04 November 2009

Hunting pineapples

Sometimes, certain shapes become absorbed into my mind where they stay until conscious thoughts about them form. For several months now I have been fascinated by pineapples. Native to Brazil and Paraguay, pineapples were transported to Europe in the 1400s, where they became, like other tropical fruits, a novelty and a luxury. A pineapple is the fruit of a bromeliad plant and they are widely available here.

This is a beauty I bought today. It's becoming increasingly difficult here to buy a pineapple with the leaves still attached, because of plant breeders' rights. That means they don't want anyone to grow their breeds commercially.

However, I'm keen to try growing a pineapple to add to my backyard bromeliad collection. This gorgeous fruit smells so good and with patterns like this, how could you not want to use the shapes of the plant?

The pineapple is a recurring motif in the gifts to the English Royal family I saw during a tour of Windsor Castle. I was fascinated to see the motif, long recognised as a symbol of welcome and hospitality, appear on so many items on display at the castle. I've been unable to get the shapes of the fruit out of my mind since then and found myself seeking them out as we toured London.

Some ideas for using the motifs are developing. Look at the photo of the skin - isn't that a wonderful free-motion quilting shape?

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