolette, i think you have created a very meaningful quilt with many layers and lots of depth. It was a topic I thought a lot about, but couldn't come up with a design for, so well done, you. I really like it.

  5. I am amazed at all the techniques you incorporated. Making it meaningful and personal was an excellent choice which also allows us to know you better and I admire your willingness to share. The circular quilting and the red lines enhance the focal point.

  6. Wow, Nicolette, you have outdone yourself on this one! You are a wonderful artist! I am sorry that you have suffered vertigo but I love your interpretation. AND I always marvel at your command of the English language!

  7. Oh my Nicolette! Live Beverly, this piece brought me in for a closer look at all of the detail you managed to portray. The central photo of the inner ear with the circular quilting and red lines really draw you in. A very intricate, imaginitive representation of the challenge!