Wednesday, August 20, 2014

UFO no more

This blue scrap quilt was started as a possibility for the Bayberry Guild show early this year.  I realized I wasn't going to be able to add the border and backing and quilt it and have the other pieces done in time so I didn't show it. A good thing -- quilts always take longer than I think they're going to. The ones in the show were finished just in time and this has been taking odd moments for three weeks now.  But it's done.   It's layered on drier sheets which I find to be an excellent foundation for scrap stripping. Until a few days ago it wasn't going to have the yellow border but now I'm glad I added it. The back is a mixture of medium blues in rectangles and strips of orange.  It didn't photograph well but I like it.  In this case I couldn't make my photo program crop the picture so you get some of my work corner here in the living room with my three-fold fan proving to be a good place to drape the quilt.  I can't resist collecting blue scraps.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Mancuso World Quilt Show

The flowers above are "Coreopsis" subtly done by what method, I'm not sure, by Bernardine Hine of Australia.

These stripes, a wonderful play of subtle color that art quilters have been doing for a long time, are done by Kurshid Bamboat of the UK. It's called Versi 1.  There were a couple of Kaffee Fasset quilts in a special show of his work, that used color this subtly and beautifully.

The quilt above was called "Backgammon" but I can't seem to find the maker's listing in the program. I like the playfulness of the colors and the simple design.

This quilt is called "Let's Do the Dresden Twist" by Teri L. Cherne and it was "Best of the US" in the international section.  It's a very old pattern handled in the "Modern"  way with lots of white and lots of machine quilting. The scalloped  or "egg and dart" outer edge is a fanciful extra old fashioned bit.

 Of course there were many other very interesting quilts. A huge kimono shaped quilt from Japan done all in squares of red print was eye catching at the doorway to the hall.

We had a wonderful chat with Teresa Shippy who had a special exhibit of her old cars quilts-- 27 quilts about 15x25 (I'm guessing) We had never run into an artist who was cheerfully hanging out near her special exhibit and talking to viewers.  We learned a good bit about exhibiting and considerations by an artist who works in a series.

This was the first time Rachel had seen a Susan Shie quilt with all the diary writing and canvas full of figures and movement.  One has to admire her continuous inventiveness. I've been watching her work for at least 15 years. The same is true of Kaffee Fassett's work. It always looks glorious in his books and, in fact, it just as glorious on the wall -- and there must have been 20 -- a delight of color.  This year's Hoffmann challenge submissions, including the clothing and dolls as well as the wall quilts was all on display.  The fabric had a  lot of turquoise so there were many peacocks.  The American floor had a big display of applique quilts proving beyond any doubt that the Baltimore album idea is alive and well but getting a bit boring in large concentrations.

It's a glorious show, we were able to leave here a 7 AM and got home at 7 PM with a stop on the way home at the Ikea store south of Boston. I had never been to and Ikea store and Rachel says I didn't get the "whole Ikea experience" because she knew exactly where to find the items she wanted. But I was very, very impressed, especially at the plate of lox we had for dinner for only 4.99.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Not Only Poets are Marginalized

On a blog (I think) I saw a picture of this quilt. Then I discovered it was made by a quilt artist who lives in the area and was on view at the Cotuit Center for the Arts, which is only about ten miles away.  The Center is largely for drama but has other events -- quite a lot really as such centers must in order to make ends meet and pull in varied audiences. The lobby of their main theatre is large enough for various events and always has an art show.  Right now that large space is given over to photograhy by two men. It's interesting photography and deserves to be shown. There is a mezzanine area up some stairs. Art is shown up there also.  Right now they have a show by Melissa Averinos a quilter and Elizabeth Gurrier a textile artist who creates figures, mostly bas relief sort in white muslin.  Besides a handful of "Modern" quilts by Melissa there are a few others.

This exhibition area is not one that will be seen by the performance crowds except when they do caberet-type events (they were setting up for one) with tables upstairs.  As my women poets quilt indicates, I am sensitive about women who are marginalized and I consider this an example of women's work which is, certainly in the case of this portrait of Melissa's, definitely art and not craft.  The currator seemed to think Elizabeth Gurrier, whose credits include an art degree, is the "serious" artist and the quilters are not.  Elizabeth's work was well done, but I've seen the same sort of work -- in fact, seen it many, many years ago. 

However, Melissa's portrait quilt using the style that is being called "Modern Quilting" is entirely new, the work of a highly creative artist.  (Her notes say it began one sleepless night as she went into her studio and spontaneously began to work with fabrics ... the method of an artist, not a  "craftsperson".  Her other work fits in the current "Modern" genre and is well done and interesting; but I think, with this piece she has leapt into a new area of creativity for her.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Surprise! Surprise!

I was truly surprised late yesterday when I returned to the Bayberry Quilt show to discover not one, but two, Viewers' Choice ribbons on my art quilts.  (They are in different size categories.) Truly I had hoped for one on the embroidered and embellished circles. But I felt the poets amid selvages was not "pretty" enough to be a favorite.  I'm delighted it was.

Honestly, in both cases, the ribbons are for the "idea" more than the quilting.  I am a hobby quilter and, occasionally attempt an art quilt, but I have never, and never will, attempt a heirloom quality quilt. This is a "hobby" -- a word that doesn't do justice to the passion I feel about quilting in general. I love what can be done with textile, with color and pattern and design.  But it's not part of my self-definition, it's almost always pure pleasure.  A sensual delight in the fabrics themselves.  If I can make a statement, as the poets quilt does, that makes the writer in me very happy.  I wonder if anyone who saw this quilt will read at least a little poetry because of it.  I think, not likely.

