As I was browsing through our patterns section, searching for quilt patterns with a fresh, modern aesthetic, I came across the work of Cyrille Zellweger. Cyrille’s work is so fresh, bright, and fun, I couldn’t help but reach out to talk to her about her inspiration, her process, and how her customers react to her designs.
When I asked Cyrille about the inspiration for her designs, she had this to say:
"I think the selection of fabrics is a great part of the process that makes a block look fresh, more traditional, or like any style that you want, all from one design. And this is the fun part, as each sewer has his/her own style and way to interpret a block.
Concerning the design itself, the shapes and lines, paper piecing allows more possibilities than it seems. I consider the technical limitations as a good challenge in the creative process and I love that. My background as an architect and a graphic designer helps me for sure, but the work of great illustrators is also a good source of inspiration. I collect some illustrator’s books and I love how they are rooted in their time. I particularly admire Ivan Bilibine, Arthur Rackham, and Charley Harper among others. I have 4 or 5 interpretations of Alice in Wonderland on my bookshelf and it is amazing how the same tale can have several lives throughout time.
Tim Burton’s movie offers yet another interpretation of Alice. Most creators are naturally influenced by their time. The same goes for quilters, and fabric designers too. It is so exciting to work with old designs and tales, and to figure out how you feel about them and how you interpret them today. This is a process where everybody is involved: the fabric designers, the pattern designers and the quilters. And we have the pleasure to admire some great results on so many wonderful quilters’ blogs!"
I love the idea of reinterpreting historical tales and legends through a modern lense, especially with influence from Tim Burton films! I also asked Cyrille how her customers respond to her offering up patterns for single blocks, rather than whole quilts, and how they tend to use the block patterns (in small projects, or lots of pattern combined into larger projects.)
Cyrille responded with the following:
"I receive a lot of feedback and pictures from my customers, and I would say that most often they use my blocks individually and in a wide range of projects: cushions, wall hangings, table mats, pot holders, but also bags.
They also often use one block repeated with different fabrics to make wall hangings, crib or bed quilts. For example, the Matryoshka block is perfect for this kind of quilts. But some of them also make great combinations of blocks. I like to see combinations that I did not think of. Customers often tell me the story around their project: whom it is for, what they want to commemorate or celebrate with my patterns.
Most of the time, quilters sew for others. I like it. This way, one block provides fun and pleasure to several people!"
Cyrille is so talented and amazing, that I just don’t want to miss anything she does! As a final question, I asked her if she had anything new on the horizon:
"Oh yes! Several new fun things are on the map. First of all: another baby (due date in January) so the entire family is excited about it! And that alone is a good reason to sew more quilts! I also have a list of future patterns that I would like to design. And it is not a short list, maybe 40 or 50 blocks and quilts patterns.
To let you know a little more, there will be a cat, an eagle, a goat, cake and food blocks, more ethnic/folk blocks, a Christmas set, a camping/outdoor set, and more woodland blocks too. Plus, a project book for 2013 that will be about paper piecing, including quilting patterns. It seems like I will be very busy!"
Here are just a few of Cyrile’s adorable quilt block patterns: