Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tiles of Santa Fe!

I love tile patterns, but I think you know that! The first thing I did when landing at the airport in Albuquerque was to take pics of the southwestern designs of the tiles in the ladies rest room.

Last night, after being dropped off at my hotel in Santa Fe, and discovering that the hotel had a complimentary shuttle at my service, I hitched a ride back down to the Plaza area so that I could walk around and capture more images! I had tiles on the brain, and I found a lot more to whet my appetite!

Tiles are not just on walls….they are in entrance ways on the floor…and you have to be sure to open your eyes and look around you or you just might miss some interesting ones along the way!

That amost happened with this one --- it was tucked behind a closed door to a shop!

Don't you think that it almost has a Frank Lloyd Wright feel to it?

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Isn’t this cool? I love the positive/negative almost 3-D look! And those square in a square units in each arrow? VERY nice!

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Look at these gorgeous tiles on this staircase! Isn’t it beautiful? I loved the weathered woods of the banisters and other details mixed with the tiles as well.

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A couple of stairwells had a flying geese look to them……from this one…to this one:

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It’s just a quilter’s delight to walk around and see these details! Come on, admit it --- they’d have you plotting and planning and smiling too! I also loved the colors of the painted accents here and there….this bright blue is wonderful! I also loved the turquoise, and the periwinkle against the color of the adobe buildings.

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Lots of blue and yellow! HAPPY COLORS!

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I loved the border at the top of this one….I’m imagining a kitchen wall all tiled with these….what a happy place that would make!

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This wall had some renegade orphan tiles down in the bottom corner! Of course, I love that cheddar-y gold….and cobalt blue? Bring it on!

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These solid blue tiles were accented with a vine-y curly-que border! Pretty!

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These crisp white tiles are just accented here and there with floral and bird tiles. Do you see how the border is the same flower motif, only smaller? Think how this could work in planning quilt borders too! Changing the scale of the design can add interest!

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How about some chile peppers around a round entrance? CUTE!

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This door really caught my eye with the tile pictures on either side……I wonder what these old tiles could say if they could talk? How many people have they seen come and go…and that shade of the blue door? LOVE IT! Here’s some close ups of the side panels:

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Love the star looking block medallions, and the dotted circles that frame them!

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Do you see the little spacer tiles that are added to the top and bottom of the center tile image? Don't we sometimes do that when trying to make pieced blocks fit around a printed panel?

These tiles are such works of art, and they really inspire me in so many ways!

First off..how many of you stopped to think that they are all hand painted? And though they somewhat look identical to each other, in fact, each one has its own imperfections making it unique amongst all the others? For instance, look at the starry ones above. Even the dots surrounding the center motifs are not exactly spaced. Some centers might be a bit OFF center….but yet when displayed together they create a beautiful whole that is far better than the sum of its individual parts.

Can we apply this to our quilting? Absolutely! STOP worrying that this seam or that one is a thread width '”OFF!” It’s not about the imperfections in ONE block by itself that a quilt should be judged or even viewed by. The quilt top needs to be viewed as a whole, from about 6 feet away in order to fully appreciate what each individual block does in playing its part in this symphony of fabric, color, contrast and design.

Hand crafted does not, will not ever mean PERFECTION. The pursuit of excellence is worthy, the pursuit of perfection is INSANE. IMPOSSIBLE…..

I prefer hand crafted over ANYTHING that is computer driven perfect, dye cut identical in every way.

And to me it’s the individual differences that I see block to block to block that remind me of how we as individuals make up such a beautiful whole. Why should a quilt be so perfect that it resembles an army of robots marching in formation, but with no soul?

Relax! Do the best you can, but allow yourself the little differences that make our creations as individual as we are.

Find beauty and creativity everywhere you can, and by all means, if you can get to Santa Fe, DO IT! You will be INSPIRED!


  1. Anonymous7:39 AM EDT

    I love that comment, Bonnie, "symphony of fabric, color, contrast and design". Very well stated. The pics of the tiles are beautiful, look at how often blue and yellow are used. While in Aruba a couple years ago, I did the same thing...took pics of the tiles at the Riu where we stayed, with the intention of quilting something like them as a memory.
    Have a great day and safe return home.
    Faye Bushey

  2. "You know you're a quilter when..." -- when you take pictures of tile floors (and in this case, walls)! I did just that when I revisted Mizzou at the beginning of the month. Design inspiration is indeed everywhere.

  3. I absolutely love that you take the time to stop and see the beauty around you. I often get in such a hurry, rushing from here to there, that I forget to do that. Thanks for your frequent reminders!

