Posts Tagged ‘wandering strip piecing’

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.

Desert Wind, With Toothpick

Thursday, December 28th, 2017

Left – Desert Wind 1995,  200cm x 200cm.     Right – Toothpick, year unknown

A couple of days ago while showing some visitors a few of my quilts, I unfurled this one,  Someone said ‘There’s a needle in it…’  and we turned it over to find not a needle but a toothpick slightly protruding. It’s not of any kind I’ve ever bought, and I have no idea how it could have got there. The notion of someone stalking around an exhibition opening spearing a quilt with a used toothpick is quite bizarre.  ‘Desert Wind’ (bound edges not visible) is approx 2m x 2m.  It’s big enough for a bedcover – and in the right room in the right house it would be dramatic.  I made it originally to use as an eye catching backdrop for my booth at a contemporary craft show in Australia.  It doesn’t suit our style or anywhere we’re ever likely to live – but anyway it remains in my possession, and I exhibit it from time to time.  In its exhibition history it’s been handled by quite a few people one way and another, and of course, it took many hours of machine piecing, machine quilting and hand quilting.

 

 

 

 

How strange this toothpick has only just come to light!

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?

New Life From Scraps

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

Somewhere the other day – and I’m sure it was Margaret Ramsay’s blog but of course can’t find it now 🙂  I found a comment about how liberating the artist found it to just use scraps and offcuts in her surface designs instead of cutting into pristine new yardage.  I totally agree.  I keep all reasonable sized off cuts from earlier projects, and blogged about this some time back.   We all know the thrifty ethic thing that is supposedly part of the back story of quilt making, so there’s a bit of the feel good thing there, though that’s not why I do it.  Scrap bags accumulate scraps of fabrics that you’ve already liked  – you’ve bought them and used them in something.  According to my theory stuff you like goes together as a rule.   So scraps are ‘auditioned’ for their next project appearance, and piecing begins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For every work of mine that has segments of colour forming a shape, as in all the Ebb & Flow series (see gallery elsewhere on this website) the process of putting bits of fabric together into strings before cutting them to the next edge shape, is fairly fiddly but very calming.  Once you have your heap of scraps extracted from the scrap bag – which is about the only colour designing you do  – then it’s time to put the bits together and just sew, iron, cut and sew.  Repeat.  You sort of know how they’re going to look, but don’t always, and some are better than expected.   This little sample on grey has silver metallic edging on the curved strips which are about 3″ long – gorgeous but a bit daunting to make into a larger work.  Having said that – heck, why not? It’s on my mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m currently working with scraps of summery colours on a cream background, and really, to do the lines of patches and then cut and sew them into the rough square takes a total of about an hour for each one from start to stop, with plenty of ironing.  This wall quilt will comprise sixteen  8″ squares, which means the piecing alone will take me another 10-12 hours before moving on to the sandwiching, quilting and edge finishing.

Fishing around for another pic to go in this post, I found one of a miniature I’d quite forgotten –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s exciting because it reminded me that in a drawer somewhere I have several colours of this fairly thick very bright neon thread I can consider using to quilt the current project, and I might not have remembered it without seeing this.  All this just goes to show how a bit of looking back can sometimes be inspiring.

Deconstructed Circles

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Someone commenting on my latest work said last week wrote “deconstructed circles are popular now”, and she’s right, they are appearing in more art quilts, though I’ve been using them on and off for some time.  For someone who loves grids and works freehand the way I do, the deconstructed circle has great appeal as a design unit, as these two works in progress show: early stages in the construction of Maelstrom (2006)  left, and Anna’s Quilt (2008) right respectively.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What new work? you might be wondering.  True, it’s been a long time since I blogged, chiefly because I wasn’t creating (not even sewing hexagons) during a long illness late last year and the subsequent recovery period.  But recently I’ve found mental+physical energy coinciding, and have begun exploring ideas that have been on my mind a while.  I’ve keenly followed the the rise of  the Modern Quilt Movement with light clear colours plus greys and white that are so appealing to many that they are even beginning to populate traditional designs.  MQM’s website calls this overlap ‘modern traditionalism’, I just noticed.  A favourite Uruguayan artist, Mario Giacoya uses wonderful greens and yellows with small amounts of other light bright colours in his many rural landscapes.  A primary influence in my work is still landscape shapes, and earthy Australian colours, but I’m finding I’m wanting more ‘light’ and ‘bright’ in my work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although I’ve used the unit before, and am always happy with lines that don’t connect, I drew a diagram this time to emphasise that I’m thinking of some units having many lines of fabric in them, others few, one or possibly none, and I’m still mulling over that and will continue as the work proceeds.  This sample has more in common with Maelstrom above as the arcs are segments of colour.  My sample shows a complex set of them.  These were a bit tedious to make, but I’ve been thinking about this too and will rationalise and synthesise what I learned in this sample making stage:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When sample making I normally just go as far as I need to learn something.  But this one I finished and bound because I plan to hand it on as a gift, hence this documentation.  I still have to think about

  • hand v machine quilting ?
  • any role for glitter here ?
  • what about dots?
  • And what a shame I only bought about 20cm of this wonderful striped fabric …
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