PS: The poet surrounded by bright orange is Wislawa Szymborska, a favorite of mine, too little known in America. She was a Polish and won the Nobel prize in 1996 (I think); her poetry has wry humor, political consciousness and warmth. I try to introduce her to as many poetry reading people as I can.  She died in 2013.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Inspiration at the Guild Show

I love scrap quilts. That is the theme of the Bayberry Quilt show this year. Yesterday I saw quite  few that I quickly thought, "I'd like to make one like that." Or "I wish I could do that, but I'd never have the patience." (e.g. to make a whole quilt of 2" squares. But sometimes when I'm looking through a magazine or at a show I see a quilt and immediately think I WANT to make one like that. This is the one at the show that got that reaction. Totally scrappy! A balance of light and dark/bright. The four-pointed star stands out amid the pastels.  Close up it's obvious it's make a three-pieced squares (5 inches). Easy-peasy. And the fun of just reaching into the scrap pile and cutting the pieces. In fact, I WILL make a quilt like this ... sometime, not too soon as I have a few WIPs to finish.  (Works In Progress) What a wonderful "quilty" feeling this will have on a bed! I love it.  (And as I think that, I think, so will the one that's on my design wall right now. The imagination goes racing on.)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bayberry Quilt Show

At the Bayberry Guild's opening day of the annual show I took only a few photos, I'll have another opportunity on Saturday.  And I have another to add here tomorrow.  For today here's just one of several small challenge quilts that were just wonderful.  The challenge was to use a certain blue Moda fabric and 25 aditional fabrics, within a quilt that would be no more than 100 inchs total perimeter.  I was especially charmed by this cat sitting on a very puffy pillow.  It seems to me the members of this guild react with special creativity and enthusiasm to the challenge for the past few years.  

The red, white and blue quilt here is on a frame with backing and batting, held in place with the large clips that can be seen. It was being used by the ladies who run the charity committee to demonstrate what they do: they encourage donation of tops (and are especially looking for patriotic ones to give to vets.  I made this top late winter and donated it.  The commitee also receives donations of fabic and for the quilt show they bundle fat quarters (six per bundle) and sell them at $3 per bundle.  Compare this, as the value ads say, to most of the vendor's fat quarters which were between $2 and $2 per fat quarter.  Can't beat it.  Did I buy some?  Of course.  Grace and Lou, the co-chairs of the Charity Committee were saying loudly to everyone that although much is donated, they are selling these items to purchase batting for the quilts. They spent about $1,000 last year on batting. They have a number of people who help them quilt or tie the tops they receive.

They also sell quilt magazines and books. I bought a fairly old book about American quilts that may be the very one I donated to the free table at a guild meeting. I realized I was sorry I didn't have it as I'm doing research for the history of quilting course I'll be giving this fall. It may be re-donated later in the year. I didn't have time, or energy, to look through the many magazines. (I need quit magazines like I need an extra elbow -- but the same is true of FQs.)

I was gratified to see people spending time in front of my quilt about Women Poets who are marginalized -- I think they were trying to figure out what the quilt was about. I'm not sure they were reacting to the message since I cynically and honestly believe that very, very few people have any feelings about poetry at all, let alone whether men or women are marginalized -- poets are practically nonexistent in the lives of most people.  Sad, but I'm afraid it's true.

Monday, July 28, 2014

My Marathon of Quilt Journalling

It was ten  and a half years ago I had a brain storm.  It promised to be a good year, so as I was thinking about new year's resolutions I decided to do something differnt:  not a written diary as I'd been keeping since I was 12, but a visual diary of the year.  One little postcard sized mini quilt per day, each representing something about that day, realistically or, more often, abstactly.  Thus, I now have nearly 360 of these little quilts (I didn't quite manage EVERY day).  I collected cardboard mats to frame them -- obviously mats in many colors.

Saturday I had my first opportunity to talk about this project. I talked about "visual journaling" since this could be applied to collage or other visual art formats. I showed several of these little ideas to a group of 12 or 15 women gathered at the Dennis, Ma. Chat House.

Here's what these pictures represent (I wrote brief statements on the back of each).  Left to right, top to bottom:  Fireworks, obviously at 4th of July (embroidery on a black batik), a bison which represents my discovery of bison burgers because I was doing the Atkins diet and really don't like beef very much.  The little bird and many others were at a feeder in the backyard of the house in the Catskills I visited many weekends that year; the big red sun in a golden sky was a burst of joy at seeing sun against after a week of gloomy gray days.

 The swallows on a pretty print represented a feeling of joyousness at midsummer; the big peony-like flower radiating bugle beads was also a happy one (it was a very happy summer!), just saying "life is beautiful". The cloudy mauve-ish one with embroidered raindrops (lazy daisy stitches) was a rainy day, but a not a gloomy one. (I have 6 or 8 rain mini-quilts each different); The two gulls flying amid clouds were a couple of gulls I actually saw walking down 7th Avenue on my way to work that morning.

The one in the coral frame was depicting a sunset that was various shades of pink and coral across a blue sky; beside that is a whirligig quilt square that is atilt on the block with a note on it saying "all the pieces are in place but something's not quite right."  (I guess it was one of "those" days).  The one with blue sky, and darkness and a pewter button sun was more abstract about a day that was changeable. And the one with the rabbit and spring greenery, was about spring, a time of new growth and promise.

This was the first time I've shown these  pieces.  Maybe I'll fine another venue later this year,  If color weren't very expensive I'd consider self-publishing the whole series.