Archive for the ‘influences’ Category

My Favourite Stitched Square Motif, 2

Thursday, November 9th, 2023

If you have time, it’s always good to let your ideas and explorations settle a bit, while you focus on something else. Remember how in previous post I said I’d take a walk to consider all this? My time away from my studio was rather longer than I expected, though.

All at once, the next morning, with the cleaning lady busily and noisily vacuuming upstairs, the drains maintenance serviceman turned up and at the same time an architect came round to consult on something we’re considering doing to the house. Yesterday’s diversions included a service techie from the cable company to restore the signal to our upstairs tv, which it took him some time to discover apparently resulted from some problem in the line coming to the house. Relief that the inability to get the tv working properly was not due to either of us losing our marbles! We have tv again, but completely fixing the weak signal problem requires another tech team to come, at a time yet to be arranged.

So, I’ve had plenty of time to consider my love affair with this square+stitching.

Detail “Fused 9Patch”, 3/4″ silk squares stitched with tapestry-weight neon polyester thread.

Recapping, these are my earliest interpretations, stitch doodlings of an idea inspired by the works of pioneer generative artist, Vera Molnar, one example of which is –

SANS TITRE, 1989, by Vera Molnar

I’ve used it a lot, but looking back at what I’ve been doing this past couple of weeks, I now realise as I focused on the actual squares (applique? hologram fabric? other fabric? stamped shapes?…) the stitching itself got neater and neater, in the process losing some of the lively, wild quality my earliest doodles had.

Here’s something I did a couple of weeks back, fiddling with an idea of ‘square nests’ – part of a larger concept I won’t go into here. It’s a pretty regular grid of stamped squares and every block is stitched with the same pattern – a rather boring result, but I may add many more lines to it, or to some of the squares at least, but I certainly won’t abandon it:

And this is the back – showing that (a) I use serious knots to start and finish! and (b) I don’t always use the steps in the same orderand am now wondering if I should consider working something from the back, so to speak.

My Favourite Stitched Square Motif

Sunday, November 5th, 2023

I am keen on grid layouts featuring repeated units, the essence of traditional geometric patchwork, with which I had a brief involvement 1989-90 before venturing to designing my own original quilted fibre art. Some time in 2020 I focused on an image of squares and lines by Vera Molnar, widely recognised as a foremost pioneer of computer algorithm aided art known as generative art On seeing this image, I realised a square of paint or applique plus stitch could be a wonderful repeat unit for my textile art, and did the following two samples –

These turned out to be the beginning of an obsession really, and more or less in the order of their development, the following samples show how I’ve explored that idea in stitch+different materials. As I’ve written elsewhere, technique and materials can come together in unexpected and inspiring ways as a result of good teaching to students prepared to experiment to explore potential of what was learned. I myself am a keen experimenter, a maker of samples to see what happens when I follow an idea.

2020 SAQA Spotlight auction, 6″ x 8″, 3/4″ squares, polyester.
Detail “Fused 9Patch”, 3/4″ silk squares stitched with tapestry-weight neon polyester thread.
Auditioning of different square-on-squares designs on ~1″ squares hologram fabric.
Stencilled ~1.5″ squares with fabric stacks.
3/4″ inch holograpm fabric squares, different stitch auditions.
Further auditions, and the simple ones, on the ~1″red stamped squares work best.

Who knows wherethis is leading…. I feel almost ready t just jump in and start a major work incorpoprating some of this – stacks, holographic fabric, perhaps some stencilling…. and think I’ll go for a walk to think about all this.

A Bit Of A Sleeper, Really …

Thursday, July 21st, 2022

Although I only had this work photographed a couple of months ago, I actually made it in 2015. A bit experimental in materials and processes, I designed and made it for a particular wall in our home, hung it immediately it was finished and always forgot to take it to be photographed every time after that I took other new work to be done. I tend to have several pieces photographed at once, a couple of times a year, but this one just somehow got overlooked every time. Fast forward to 2022, and in January I was inspired to make a new work for that space, and put that one straight up, too, without naming or even measuring and documenting it, and I still haven’t had it properly photographed, either! However, in a few weeks’ time I’ll be taking some new work in to Eduardo’s studio, and will try to remember it in then.

