A class with Linda Colsh in Val d’Argent (good grief, was that 20 years ago?).
Linda sent us outdoors to take note of what we saw and report back. The quilters who lived in the Alsace region didn’t see the wooden window flower baskets, the rooftops or sense the small scale in roundabouts or sidewalks. So many decisions that created the sense of time and place.
Quilters use a wide range of techniques. Wouldn’t it be interesting to view a range of techniques that interpret world locations? SAQA is an international organization, after all.
“Historic Detail” sought to explore the sparks of inspiration cued by time and place.
What an rewarding experience – and a fun way to explore the art of my fellow SAQA members. I worked to highlight techniques and perspectives, yet created a unifed experience.
I hooked my computer up to the TV so I could see the images in a larger format. SAQA told me to only accept one piece per artist, aiming for 28 – 32 works in the exhibit. However, when I accidentally chose two pieces from one artist, picking between them wasn’t easy. Taking this one away meant others didn’t glide together, so maybe I needed to mix it up a bit. What a good way to spend my time.
Check out “Historic Detail” and let me know what you think – or let the artists know!
And if you’re a SAQA member, think about submitting to the Virtual Gallery – it’s free and allows your work to participate in other shows.
I miss the quarterly SAQA MARI meetings (Studio Art Quilt Associates Massachusetts Rhode Island Chapter). Heading out on those Saturday mornings were special treats. The meeting format was pretty straightforward: chitchat, then a presentation on technique or arts management (how I loved the meetings where Vicki Jensen at ProChem shared her vast knowledge), more chitchat over packed lunch and then show and tell. If not carpooling with another art quilter, I’d detour to discover destinations near the meeting location. Many times, though, the in person meeting would drive me straight back to my studio for play and progress on my own work.
The SAQA MARI programming committee adapted with the times and now offers Zoom alternatives. On May 16, the guest speaker was Luke Haynes. His express ride through his approach, inspiration and exploration of quilt as object, as sculpture, made from used textiles and celebrating himself, his community and quilt history lingered long after I clicked “Leave Meeting.”
If you don’t know Luke’s work, think big. We’re talking at least seven feet square densely quilted three layers, made from used textiles and using traditional quilt blocks as the backdrop for a portrait. Inspired by famous compositions and iconic paintings, his portraits of friends and people in his neighborhood inject his quilts with contemporary sense of place and immortal remembrance. These art quilts hang on walls in galleries and also grace beds. Quilts often are anonymous works, signed on the back. Luke signs in all caps on the front, and even makes his name part of the composition.
A quilter after my own heart, Luke photographs his beautiful work outdoors, draped in stunning natural settings, wrapped around people. These objects transform space as it transforms as a work of art. His objects are beautiful and useful. Luke chooses to challenge the role and place for art. What do we value? What is desirable and worth commemorating? How we carry those parameters forward?
Sometime in the mid 1990s, Michael James shook up the quilt world by saying something to the effect of quilting will not move forward as an art form until quilters create art. I would have read this in Quilter’s Newsletter magazine or perhaps the International Quilt Association. Making quilts near Rome in those days, when the internet was young, I found James’ statement thought provoking and I tried to get my head around his perspective.
At one of the first quilt exhibits in Italy, I remember a surprised and perplexed visitor looking at my work and exclaiming, “This isn’t a quilt. It’s art.”
In her mind, art was a world apart. She came for quilts, that iconic American bed covering whose popularity bubbled up in those days. It was another expression of “made by hand” that Italians cherish. While textile hand work was overwhelmingly women’s work, an “artigiana/o” or artisan is anyone who creates or manufactures objects. Tailors, cheesemakers, boat manufacturers all are artisans.
After his 45 minute presentation, question and answer time wasn’t as spirited as I thought it may be. Was I the only one who was still taking it in? Did others in the mainly female over 60 audience find themselves pondering questions afterwards? The first question was more of a statement: she pondered the perspective difference and vision he had. Is she still thinking about it? I checked out the SAQA MARI Facebook group, and the conversation was sparse.
I love the way Luke wraps himself, his neighborhood and the way galleries are happy to accept his work as art. What would Michael James think?
Maybe that conversation will happen some day. In the meantime, I’ll head back to my studio and keep on making things.
Thank you to the artists whose legacies sustain us today. Thank you to today’s artists whose creations and connections lead us toward tomorrow.
Mary Oliver’s poetry is one way I slow down to appreciate the beauty of existence.
Writing a Studio Art Quilt Associates member profile about myself sent me scampering for quilt images. Turning to the CDs, flash drives and cloud storage nooks where my art quilt photos lurk, I found some nice memories.
Detail from “The Road to School,” 1999.
Detail “Road to School,” 1999
It took forever to sew these pinky nail sized leaves onto the Road to School. At that point, I would machine quilt for the bed, but art quilts were always hand quilted. Now I use a longarm or hand quilt, depending on the statement and effect desired.
Bright Sky II, 2013
I couldn’t easily find CDs of some professionally photographed quilts. Ack. There are quilts that I never photographed, some of which I’ll probably never see again.
Gioia’s Rainbows, 2003
This little journey down quilt memory lane shows how pursuing the Master Hand Knitter program has reduced my quilting since 2013. That will soon be out of my life so I can focus on quilting more.
I hereby declare:
to photograph all completed quilts from this day forth, establishing a data storage policy which shall make future retrieval of digital images more efficient.
As an art quilter, collecting and admiring art quilts comes part and parcel with the passion. This fall, I vowed to support the Studio Art Quilt Associates Auction for 2015. With 358 members submitting work, this is a mind boggling bounty of techniques and voices expressed in 12″ x 12″ quilts.
With my small, defined budget, my bidding opportunities meant I could participate toward the end of the week’s bidding. On the other hand, the selection of beautiful quilts that I could get with my small, defined budget was bountiful!
Last week, the latest addition to my art quilt collection arrived:
Dawn Allen’s 3 D art quilt is now mine! Dawn is a fellow Massachusetts/Rhode Island Studio Art Quilt Associate member. Hurray!
You can run on down to the Fuller Craft Museum to see another Dawn Allen quilt through January, 2016.
It’s another one of those ridiculous weekends when there’s not enough time for all the great exhibits going on in New England. So spoiled to bask in the plethora of textile wonder, my weekend will actually start on Thursday, April 10 at the Original Sewing Expo in Worcester. Find me at the Studio Art Quilt Associates booth at the beginning of the day.
Of course, it’s time for the Machine Quilters Expo… an event I’ve never actually been to, but I can count on Laurena and other Rising Star Quilters to fill me in.
If you haven’t yet seen the New England Quilt Museum’s exhibit of the 2012 Nihon Japan winning quilts… run! The show closes this weekend. I was so pleased to see my friend Teresa Gai‘s quilt there.
As I test my hat pattern and proof my Master Knitter Portfolio, my thoughts turn back to quilting. Walking at Breakheart Reservation last weekend, I loved the black and white lines contrasting with the blue sky and the winding path. Possibilities…..