Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Quilting Arts Magazine,April/May

I have been reading the April/May Quilting Arts Magazine which arrived yesterday. Some issues have little to say to me but this one has a couple of very interesting articles. One is an article by Inge Mardol and Steen Hougs, the Dutch couple who have been making art quilts together for 30 years. Steen paints the pictures which he has photographed in many cases, and Inge then adds depth and great detail with very prescie quilting, often to the point of threat painting. I've seen, I think, three in reality which is the only way to appreciate their real complexity, art and skill. Go to
their website and see a wonderful, lengthy slide slow of their work, just click "quilts" on the home page. Unfortunately there are no close ups so you can see the stitching.

There is also an article by Malka Dubrowsky, "Turn Down the Volume" which is about using quiet, light colored fabrics, albeit with strong graphics. It is time for a reaction against the very busy, very bright, very saturated, very in-you-face quilts that have been increasingly popular the last five years. At the Empire Guild show most were in that bold, bright category. It made for a very exciting visual experience -- and there were enough more traditional quilts mixed in for a sense of relief. But I have been thinking how relaxing it was to make the shirting quilt [posted in February] which is light colors and depends on graphics of simple lines.

Dubrowsky mentions being influenced by Alice Martin which resonated with me. The two or three times I've seen Alice Martin's work I have found a wonderful serenity even though it also contains rigidity in the relentless graph straight pencil lines on canvas. The bright fabrics are appealing and they're not going to go away but art has it's fads and cycles and they change, sometimes slowly. But as historians can tell at a glance, certain colors and combinations define a period and right now there is a strong draw of nostalgia toward "vintage" which may mean the avacados of the 60s or the pastels and small prints of the 30s. When these quiet colors return they will have morphed into something new, appealing and appropriate for a new sensibility. It's fascinating to watch trends come and go.

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