I love the trust that comes when working with creative people who are really into what they do. When I approached Toronto quilter Brandon Wulff about a small project I had in mind, he was immediately on board. I had been looking for ways to bring quilting into my designs and came across his work when my friend Tommy Smythe commissioned him to quilt a headboard. It was a beautifully expressive way to integrate textural softness into a piece of furniture. That idea stuck with me for a long time.
Brandon’s work is fascinating to me for a few reasons. While he is an excellent stitcher, he also works interpretatively, which isn’t typical of most quiltmakers. Traditional quilters aim for perfection in every stitch. His approach is the opposite. He has a keen eye for colour and proportions, but his style of working is intuitive. Like me, he is at his most creative discovering a project’s physical creation through the process of making it.
We also value mistakes and how slight irregularities reveal the warmth and richness of something handmade. Brandon was diagnosed with autism at 46 and took up quilting shortly after. For him, the whole point of his quilts is the imperfections. Each stitch is a meaningful expression of healing emotional wounds. That idea led me to work with him on this series of patch quilts centred around hearts, a symbol I have drawn a million times since I was a kid.
The patch quilts are not a typical project. They are more of a playful experiment where I learn more about quilting and Brandon’s way of working. I selected textile off-cuts from various interior projects that our studio has recently completed, and Brandon added his own fabrics. We both liked the idea of working on a manageable scale and keeping the patches loose by leaving the outer edges unfinished. Also, using different thread colours and stitching techniques to create visual and textural layers. Brandon added other flourishes, like stitching smaller hearts beneath the main heart or adding a three-dimensional puff to a few of them with a handful of batting.
I love the outcome. Each patch is weird, free, expressive, beautiful and entirely unique. Ultimately, they have convinced me to work with Brandon on a much larger scale, including upholstering an ottoman with his quilting. More on that later. For now, our six patch quilts are exclusive one-offs, with proceeds of each sale going to the SickKids Foundation.
photography by Patrick Biller
Every patch quilt has been sold. We are so thankful for the support.