Mission Statement

This blog journals my quest of art, whether it is a piece of work that is inherent in nature or one created by artists known or unknown or that I created myself. During this search, I have come to appreciate the magnificence and generosity of God who in his infinite wisdom surrounded us with exquisiteness everyday...everywhere and inspired our human spirit to create beauty that feeds our bodies and souls. Come join me on my journey to find art through my travels and my own creative endeavors. Maraming salamat.

All rights to all posts and contents on this blog, including photos and artwork are reserved by jojo sabalvaro tan.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Windmills of Your Mind Quilt

Windmills of Your Mind Quilt (37 1/2" by 67")
by jojo sabalvaro-tan, 2011

I finally finished this quilt that I have been working off and on for about five years. I was pretty sure it was destined to be one of those UFOs (UnFinished Objects). It was the first time I stepped away from the so-called traditional quilts into a more artsy piece. I've made several small art quilts at the same time I was working on this, but I must admit that I am partial to the traditional quilt designs. As I was working on this project, this quote kept running through my head, "You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star." It is by German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche(1844-1900), I almost gave the quilt his name. Instead, I chose the name 'Windmills of Your Mind' inspired by the song with the same name (see note below) since to me the quilt represented the chaotic swirling that you have in your brain when the world seems out of sorts. When I started this particular quilt, I had several friends who were going through some difficult transitions in their lives and I used the process of making the quilt as a way to think about and pray for them. It became very meditative, a sort of prayer quilt.

Circle detail

New York Beauty block template

The Windmills of Your Mind quilt featured circles made from the convex section of the New York Beauty blocks. I paper pieced the block using templates adapted from the book Karen K. Stone Quilts and took four of the fan-shaped components of the NY Beauty block and made them into circles. I did not remove the paper templates until I had the circles put together to ensure a flat surface since I am working with curves. To learn more the paper piecing method, please visit Start Quilting.

More detail, showing lettering

The fabrics I used on the circles were mostly brightly colored polka dot prints drawing on the circle theme. Bright colors were chosen to symbolize hope. The background is a dark batik. I machine-appliquéd the completed circles to the background using invisible thread and used variegated thread for the decorative machine stitches around the circles. To remove bulk, I trimmed the background fabric covered by the circles. Using extracted lyrics from the song "Windmills of Your Mind", letters were hand-appliquéd on the quilt for additional embellishment.

The backing fabric is a multicolored polka dot print against a green background. I hand-quilted spirals all over using Sulky brand multicolored variegated thread, the ends of which I purposely left hanging as another decorative element. I am sure there are plenty more I can do to embellish this quilt but for now, I declare it FINISHED! But then again, wouldn't some beading look good on it...hmmm.

Full View

"The Windmills of Your Mind"(press on song title to listen) ("Les moulins de mon cœur") is a song from the movie The Thomas Crown Affair (1968, re-made in 1999). The original was performed by Noel Harrison. Michel Legrand wrote the music. The English lyrics were written by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman and the French lyrics were by Eddy Marnay.


  1. You sure have TALENT

  2. It only looks complicated and chaotic but all the seeming brokeness come together to build on the piece' beauty. I witnessed the birth of these windmills and I am very proud to own one of your earlier, rougher works. The butterfly has left its cocoon xoxo