Saturday, May 14, 2016

Morris Hexathon 2: Crystal Palace

Block # 2
Crystal Palace
A hexagon of 6 triangles.

Crystal Palace by Becky Brown
Six identical triangles fussy cut

The print is Compton from Morris Earthly Paradise

This week's hexagonal block Crystal Palace is named for the Great London Exhibition of 1851, which was held in a specially-built giant greenhouse. The glass building was nicknamed the Crystal Palace.

The Crystal Palace display of international manufacturing has an important place in the William Morris myth. The story is that he at 17 years old accompanied his mother, sisters and brothers to the fair but refused to enter, instinctively rejecting the commercial extravaganza filled with over-the-top exhibits and the latest in modern industry.

One might see how the item with the stag head on the left
might traumatize an aesthetic youth.

An alternate story: He did go inside but was nauseated by the display of bad design. The trauma shaped his mission forever. 

The true story--unknown. One would hope he took advantage of the six-month exhibition more than once.

A machine that folded envelopes

The Medieval Court

It wasn't all a celebration of the factory. The Medieval Court would have given Morris a new view of a favorite subject, design from the Middle Ages. Folk arts from around the world were also shown, widening the English view of art.

Tile floor at Topkapi--- get the look with fussy-cut triangles.

This week's block is the basic hexagon divided into six triangles.
In the version above from about 1940 pieced hexies
ring a plain orange hexagon.

Pattern for an 8" Hexagon
(4" sides)
You need one template, an equilateral triangle
with 60 degree angles

To Print
  • Create a word file or a new empty JPG file that is 8-1/2" x 11". 
  • Click on the image above. 
  • Right click on it and save it to your file. 
  • Print that file out 8-1/2" x 11". The hexagon's sides should measure 4".
  • Adjust the printed page size if necessary.

From the collection of the Indiana State Museum.
Add stripes to the mix! And stack them. The black shapes
are made of two triangles.

From the Arizona project and the Quilt Index

Above and below are two other ways to expand
on the idea.

 Amish example from the Indiana State Museum collection

The hexagon is BlockBase #244. 

I found two names published in the early 1930s:
  • Snow Crystals
  • Star Center on French Bouquet

The Nancy Page column from the same time
called this version Lone Star, a name not in BlockBase.

One can keep adding triangles to get a larger hexagon.
Above 24 triangles in a hexagon from the Kentucky project and the Quilt Index.
Below: Two from Tennessee. All look to be from about 1900.

Stacked with 60 degree diamonds in red.
Maybe 1940s.

Why stop at 24 triangles?

An 1840s Baltimore Album

Perhaps 1875-1900

After the Great Exhibition closed the Crystal Palace building was moved and rebuilt to remain a London landmark throughout Morris's life. He didn't care for it, considering the structure more engineering that art. It burned in spectacular fashion in 1936. A small park and museum remain at the site at Anerley Hill.

One More Inspiration

Hexstatic by Ali Winston


  1. Simple but very versatile. I love all the information you are giving us. Thank you.

  2. Thanks! Lots of visual inspiration here.