However, back to this one –

“Slideshow” 110cm x 120cm 2015

Even when I posted my fresh new new photo on Instagram I hadn’t yet bothered to name it, and friend Kathy Loomis of OH suggested I should call it Slideshow. I agreed, and went on to comment ” @kathy_in_ky 😂 you’re right – and I never titled it because I made it for a particular place in our house. So “Slideshow” it is, not that it’s ever going to appear in any catalogue, except for the illustrated record I keep of all my work – with an eye to the major retrospective in about 100 years’ time, of course 😍 ”

When Studio Art Quilt Associates, SAQA, called for entries to a juried collection of SAQA juried artists’ quilts to feature in their exhibition space at the huge annual expo SOFA, (that stands for sculpture objects fine art design) I looked to see what might fit. There was no age limit, so I included Slideshow among the three in my entry, and then quite forgot about it until an acceptance email turned up yesterday. I’m not sure there’ll be a catalogue, but that expo is big, and it’s a wonderful exposure opportunity for my art.

“Slideshow”, detail

Grid layouts are my go-to design structure, definitely an influence from traditional patchwork and quilting. But there’s more to my love of them. I’m a creature of some degree of habit, and calm and order do come from a level of predictability derived through repetition. In today’s turbulent world, I value an orderly home where actual people live, using and enjoying our various belongings, and tidying up and cleaning when absolutely necessary. When I go downstairs in the morning to make the first cup of tea I like that the cat is waiting on the window ledge for its breakfast. I like opening a cupboard knowing I’ll find that thing I want without having to rummage around too much. You probably have regular ‘markers’ in your daily and weekly lives and can relate to those comments. I’ve known a couple of serious hoarders in my life, and in their environments, nothing is filed sensibly, put away properly, repaired or thrown away. Stuff just accumulates in no particular order, and I’ve found such people’s chaotic environments very unsettling.

In addition to the masses of traditional and contemporary quilt makers, many of my favourite artists work in grids and grid-like structures, so they too influence me. Outside of the fibre art world, I particularly love the work of artists like Agnes Martin, Mathias Goeritz, Shane Drinkwater, Giles Bettison and Vera Molnar – you’ll see what I mean if you go to these links to their work.

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.

Influences Are Everywhere

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

This is not a new work. I have shown a part of this pic before, in a blog recounting some of the work covered in a Dorothy Caldwell workshop, “The Expressive Stitch”. This is the worksheet, the experimental page, on which I explored ideas she presented. (see October 2005 archive) That very stimulating workshop reminded us all that anyone regardless of skill or experience can sew a simple straight stitch, in and out, again and again, without any fancy turns or knots along the way, and grouping them in lines, crosses or randomly, create expressive and possibly powerful patterns of marks on cloth .

I am an admirer of UK textile artist Clyde Olliver, whose thread marks are not on cloth but on stone. (“slate or other suitable material” ) This week I visited his blog, and was fascinated by a recent post on current influences in his work. After reading his analysis, I was prompted to consider my own work in terms of ‘influences’. Everything we admire for qualities of design and craftmanship has influence, and I think degrees of admiration and influence are in direct proportion to each other. I think of fav. artists from several countries, all of which I realise have added something to my individual sense of colour, design concepts and love of line and texture.

Serious influences in particular come from textile artists and teachers I have encountered. I became interested in ‘creative embroidery’ in 1975 in a class of that name; Laurel Fraser Allen really opened my eyes to the enormous variety of embroidery/stitchery as a craft practised in all cultures. My mother and grandmothers stitched counted thread work, smocking, needlepoint and ‘fancy work’ – remember the cloths, doilies and duchesse sets on pre-printed fabric? Often sold pre-edged, but Mum and Gran x2 bought ones you needed to crochet your own edges. Then between 1977 and 1980 followed Cynthia Sparks (own design, consider any thread, any stitch) Constance Howard I was privileged to have as a teacher for 4 days in Aus ’79 (emphasis: really looking at colour ) and Meg Douglas ( paint plus stitch, free machined embroidery) The next major textile influence was the world of traditional patchwork and quilting as experienced living in the USA ’87-’94. A first flying geese wall hanging preceeded my own designs, all of which owe something to the grids and repeat units of traditional patchwork. Nancy Crow’s multi-faceted influences on approach and attitude have been far greater than the mere technique of template-free rotary cutting and piecing construction techniques she teaches and which I and many other contemporarty quiltmakes now use exclusively. In recent work I am influenced significantly but possibly less obviously by temporarily living out of my own country in another with different cultural background and values; and finding an interest in lace and leather reflected in some ways, too.

My website, is currently being updated – the most recent artist statement/bio addresses this, too.

Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).

All images and text are © Alison Schwabe
Reproduction of any kind is expressly prohibited without written consent.

Translate »