Win Redmond is a fascinating art quilter who spoke at the Bayberry Quilt Guild on Wednesday. Her trunk show was historic, from her earliest traditional quilts in the late '70s through experiments of many kinds, often with 3D piecing, always with a wonderful sense of color and balance, to her current work, which has even been in Quilt National, which she calls "holographic". This is in quotes because it is not a true hologram such s appears on so many of our credit card logos. It is a different kind of 3D work done with digital photography, thermofax imagery and with layers of transparent organza with printed photographs over layers of the same or different prints in a collages manner, separated by a certain amount of space, so that the image is marvelously 3D and both distinct and mysteriously changed. They do not photograph well, even with the best professional cameras so my attempts were miserably inadequate. The one above is a bare hint of a fairly early piece she did using her constantly evolving technique.
Hearing about, in her own words, and seeing her evolution was fascinating. She has that impulse of a true artist, all of her work is personal, intuitive, spontaneous an at the same time extremely painstaking. Her early pieces were attractive and extremely well made with an innate sense of design and color; but her current pieces, which are relatively small -- which are perfect for framing and displaying in a gallery or a home wall, are brilliant. Like much modern art, they really must be seen to be appreciated. I was entirely delighted to have been able to see them and to hear her speak of her learning process.
This mini log cabin is only 9x9 and is made of rather narrow pieces of selvage. And I swear it is squarer than it looks in the picture. I am still a klutz with a camera. It will be sent as a swap in the next couple of weeks. The only thing I like about doing these small quilts and the only reason I do them is to try something I've never done before, in this case working with such narrow bits of fabric. I like doing it in a log cabin because I do not feel I must make every "log" exact the same width as others. As I've often written I like randomness -- I like it in quilts and I like it in life. That is to say randomness within order. Only within a context of randomness can we experience serendipity which is so pleasurable whether it is a parking space suddenly becoming available near the door of the mall or having a phone call from a friend just when you're thinking of the person.
This bed size "Pick-Up-Sticks" quilt has been in my mind for months, and in my sewing room for many of those months as well. The blocks are 5x5 and the "sticks" are selvages from my sizable collection. This photo was taken on a gray and misty day, but you get the idea. The detail below shows the selvages better. The batting which I find very easy to use of an 80/20 cotton/poly blend. The quilt is reversible to a pretty yellow background spring flowers print with stripping in a variety of colors that are in the floral print. It was a "quilt as you go" so each block was completed as I went along. There are 140 blocks altogether and the quilt has narrow borders, a pink print on the pink side and a yellow gingham on the other side. The method of putting the blocks together is from Sharon Pederson. It's a method I enjoy as I enjoy the quilt as you, so that, although the whole thing took quite a lot of time, when it was put together I did not have to think about quilting. During the making I relied on randomness -- a factor I love in quilting. The selvage pieces and their arrangement are random, the stripping colors on the yellow side are random and the arrangement of the blocks in the final quilt is random. Thus randomness invades the rigid grid of blocks and gives me much satisfaction as a relefection of an ideal life that is structured and yet free. I very much enjoy using the selvages with their special makes: names of the design, and the designer, and the manufacturer. I believe I saw the "Pick-up-sticks" pattern in a Quilter's Home magazine where is had a white background and was in an article about "modern quilts" However, I've had this old rose fabric for a long time, and managed to used almost all of it in this quilt. Sometimes using up something that's been in the stash since time immemorial gives one a very good feeling.
Many, many a moon ago I received a bag of fabric cuttings, left overs from projects of my friend Lynn who was doing a lot of quilting at the time. She has since moved on to making gorgeous jewelry. She was in the habit of not hoarding a stash but periodically cleared out her sewing area and sent me what she knew she wasn't going to use, lincluding some very generous cuts of nice fabrics. I thought I might eventually do some strip piecing but, in fact many of the srrips were only an inch wide. So the bag found a spot in a closet and was semi-forgotten. Once I sorted it by colors which went into individual bags within the big bag.
I have seen a few woven art quilts and thought maybe I would try that. In the last couple of weeks I've dipped into that bag, ironed the strips, made one 11x10 little quilt -- above -- in the jewel colors. Jewels needed some sparkle so I added small bugle bead to the junctures where the strips meet. It's a subtle effect -- my first impulse is often to be too subtle or reticent and that may be the case here. But actually I like this little quilt. It has been set to a swap partner.
I have also begun another in neutral colors which I think I will quilt with a fairly heavy embroidery thread and rather large stiths ... maybe in a muted color. I've got other projects in the works so this will wait a but. Meanwhile these two did not even use half the strips of fabric I have so I suspect it will become a series, probably with each one different in some essential way.
A second try at a painted quilt -- this only 6x8 -- quilted first, then given a thinned coat of white acrylic. When that was dry I lightly traced a photo with carbon paper and then went to work with Sharpie markers to "paint" the pepper, garlic and tomato. The tomato was my problem, getting depth was hard -- in fact, I had a bit of help from Rachel who used a bit of the acrylic and a bit of lead pencil for highlights and shadow. Still not very satisfying. I like this idea and will try again another time with different edibles This little quilt, about 8x10 was made with selvages on a background, it's called, as ou can see at the bottom "A Quilter's Bookshelf". Not an original idea but one gleaned from The Selvage Blog [see sidebar and click] which shows all sorts of wonderful ideas. This is my second attempt at this particular idea as well. I'm not entirely happy, will try it another time, perhaps, with a different background fabric.
I have another small quilt just finished but will save it for another day. I am very sensitive about words and dislike when things are given diminutives which sounds like baby talk and that they cannot be taken seriously. So I don't call these "quilties" except in the context of challenges issued by others.
In the picture the quilt is not finished -- should the sun find its way out from behind the clouds again, I will take a picture of the finished quilt and replace this photo of it unfinished. I am relieved to have it done. Quilting around the cats was a pain It's currently hanging on a wall here, partly hidden behind the piano because I wanted a change in that space even though it's about eight inches too long.
The cats were designed by Deborah Kochinsky whose animal drawings I like very much and whose quilt design kits -- just the animals, no fabric -- I have used now and then over quilt a few years. I probably will do others sometime but I think from now on they'll be quilt-as-you-go blocks. My patience for certain kinds of work seems to be waning.
Walking with Rachel yesterday afternoon we saw this butterfly looking like a lady in a very chic "little black dress" with touches of gold around the edges. She fluttered away before I could take a photo.
When we returned nearly an hour later, she was still in the same area and this time posed for me. I don't remember ever seeing one with this sort of marking. I'm an admirer [as the quilt in the header attests] but an ignorant admirer.
Seeing this butterfly reminds me that one of ny summer "maybe" projects was another butterfly quilt as the one above is the only one I've made and I gave it away to someone who truly loved it. That maybe didn't happen although it is still a "one of these days" possibility.
Jan, who lives not far away, mentioned that she is looking for a female figure to add to a small home shrine. I asked what she thought about Tara -- White Tara specifically. She is Yankee Protestant, of which denomination I do not know. She is open to the world of female figures but I didn't think a Tara would necessarily hold any interest. But she said yes.
I immediately thought of hte Tara because Ruth, with whom I was roommates in Tibet sent me a panel of various Tibetan figures, all seated in lotus position, mostly the male gods. Actually I have many questions about this panel, it is far from authentic looking to me. I wonder wher ethe designer got his/her impressions. I even wonder if the original inspiration for this Tara might have been a male god. She has no breasts although they could be hiding behind her arms. The Tibetan Taras are not portrayed in a meditation pose but dancing, and they have youthful melon-ike breasts
Anyway, I have this fabric and I love and respect fabrics even when the design is quetionable so I have made a few small pieces like this. The colors also set my teeth on edge a bit but some embroidery with gold colored thread helps and the jewels are real beads I added. And the border -- well, that may b as much a mistake as the colors in the panel, and although it is not the traditional Chinese brocade silk used for bordering thangkas, it is in the spirit thereof.
I will give it to her soon. I hope she will find a use for it. I must say I find much American adaptation of Buddhism in bad taste and irritatingly commercial ... so what else is new in "the American way"?
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!