Archive for the ‘quilting’ Category

Two New Collectors

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

It’s always a joy when someone wishes to exchange their hard earned money for some of my art. Since I enjoy creating and making textile and fibre art I don’t think of it as ‘work’, even though it is, and as ‘work’ is occasionally frought with difficulty or stress even, between concept and completion.  Today I am hoping that my two newest collectors will have many years of enjoyment with my works in their collections.

This week I was pleased to see my 12″ square in the online 2010 SAQA Benefit Auction was purchased by a collector in the USA, Francie Gross.  I am embarrassed to say I forgot to photograph it before sending it off, but it is in the style of Timetracks 11

  a portion of which is shown here.

It is still up on the auction pages, 2b, at the SAQA online auction which enters its third week this week with the works shown on pages 3a and 3b – just click the link on the page above the pics andyou will go to each in turn.  Perhaps you’ll make a bid for some of the interesting pieces still to come under the hammer in the next few days.

A few weeks ago I sold two works to an international collector, a personal friend, who chose “Timetracks 16” and also this one:

 

It’s not shown in my website, partly because I haven’t ever decided just which category it belongs in, or exactly what name to settle on it.  For a long time it went as ‘Untitled’ which I always think is an artist’s cop out. 

Yet it is an important work, because it took me into the “Desert Tracks” works that followed and will probably be added to over time. It is a work focused on those aspects of the traditional ancestors of modern art quilts that appeal to me and appear repeatedly in my own work – blocks/units, repetition, and hand quilted surface patterning.  The finished edges are applied with a gold metallic fabric, double layered and cut on the cross, left ufinished – also from a time when I was beginning to consider less conventional bound edgings on my work, and burned edges appeared soon after making this one.  It has always looked good in local exhibitions here, and I know it will be well placed in  its new home.

It just occurred to me that someone with some clout in the art world should declare a day each year to be designated “International Art Collectors’ Day”.  I still have the very first painting I bought, nearly 55 years ago with 8s 6d of the 12s pocket money I was given to spend at the annual school fete.  It is a postcard-size watercolour of a landmark mountain range in northern Tasmania where I grew up, and I remember choosing it from a whole table of perhaps 50 or so little watercolured landscapes, probably done by the art teachers at the school, and certainly framed by one of the parents’ framing business – handy use for the their framing offcuts, probably!  It’s still in the original frame – I think I will do it the honour of having it framed in a more modern frame next time I’m back in Aus – I have always loved it.  In addition my parents had several watercolours painted by a cousin of my father’s, John Nixon Gee.  Dad took me along to JN’s house one morning when I was maybe 6, and I remember watching him paint a little while I was there.

Man-made Surfaces

Friday, February 8th, 2008

Just looking through and sorting some of the pics I took in Egypt last year I found some of these man-made surfaces. They intrigued me just as much as the massive temples and monuments with carved and painted pictorial records and stories that we experienced in our classic tour of Upper Egypt. The tomb and temple carvings were magnificent and along with the massive scale of these buildings, totally awe-inspiring. I’d like to go back and see more, at a cooler time of year, but the problem then is the place is totally packed with tourists like me …

In and around the architecture, all over the place I noticed lots of interesting patterning. Examples such as these were very inspiring, but rarely noticed by visitors focused on all the grand scale stuff around them. I feel they may influence something I do in the future especially once I get my laser cutter. We’re still making customs inquiries, so my order is not firmly placed yet. Uruguay being basically on holiday for another few weeks, we are not expecting answers any time soon.

The main area where I see these surface patterns inspiring something is quilting treatment, machine or hand. For example I can envisage hand made knots, or a knot plus bead, something lumpy set out in the kind of grid pattern of this ancient door in a gate in the wall of the old city of Cairo, UL: the UR panel is a ceiling covered with the 5-point stars that appear in so many temples and tombs 0f the pharaohs; and I have already used this once as a machine quilted motif for the quilt “Gift of the Nile” shown in part on the blog for october 7, 2007. LR is some of the highest part of the gateway to a temple at Luxor (I think) and who knows – I just like it; and finally LR a texture I love, the mane of a lion carved from granite ,standing outside a temple. Granite is really hard but these lines are so beautifully fluid and hair-like. I see it as a machine quilting pattern probably but possibly in combination with hand stitch.

On one of the lists to which I subscribe, in the past week one writer commented that she had to quilt something and was procrastinating since she didn’t like doing quilting. Well, you don’t have to quilt anything. You can tie with wool other threads and string, buttons, staples, safety pins, sewing pins – I have seen all these used to function as the quilt stitch does – ie hold layers together. And, one can always farm it out to someone who does love to quilt. Personally, I find the old under/over/under/over thing beautiful in the right place, ie a carefully constructed and quilted traditional geometric or applique quilt, especially the baltimore album quilts. But so many people are working to produce non-traditional quilt designs these days that it seems amazing to me that they feel bound to quilt them as they always have using the traditional under/over/under/over, painstakingly doing x stitches to the inch, in fine pure cotton thread. Or if they are machining, the now rather unimaginative meandering and stippling seems to be the limit of some repertoires. If you paint, print, applique, collage, dye and and piece non-traditionally to produce non-traditional quilt designs, to me that begs exploration of intereasting, unusual quilting potential. You can quilt with anything from microfilament to heavy string, ribbon, and everything in between whether the label says ‘quilting thread’ or not.

