Missing Fabric Man

You never know where the next one will come from*. Today it’s a recreated modern version of an historical quilt, both in an excellent little book by Bill Volckening called ‘Modern Roots – Today’s Quilts from Yesterday’s Inspiration’. Available from your quality bookseller, in our local case that would be Can Do Books, Melbourne, though we bought our copy at the excellent and most helpful My Sewing Room shop in Calgary, Alberta. Onto the story.


As seen on the cover, Bill’s featuring an historical quilt with aircraft (in American, an ‘Airplane’)  on the wall in the background, and a modern recreation with some slightly different details in front.


But most interesting is a riff on the idea by quilter Christine Turner, with the modern example, who did an (I think) brilliant take using the design to make a Missing Man memorial quilt. Seen below it features the military idea of the missing man formation, in tribute to a fallen aviator, and brought further out with the formations shadows over a patchwork landscape – with the missing aircraft in place.


Very powerful, well thought-through design, and ironically even coping well with the very tricky illustration requirement of the ‘patchwork’ look of fields in a real patchwork quilt.


The missing man formation seems to date to just before World War Two, but is of interest here as a creative, dynamic ‘artwork’ using the sky as a canvas. Above is an image from Wikipedia Commons by Julian Berry of a missing man formation at Shoreham in the UK featuring several Spitfires – and an implied missing one.

James Kightly, Vintage Aero Writer.

*An aviation writer walks into a quilt shop in Calgary, Alberta…

2 Comments Add yours

  1. bevlaing says:

    I love that the quilter has taken the time to understand the tradition of the Missing Man formation and to make her own response to it on the quilt. It’s beautifully made but also very emotive.

    1. jkightly says:

      It is, isn’t it. Works on several layers – literally.

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