Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

Something Spherical, Continued

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

On October 10th last, I wrote in this  blog about a new work, and showed the left part of the photo below:

Untitled work in progress:  machine piecing (left)  machine quilting (right)

 

Progress has been intermittent, but apparently like a phone app, my mind has been quietly working on in the background looking for a good title for this.  My custom is to start a list of words and phrases that could become titles, and add to it as I go along.  The list for this piece already includes Moonlight Sonata and Dark Side of The Moon (both really famous musical works already, so not hot contenders for this) but there’s Lunar Eclipse, Night Light, Lunar Grids… and about 20 more.  As I got into the shower this morning, the phrase “…Tears of the Moon” popped into my head, and I knew it followed something about the sun, but couldn’t remember the other part of the metaphor.  So I had to look it up – and where else but Wikipedia, that excellent starting point or, in this case, aide memoire ?   I quickly found what I’d forgotten – that the Incas referred to gold as Sweat of the Sun and silver as Tears of The Moon, and remembered that was the title of an outstanding tv doco series I saw years ago (before I ever came to South America) and I will look for it now to watch again.  As you can see by this extract from the Wiki page, this section of text alone could take me off on a full day at the computer, following interesting links and having a fascinating time learning new things, but I really want to finish the quilting on this piece while I consider a possible companion piece, plus, I’m listening to a fascinating audio book “Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire, A 500-year History” by Kurt Andersen.

“Mama Killa (Quechua mama mother, killa moon, “Mother Moon”,[1] hispanicized spelling Mama Quilla), in Inca mythology and religion, was the third power and goddess of the moon. She was the sister and wife of Inti, daughter of Viracocha and mother of Manco Cápac and Mama Uqllu (Mama Ocllo), mythical founders of the Inca empire and culture. She was the goddess of marriage and the menstrual cycle, and considered a defender of women. She was also important for the Inca calendar.

Myths surrounding Mama Killa include that she cried tears of silver and that lunar eclipses were caused when she was being attacked by an animal. She was envisaged in the form of a beautiful woman and her temples were served by dedicated priestesses.”

It won’t be Tears of the Moon – that’s been done, but something good will come from this I know … Silver Eclipse ?…Silver Moon ?… and the app churns on.

 

 

 

Textile Exhibitions Montevideo, 4

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

On the top floor (no lift)  of the recently restored original Cabildo building Museo Historico Cabildo on the Plaza Matriz is a lovely small exhibition I’m glad I went to this morning.  Entitled From Within – Outside and Beyondthis invitational exhibition was curated by Beatriz Schaaf of Uruguay and Germany, hence the inspired, evocative, title.  I must confess it, I know little of felt making.  I have seen wonderful felt here (Siv Goransson) and in my home town Perth Western Australia, (Nancy Ballesteros) for example; I own a couple of fabulous scarves, and sometimes buy something made in UY to take overseas as gifts.  But I’ve never watched anyone making felt. I believe wool felts best of all because of its fibre characteristics, and I believe water plus your hands and arms are greatly involved.  Prominent felters in Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, The Netherlands and Uruguay were given Uruguayan wool to work with, to which most then added other wools from their own regions, plus in many cases incorporated other fibres, papers, cloths, natural materials and metals to produce their creations for this show, a lovely idea.  Here I present some of my favourites.

 


Margarete Warth, Germany, Vessels (Recipientes) variable sizes, max length approx. 20cm

To me these looked ceramic, but of course they are felt, and beautifully as-if-casually-arranged on an elegant marble mantle-piece in the grey-walled gallery.

 

Esther Weber, Switzerland/Italy, Revelation full (perhaps 90cm x 75cm) plus detail

I love the textures on this one, Revelation by Esther Weber, suggesting something growing and hatching or emerging from beneath the top layer… something organic and a bit disturbing perhaps, so I’m not going further down that path! (see post 3 in this series for my comments on statements and titles)  This is a perfect example of a brief title giving freedom for the viewer to mentally explore responses with minimal direction from the artist.

 

Gudrun  Bertenberger-Geyer, Austria  Hidos humanos / Human nests – silver (front) and gold (rear)  height perhaps 1.5m each

I managed to photograph these so that they hid the security fellow sitting behind them 🙂   They look so solid, like rocks or cement, but knowing they’re not, I really felt I’d like to climb in and see how nesty these feel.  As I say, I know little of felting technique, and it surprised me that someone could make such large forms -feeling sure that this comment proves my ignorance.  So I googled ‘3D felt shapes – how large can they go?’ and, well, I’d need to know how to crawl before walking this one, but clearly there’s a lot of interesting potential.

 

Claudia Fischer, Germany, collection of bowls, individually approx. 20cm diam, 15cmH

Each a bit different, with textural variations on the inside and outside, plus different edge textures (rims), these bowl forms were placed low down so you could easily see inside many of them, too.


Christine Rummel, Germany,  selected textural pieces.

Christine Rummel of Germany provided a large installation of panels of textures and a table to which were attached several little pieces people could touch and fiddle with, always a wonderful experience for viewers of all ages.  Textiles and fabrics are such an important part of our lives from our arrival in the world to our departure, and we expect to be able to touch them, but so often cannot.  (refer to the right hand panel of the top photo)  I just loved the grey and cream texture in the upper right of the panel, with little lips or protuberances of 0.25-0.4cm filled with something darker grey.  In the lower panel, very, very fine forms suggest something almost papery, like wasps’ nests or something very organic, and quite fascinating.  No, I didn’t touch them, but was very tempted.

