Posts Tagged ‘from image to form’

Do Art Quilts Belong in Quilt Shows?

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

People love quilt shows, and flock to them whether in a regional agricultural show or a major city or state gallery.   No matter the source of inspiration or the pattern used, producing any quilt requires a certain amount of creativity and perspiration.  Despite the similarity of tools, many of the processes, and many of the raw materials used to produce all the different kinds of layered textiles, it’s a mistake to assess them as equals in every way.  Carrots and radishes, quilts and art quilts, yes they are alike, but different.

It’s over two decades since quilt show organisers began including art quilt sections in their events.  Years ago when I still belonged to a traditional quilt guild, as a known art quilt maker I felt it was important to participate by entering the guild’s annual show when for the first time it offered an art quilt section in the annual members’ quilt show.  A contemporary quiltmaking subgroup of the guild had formed a couple of years earlier, and there was enthusiastic interest in experimenting with techniques, materials and ideas beyond the range of traditional quiltmaking.  The entry form asked for the inspiration source for the quilt design – so I submitted a photo I’d taken of a ceiling in some caves nearby, and handed over my quilt, La Cueva (spanish for The Cave)  In quilt shows, the quilters expect and usually get some kind of technical comment back from judges, though this is not the case in art quilt exhibitions.  My quilt came back after the exhibition with a judge’s comment along the lines of  –   ‘The wavy lines are most distracting’.

La Cueva (The Cave)   1998         150cm x 130cm

Hmmm … the photo I took of the cave ceiling with roots and stalactites hanging down was the inspiration for the repeat units I combined to make the quilt.  That dismissive comment highlighted to me that the person chosen to judge the art quilts was not seeing these works as ‘originally designed art’ and really did not understand the difference between an art quilt and a functional bed or wall quilt from a traditional design or commercial pattern.

So the answer to my question is, no, I don’t think art quilts have a place in quilt shows.  Many textile artists differ with that view (for valid reasons to do with their own practice and marketing) but eventually it’s a personal choice about where to have your work seen, and sometimes a difficult decision.

Art Quilts Exhibition – Touring Australia

Friday, May 5th, 2017

In 2017 I made the following quilt “Purnululu #7” in a series of works with the same landscape scheme.  While working through it, I blogged and showed more images here and here,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Purnululu #7” Currently travelling with SAQA exhibition “My Corner Of  The  World”

 

Australian landscapes such as Purnululu and Uluru, known in the past as the Bungle Bungles and Ayers Rock respectively, are distinctive examples of weathered sandstone landforms or karst topography. To the Australian Aboriginal people these and other similar places have always held strong cultural and spiritual significance.  Today non-Aboriginal Australians and foreign visitors find Purnululu and similar Outback places great destinations for travel and education.

“Purnululu #7” is already quite well travelled in Canada and USA with the juried SAQA art quilt exhibition “My Corner Of The World”.     Made while I’ve been living here in Uruguay, it’s already gone to places I never have visited.  But starting later this month it will travel to places I do know well, appearing with the others in this collection at textile and craft events in these Australian cities on the following dates:

My Corner of the World
Craft & Quilt Fair, Perth, West Australia, Australia • May 24 – 28, 2017
Craft & Quilt Fair, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia • August 10 – 13, 2017
Intocraft Handmade Expo, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia • August 17 – 20, 2017
Craft & Quilt Fair, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia • September 11 – 12, 2017
Intocraft Handmade Expo, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia • November 24 – 26, 2017

 

What happened Brisbane? Why no Hobart?  Darwin – are you there?

Ideas Before Sunrise

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

mylar textures

I woke before sunup this morning, and a couple of ideas came to mind. I have no time today to do anything more with them, so even before my first cup of  tea I dashed to the sewing room to do this little sample piece to capture their essence.  Samples are like diary jottings – a message to me.   This silver mylar coated stuff is great – I could a have those 8m x 1.5m used up in no time!

Lines – Seams Just Waiting to Happen 2

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

 

THE  most basic knitting stitch and probably the first one learned by everyone is garter stitch.

knitting garter stitch blog

 

lines garter st blog

In a recent post,  the first of several on this theme, I showed how the lines in a newspaper ad featuring  part of head and shoulders of a man wearing a heavy knitted sweater inspired one of my wall quilts.  Since I made Waterweave twenty years ago, I’ve had it lurking in the back of my mind that garter stitch is a wonderful pattern  of line and shape to explore,.  I can’t think why its taken so long, but perhaps I needed to make the Bungle Bungles quilts for this notion to move forward again.  So I’m going to take time today to play with this basic linear pattern and see where it might lead.

While posting this garter stitch diagram, I remembered my first art quilt, Ancient Expressions 1   I cropped this segment from what back in 1988 was an excellent quality 35mm slide image, so its a bit grainy.  I’ve always had my work photographed using a good photographer using the best technology available at the time, but the quilt sold from the 1989 exhibition “Expressions in Quilting ” so I’ve never been able to have it re-photographed in digital format.

 

Ancient Expressions 1 pattern detail blog

On the horizontal bands of AE 1, I used linear quilting patterns from drawings I found in  a book on the ancient Anasazi people of  America’s Southwest.  We lived in Denver for a yew years in the late ’80s, and came to know that region of the USA well, including the wonderful petroglyphic sites, ancient village ruins and some of the history of the now disappeared Anasazi people.  Almost without thinking I used characteristic patterns and imagery from the Southwest in that series of quilts,  just like everyone else did and still does.  Patterns developed in different cultures and regions of the world for are found on rock, ceramic, metal, wood, leather and fabric surfaces.  They have much in common, and we recognise them as man-made marks even if no one around today is absolutely sure of their significance.  But bearing in mind the issue of cultural misappropriation, today I might not make some of that series in quite the same way. Anyway, looking back over a couple of decades, I see that appealing arc shape repeatedly popping up in my work in various ways.

As I’ve said before – a line is a seam waiting to happen.

Lines- Seams Waiting To Happen

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

I’ve previously blogged about my approach to planning  http://www.alisonschwabe.com/weblog/?p=1010  and in that particular post used a collage of diagrams on pages from it:

Collaged sketch book pages

One was a snippet from a diagrammatic sketch of a man wearing heavy outdoor clothing featuring a fisherman’s rib neck on his sweater.  I saw it in some ad in an Aussie newspaper back in about 1995, and clearly remember it but can’t find the actual pic.  It inspired me to sketch the pattern of knitting and the use those lines and shapes in a commissioned quilt for a book “Quiltskills” 1997, published by the Quilters Guild of NSW.  Each chapter featured particular skills useful to contemporary quiltmakers, illustrated by a quilt made especially to go with the article.  Mine was chapter 2, Irregular Shapes.

Anyway this morning I found a very old and poor image of that quilt, Waterweave”,  the colour of which somehow seems stuck at ‘too green’ but anyway I’ve put it alongside that line diagram to show how for me a basic diagram can lead to an actual quilt.  Its typical of my planning that I work things out as I go, and usually know when its time to stop.

Waterweave quilt and sketch blog

 

As a student and then teacher of geography, illustrating whatever I’m talking about with a simple diagram is what I naturally turn to, so my designs in fabric and thread tend to develop from that kind of mark making, too, and I’ve mentioned before that I see almost any line as a seam waiting to happen.
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