Fractal Quilts by Rose Rushbrook

Currently on display in the Connecting Corridor Gallery are a selection of Fractal Art Quilts by Rose Rushbrook.

What is a fractal?: A fractal is "a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole,".(1) image

Let’s take an example from nature, Romanesco Broccoli (Brassica oleracea) which can be described as a naturally occurring fractal. The main branches of this cauliflower relative are arranged in an ever increasing spiral curve also known as a logarithmic spiral. Each bud is composed of smaller buds that are similarly arranged in a logarithmic spiral making each branch a seemingly tiny copy of the whole.

The term fractal derives from the Latin word fractus which means “broken” or “fractured” and was coined in 1975 by French/American mathematician Benoît Mandelbrot. Mandelbrot is known as the father of fractal geometry.

DSCN0846 Fractals in Quilts: Artist Rose Rushbrooke takes the self-similarity designs of fractals and uses them as the basis for her art quilts. The artist begins with an image designed using fractal and graphic software. This image is translated to a black and white line drawing which is used to transfer the pattern to fabric.

As her media, Rose uses hand-dyed fabrics, velvets, quilting cotton, yarn, thread and ribbon. Using piecing and appliqué, the artist constructs a fractal in fabric. This fractal is then embroidered, beaded, embellished and finally sandwiched, quilted and bound to create a unique piece of mathematical art. DSCN0847

The first quilt pictured is entitled “Upon Reaching Middle Age: Grease”. The pattern is extracted from the Julia Set fractal and is executed in hand dyed and printed cotton, silk and polyester fabrics. The quilt is machine stitched and quilted in long cursive lines of the word ‘grease’ repeated again and again. Created in 2004 this quilt measures 62” x 82”.

About this quilt the artist writes: “Where did all the fat come from, the cellulite, the double chin, the dangle under the arms, the dissappearing waist? Whatever happened to the lithe and slim young body? Middle age came and the grease set in.”

DSCN0848 This next quilt is entitled “Royal Crustacean”. The pattern is an original fractal design. Executed in printed silk charmeuse, silk ribbon and embroidery floss, this quilt is hand embroidered and quilted. The finished piece measures a diminutive 18” by 14” and is mounted on a canvas frame.

About the title of this quilt the artist writes “The repetitive fractal image resembles a lobster tail and purple is the colour of royalty

You can read more about Rose Rushbrooke’s creation process for fractal quilts in this article.

About the Artist: Rose RushbrookeDSCN0850

Born in London, England. Lived abroad since 1986; moving to Antigua in the West Indies, then to Virginia and recently, Florida. Met her American husband in the Islands and relocated to the States in 1996.

Interest in modern fractal geometry led to using these fascinating images as a starting point for textile work. This artwork ranges from tiny pieces of embroidered silk; to large hand stitched fabric wallhangings.

Exhibits nationally and internationally. Five pieces were selected for 'The Marriage of Art, Science and Philosophy' exhibition at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.

Recently spent two years earning an Advanced Diploma in Character Animation.

Filmed by HGTV for 'Simply Quilts', and by Adelphia for 'Artscape'; she is no longer owed her fifteen minutes of fame.

You can learn more about the artist, Rose Rushbrooke at her website Rushbrooke Strand. These fractal quilts will be on display at MOSI until September 6th, 2010.

(1)Mandelbrot, B.B. (1982). The Fractal Geometry of Nature. W.H. Freeman and Company.. ISBN 0-7167-1186-9.

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