Fruchter’s Tools Quilt Series

How It Started

After I finished the Fruchter’s Workshop series earlier this year, I was left with prints, image transfers and bits of applique that didn’t make it into the final cut. As you might know by now, I never throw anything away. I strive for a zero waste studio, and am always trying to find use for every tiny scrap. And so, all the leftover fodder from the above-mentioned series went back into my scrap drawers.

Some scraps wait for their turn a long time. But only a few short weeks after I completed the Workshop series, I was digging through my scrap drawers looking for something, and two pieces of fabric fell on the floor one next to the other. One of them was a leftover print. The two fabrics were perfect for each other, and there and then a new idea was born. Just like that, I got distracted once again. I put aside the project I was working on, and threw myself into a new series… 

The Process

When I created the quilts for the Fruchter’s Workshop series, working with the images of my grandfather’s tools felt like sacred work. Cutting their shapes out, engraving a stamp in their image or embroidering their outline made me feel close to my grandfather. Now, however, the tools felt more like a pattern, beautiful shapes on cloth devoid of emotional associations. 

I started by creating compositions. I chose plain solid fabrics, and also ones with stripes and grids. I sewed them together.

Quilt in progress

Then, I stitched around the raw-edge fused applique when necessary.

Appliqueing tools

Like in the Workshop series, I hand stitched around some of the tool prints. I love the look of hand stitches, as I think they add a lot of character to a piece.

Embroidering tools

Embroidering tools

I liked how the front of the pieces looked, but the backsides had a raw beauty to them as well… Alas, I was planning to mount these quilts onto canvases, so the backsides will never actually be visible.

Back side of tool quilt

The Result: Fruchter’s Tools

I decided to call this new series Fruchter’s Tools. Even though this series is more about abstract shapes, patterns and colors and isn’t about my grandfather, the tools were still his and I wanted to honor his memory. There are four pieces in this series (scroll to the last photo to see why). They are each about 14″ x 18,” mounted on 16″ x 20″ black stretched canvases. The first piece is in mustard, gray and black, and the remaining three are in rust, gray and black. 

Since these pieces are more abstract than the ones in Fruchter’s Workshop, I numbered them rather than named them.

This is Fruchter’s Tools 1:

Fruchter's Tools 1

Fruchter’s Tools 2:

Fruchter's Tools 2

Fruchter’s Tools 3:

Fruchter's Tools 3

And finally, Fruchter’s Tools 4:

Fruchter's Tools 4

Can you now see why this series needed four pieces? 

Fruchter's Tools series

I really like how they look all together. Four separate pieces that could also be hung as one larger work 🙂


Fruchter’s Tools 3 and 4 (as well as A Tinsmith from Galicia are now on display as a part of the 53rd Annual Textile Exhibition at Olive Hyde Gallery in Fremont, CA. The show will run through Saturday, October 7. If you’re not in the Bay Area, you can take a look at the virtual exhibition

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