Shells

This week, I visited Bradwell-on-Sea in Essex. Beyond the village is a beach on an estuary. There are areas of marsh, shells, sand and mud with the sea beyond.

Just back from the beach is a very old building, which is reached by a long footpath. You can just see the sea on the horizon in the distance.

This is the Chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall. This is where St Cedd built a chapel and founded a monastery on the site of a former Roman fort in AD 654 . Cedd sailed from Lindisfarne (in what is now Northumberland) and landed in Essex , with the intention of bringing the Christian gospel to the area. The church is still standing.

It has a beautiful simplicity within and a quiet, peaceful atmosphere.

On the beach beyond the church are many, many shells.

Shells on the beach at Bradwell-on-Sea

The colours and shapes are so attractive.

I have always loved shells and have used them often in the past as inspiration for artwork and for design. This is one of the fabrics I designed (called ‘Cephalopods’). You can get it here.

‘Cephalopods’ by Amanda Jane Textiles

To make this design, I began by drawing and painting shells from my own collection, some of which can be seen on the corner of the quilt in the photo at the end of this post.

For some time I have been planning to make a quilt featuring this fabric and celebrating the colours and the curved shapes of the shells. Well, it’s done! Here it is:

‘ She Sells Sea Shells’ quilt

‘She Sells Sea Shells’ (apart from being the start of a tongue-twister that concludes ‘on the sea shore’) is also the title of the new quilt pattern. The quilt uses curved pieces (as seen in the photo above) and the pattern explains exactly how to deal with stitching a convex (bending out) shape to a concave (bending in) shape.

Now I live so near the sea in Kent, it is easy to go to the beach here for the photo-shoot. The picture above was taken in Margate. As you can see, the colours of the quarter-circle contrast fabrics pick up the colours of the background fabric – soft colours of grey, cream, peach, pink and terracotta.

She Sells Sea Shells quilt (detail), showing the corner of the quilt with the shells that inspired the background fabric of the quilt

The pattern is available now, in the Etsy shop here.

Published by Amanda Jane Textiles

I am a quilt-maker, designer, writer and teacher.

Let me know what you think!

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