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When is a Quilt an Art Quilt?

Saturday, June 23rd, 2007

According to one writer on the Quiltart list this week, art quilts are “Stuff That Hangs on The Wall and Never Gets Washed”.
The discussion topic centred about what batting/filling people preferred to use in their quiltmaking, and her comment inferred that lightness and warmth were irrelevant for those who made art quilts, ie that these were too small to be of body warming use, anyway, since they hang on walls, see above, and, ergo, are small.

Does this mean only art quilts are small? Does this mean that art quilts cannot be large? Or does it mean that no art quilts are large, ergo, sufficient to be placed on beds as either docorator covers or warmth pieces? Someone else on the Quiltart list today even asked if anyone could give her a list of the dimensions that are usually required for entries into art quilt exhibitions ….. my only thought was ” how long is a piece of string?” there is no answer – anything goes, usually.

The term ” Art Quilt” is a vexed one. It has come to be a generally accepted but often confusing and criticised term describing those quilted textiles which are far removed from the domestically crafted work that we know and understand to be ‘traditional quilts’, and yet which at the same time by virtue of construction similarity (2 or more likely 3 layers,, quilted together as one) are clearly derived from the traditional. The differences between the two focus on their implied purposes (bed coverings versus decorator, wall-art functions) and the manner of the decorative patterns on the quilt top/front. In general terms, the majority of traditional quilts involve patterns of either intricately pieced geometric patterns (sewn together by hand or machine) or pictorial designs (either pieced or appliqued) After the surface design or patterning, the top is layered with batting and backing, and the whole quilted, with often very elaborate quilting stitchery forming another surface pattern. In the constantly evolving world of art quilt design, almost anything goes, from digitally enhanced photographic images, applied with stencil, screen or by hand, paints or dyes, inkjet and various other means of print and other transfer processes, fabrics bonded with adhesive film, and in addition various modern uses of the older traditional technqiues. Piecing and applique techniques still abound, but I noticed that in this year’s Quilt National exhibition, that something less than 25% of exhibited pieces relied for surface design on the ‘ old’ techniques of hand or machine piecing and applique – all others have some blend of paint, dye and computer aided digital something or other, and often quite a few different surface design techniques were used in the one piece. This is not a criticism – just a sign of how rapidly and how far things are changing in the world of Art Quilting. Some prefer the term Studio Quilts, by the way, and yet to me this implies something a bit aloof , elitist perhaps… so I don’t feel really comfortable with it, either.

Since everything I make is of my own design, regardless of size or intended function, I claim that everything I do is an art quilt. Modern quilted textiles, IMHO, defy categorisation in any meaningful way other than to say they are all ‘quilts’. The pic above shows “Tara and Ivan’s Quilt”, a very large king size bed cover intended for their 4-poster as a modern day ‘wedding quilt’. Two friends, Robin and Vance, pictured with me in front of this very large art quilt, were attending the opening of my most recent solo exhibition in Washington DC at the Aus Embassy, in 2005.

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Anatomy of a Commission – Quilted, Trimmed

Saturday, March 17th, 2007

The quilting is all done, which took a bit of fiddling around – the pearlescent thread would not work without incessant breaking, perhaps it is old thread – but despite all the known remedies I applied, it was just not going to work, so, further sampling revealed a fine soft gold thread would work up nicely here, and so that is what I did, about 1/2 inch separated gently undulating, parallel, lines of machine quilting on this soft gold over the whole quilt.

All this took time in addition to the actual quilting, but the result is always worth the effort of fiddling with samples. This pic shows the work trimmed to 24in. x 36in. and ready for the binding….. which proved not to be the cut and dried issue I felt it was a few days ago.

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Tempus Fugit, Indeed

Monday, February 26th, 2007

On my most recent visit to the sunday markets I found this table display of watch faces and empty watch cases – I wonder what happened to all the hands, though? Maybe those were what the stallholder had originally wanted and had no use for the rest of the stuff….

I’d have bought some if I could think of anything at all to do with them…. feel free to make some creative suggestions – I am sure he will be there again when we go in the next few weeks.

But these blank expressions of time having departed are a reminder of how much I still want to achieve, and have photographed, before my next trip away …this past weekend we spent a couple of days with friends down in Punta del Este – divine weather, wine, seafood, lovely pool in garden/parkland setting – and although I took the current work (blogged in the previous post) now all layered and pinned, I didn’t actually do a single stitch!!! But never mind, the company was good and the vinos excellent… but then having spent today meandering across the country on the way back, via a drill site to be checked by DH in the course of his work (and an hour’s reading done out there) in effect tomorrow will need to be a serious quilting day. I think the quilting I have in mind, over the size it is, it could all be done in one day. I might even get to start cutting out the myriad of bits, small, I have in mind for the next, large, work. Not much leather punching this time – although its perhaps a pity to waste the callouses worked up in the course pf the prep work for the current one, though!

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