Flipping though Physics World magazine , I turned a page and caught my breath; there was the tiniest picture of the most beautiful quilt. I still, several hours later, cannot quite find words with which to explain how awe inspiring, how wondrous these quilts, made by Kate Findlay, are.
But what was a picture of Kate’s quilt doing in a physics magazine? Well, it turns out to be one of a series which she has made themed around the LHC. There are 20 quilts (so far) in the series, some inspired by particular particle detectors, and some inspired more generally by the science of supersymmetry, dark matter and particle physics. ‘Atom – Silver’ (pictured above) is based on the structure of Ag, while Atlas (below) is based on images of the ATLAS detector.
What initially caught Kate’s eye were the symmetry, repeating motifs, and colours present in CERN’s images, and I agree that quilting is a perfect medium to reflect those ideas – Kate’s mixed textures of silks, satins and sheers really capture the source material, the pieces feel modern,full of hope and wonder. Kate also cites the vastly disparate scales that any physicist works with as a source of inspiration – and I for one can see how the juxtaposition between atoms and astronomy, and the interplay between the two, is a captivating concept.
The early pieces from the series incorporate wire, card, beads,and other mixed media to further play with texture, while the more recent pieces are traditional 3 layered beauties. Kate has experimented with screen printing and dyeing to personalise her fabrics, and of course this adds yet another dimension to the quilts.