As I write this, I realise this exhibition in particular has been very inspiring to me personally, and for that I send my thanks to ALL the exhibitors, including even those whose work I haven’t commented on.  Felting is very organic, somehow very ‘environmental’, and I will not forget this exhibition.   But there were a couple of negatives – the signage was tiny, often poorly lit and positioned way down close to the floor.  Good grief organisers, think a bit more carefully about making it easier for all people to access the relevant information – use larger signage, placed close to works at heights that don’t require visitors to almost kneel on the floor. (In another museum today, Museo Andes it was exactly the opposite)  And, further, I was stunned to find when I got home and consulted the biennial catalogue, that not only were not all images of pieces in this show included in the catalogue, but none were attributed at all – how very disappointing for everyone involved, and unprofessional to say the least.  I could not have written what I have if I had not taken photos at every point in this lovely exhibition.

 

Something Spherical

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

On July 22 last I blogged of how in a little demo to visiting artist friend I had come up with a small group of samples of half circles inset into a contrasting background (there’s a pic in that link)  I kept them up on my board for inspiration, not knowing what I should do with them but wanting to do something, definitely.  And then I went off travelling.

Visiting USA family and friends in August, I was in Greeley, CO, the day of the recent Solar Eclipse over North America. Out on our daughter’s back lawn, equipped with eclipse viewing glasses, eclipse pizzas, gorgeous eclipse devilled eggs, solar eclipse vodka, sunkist raisins and lots of other appropriately named or labelled refreshments, we enjoyed a solar eclipse brunch party with some of her UNC Botany Department colleagues. Though we were not in the zone of total blackout, the effects were dramatic enough, including a temperature drop in a few minutes of eerie ‘dusk’ at about 11.15 am.   The whole event was awesome.

After returning from my travels, it all clicked into place – I needed to do something ‘solar’ using these samples on my wall as a starting point. I have always loved these scales or dome shapes – which first appeared in my work 20 years ago, eg Pahoehoe 1 and 2Afterglow and recently in the Kimberley quilts. Here they have become the dark and light sides of spheres, in the loosest sense possible, mis-shappen and mis-matched. There’s no such word but there should be a made-up one I can’t get out of my mind, ‘ecliptical’.  I found enough of what to me are moonlight, nocturnal coloured fabric pieces and scraps – not my usual palette at all – and envisage lots of hand quilting in pale gold thread …   

 

You know I love grids – and these units are trimmed to 4 1/2″. A new project is underway, positive vibes so far, it’s lunar rather than solar, and the list of title ideas contains interesting possibilities.

 

 

 

Following A Trail – aka Making Samples

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

Earlier this week I had a studio visit from local textile artist Lilian Madfes, and while she was here I gave her a demo/lesson in the basics of freehand patchwork piecing   Next week I will go to her studio for her demo of the basics of silk painting, at which she is a master in a very creative way.  When I had given her plenty to use to explore the technique if she wishes to, I talked about the dome-like shapes I often use in my designs and showed her how I do one.  Sewing it up therefore made it a sample – and my readers know I’m keen on samples for trying out any new ideas and materials!

That first one is on the RH end of this pic.  I liked it, so made more, and love where this is apparently going.

Insights Into A Gridaholic’s Creative Process

Friday, June 9th, 2017

I think most of us have the impression a grid is made up of squares, but other general words come to mind including network, lattice, matrix, reticulation. It all depends on how you’re using the concept, but I suspect the most common one has been used to make maps and charts which for centuries have been drawn out on some grid scheme, though not always rectangular. Long a student of geography, I understand the different ways a mapmaker can present known locations of geographical information in a system that relates everything on some system of reference. These different systems are called projections, chosen for the usefulness of their final result to the task in hand.  You can check them out right here – and some will amaze.

I confess it, I am a gridaholic who usually thinks in rows of squares, but occasionally breaks out into triangles 🙂

I like the order contained in rows of repeated patterns, although within each of my repeat units there are always variations that make each unit unique compared with all the others around it.  This is of course, anathema to makers of  traditional quilts.  Take these nine patch block patterns for example. Though creatively used with other elements and sometimes in a minor way, each Nine Patch unit is made with precision and accuracy to result in exact repetition of every block.   It was this lovely strict order which drew me initially but briefly to traditional quiltmaking.  I love traditional designs overall, but have left them to others since the Flying Geese wall hanging I made in c.1989.  I am one of many art quilters whose work has evolved from influences of traditional quilt making.

Especially when I’m thinking of new work that I want to include some kind of patterning within repeat units, I take a printout sheet like this one, get my pencil and start  doodling.  I have this grid on file and can print off a few whenever I want.  A bit OCD I guess, instead of just freehand drawing the lines as I do in my sketchbook pages; but somehow it helps me focus my attention onto ‘fillings’.  They are just patterns, and could be hand marks, stitch marks, seams, whatever, but things do grow out of my putting them down.  It is about a year since I put pencil to this paper, and now certain things stand out, giving me more to think about.

These and some other mark patterns from another sheet, made it onto mylar backed nylon applied to leather in the small sample piece I made and donated to the SAQA anniversary trunk show collection   and, pleased with that, I made a 120cm x 90cm size wall quilt.

7″ x 10″ Sample piece submitted to Anniversary Trunk collection, SAQA, 2016.

 

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