The Butterflies & Bowties collaborative project continues with designer and textile artist Paula Nadelstern. Using her  Needle Stars collection, Paula’s Old Maid’s Puzzle blocks showcase the infinite possible combinations of fabric and shapes that are at the heart of the art of quilting.

From Paula

I love to transform quilt blocks of simple shapes into visual spectacles by gift wrapping their straightforward forms with beautiful, complex fabric. In this case, an Old Maid’s Puzzle block was used twice. Using totally different fabric combinations creates the illusion that each block is unique. Its balanced arrangement of triangles and squares turned out to be the perfect showcase for my symmetrical designs.
The arrangement of the whimsical block is composed of three colorways of Stardust, splattered like confetti and surrounding mirror-imaged triangles cut from Red-Multi Byzantium and Blue-Multi Squaredance.
The other block relies on elements harvested from the mandalas in the Needle Stars panels. The large center triangles, cut from the middle of two identical mandalas from the Red-Multi panel, connect seamlessly to smaller triangles of versatile Lime Chandelier, fussy-cut to show its symmetrical capabilities. Portions of the small scopes found along the panel’s selvages link diagonally together into an ornamental chain. Because all of the motifs are cut with some of the panel’s black background showing, there’s no way to know where one pattern stops and the other begins. Symmetry organizes this celebration of fabulousness and complexity into an agile yet balanced design.
The Needle Stars collection is a good example of my approach to fabric design. When it comes to fabric – where color meets cloth – I’m a strong proponent of a “more is more” attitude. I find joy in abundant patterning. Add to this conviction an optimistic respect for serendipity informed by much experience. Depending on your point of view, my liberal theory of abundance may or may not agree with your aesthetic. Realize, I might get overwhelmed when faced with a computer-generated learning curve or having to remember everyone’s name, but when I land in a fabric store the length of a New York City block filled with industrial shelving packed with goods, I want to know why there isn’t more.
Paula Nadelstern

Renowned for her intricate and complex modern fabric designs, Paula Nadelstern has been designing fabrics for Benartex for over 20 years, her most recent collection Needle Stars.

As a textile artist, her quilts have achieved international recognition for the innovative and complex designs inspired by the bilateral symmetry of kaleidoscopic images. She has been included in the Twentieth Century’s 100 Best American Quilts, and in 2009 she had the first solo exhibition highlighting the work of a contemporary quilt artist at in the American Folk Art Museum. In addition to numerous awards, she was the recipient of fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and The Bronx Council on the Arts. Paula is also a prolific book author, her works include Kaleidoscopes & Quilts, Snowflakes & Quilts, Puzzle Quilts: Simple Blocks, Complex Fabric, Paula Nadelstern’s Kaleidoscope Quilts: An Artist’s Journey Continues and Kaleidoscope Quilts: The Workbook and Fabricadabra: Simple Quilts, Complex Fabric.

Want to join in the fun?
We'd love to see your versions of the block in our fabrics! Use the hashtags #butterfliesandbowties, #benartex, and #benartexfabrics on social media.