  4. Very well said Bonnie... I am stealing a small portion for my FB post today...

    "The pursuit of excellence is worthy, the pursuit of perfection is INSANE. IMPOSSIBLE….."

    Take Care,

  5. Love the tiles. We go through Santa Fe nearly every year but never get to stop and look around. I guess I will have to whine louder so my husband will stop just to shut me up. lol

  6. Do people go UP the DOWN staircase? All were beautiful, but those pair of stairs recalled the familiar title.

  7. Having spent time in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe earlier this year, I know what you mean about these wonderful tiles. I was also inspired by the different (at least to me from the Midwest) architecture styles and colors.
    Thanks for sharing.

  8. Thank you for sharing! Enjoyed it as always.

  9. Thank you! Just what I needed as I struggle quilting a quilt that is having lots of handmade "imperfections" :c)! Hopefully when it is done, all the "unique" elements will all come together!

  10. You GO girl!!!! So true! So many of the "award winning" quilts lately have been these computer-driven pieces of perfection. Who can really attain to that perfection? Not me, and not most quilters. And really, I don't want to make quilts like that either. I much prefer the kind of quilts that women (and some men too!) have been making since time began - designed, pieced, and quilted by human hands and hearts!!!

  11. This is such a wonderful post, Bonnie! Such beautiful photos of beautiful tiles and then such wonderful words about goals of excellence but not perfection and how all our individuality makes a wonderful whole........I feel very inspired!

  12. Love, love, love the tiles...

  13. Thank you for taking the time to remind us to stop and look and listen. There is so much to be thankful for and beauty is everywhere. That second picture - definitely a Birds In The Air quilt block to me. JudyCinNC

  14. Thank you Bonnie, you have expressed my philosophy beautifully. I love the pictures. I took pictures of tiles on our trip across the US and to Ireland also. I love finding the patterns in different places.

  15. Thanks for the tile inspiration. I got the same input from Dusty Farell's class in long arm quilting. It does feel much better not to try to be perfect and just let things flow.

  16. The tiles are amazing.
    I so agree about perfection. Not happening here. That will not stop me from quilting.

  17. Anonymous11:48 AM EDT

    This struck such a chord with me that I sent the entire bottom portion to both Sweet Adeline choruses in which I sing. By changing a few quilty words to singy words, it applies perfectly to the craft we too try to create to perfection. (You got full credit, Bonnie!) I'm already getting feedback, the most touching of which read: "I'm in tears. It is what I needed to hear so badly." You've affected many lives with your insight, Bonnie.

  18. Love the quotation about excellence and perfection. We need to hear that repeated often!
    Beautiful tiles abound in Santa Fe, don't they!

  19. I too love tiles and have lots of photos of them. I get great quilt ideas from them

  20. AMEN! May I add that it applies to all of us in life. We all with our imperfections add to each others lives. I LOVE to see the quilts from your workshops you teach. They INSPIRE me! Each has its beauty, each is completely different, but they are wonderful. Look when you take your little orphan blocks and make masterpieces with them. And finally thanks for helping me look at the place I live with different eyes. I don't so much love the southwest, but you have made me want to skip right over to Santa Fe and check out that wonderful history! THANKS Bonnie you are AWESOME

  21. Amen, Bonnie! I do a lot of machine quilting on my home sewing machine. Someone once asked me "How do you get each leaf to look the same as the others?" My answer--you don't, each leaf in nature does not look like the other. Don't set a standard that's impossible to attain.

    I enjoy quilting and get much more done since I gave up on perfectionism.


  22. Anonymous4:06 PM EDT

    Bonnie- you inspire me daily! Working 40+ hours a week, i squeeze my quilting in when I can and am finlly learning to live with my "imperfections".


  23. Since you now own "QUILTVILLE" I can see you designing tiles for home uses. At least you could get some for your own home...how cool would that be?
    My SIL does stained glass for homes being built. All original designs...too cool.
    XOXOXOXO Subee

  24. Anonymous7:36 PM EDT

    Thanks for the BLOG today. I really NEEDED to read that. Current project is taking more patience than usual.

  25. Anonymous12:43 AM EDT

    Ilove the pics! I hope you're ok though. You don't sound like yourself today at all. Still sick maybe, and tired of travelling? Get well, maybe you should go on a cruise Hahaha.

  26. Love to see all tiles Bonnie

  27. Love the tiles. I, too, take photos of tiles, floors, carpets, etc. Best way to capture a design for future use. I also have a whole bunch of photos of tin ceiling tiles for "someday".

  28. loved to see the tiles but mostly I'm impressed by your quote: RELAX ....
    I'll that my Dear Jane students!
    thanks Brigitte


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