Monday, November 17, 2014

Chicken clucking

Just so people understand that I am a chicken lover from way back despite what I said on quiltart this morning.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Novel about an art quilter

By Joshilyn Jackson  the novel THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING features a main character who is an art quilter. Her artistry was based on MY work that Joshilyn admired.  She commissioned an art quilt which was described in detail in the book. Of a bride, who uses recycled materials with bizarre embellishments like her child's baby teeth hidden in Victorian shoes! I got model teeth from my dentist to fulfill that particular request!  The author sent me the description before the book was even finished.  The headress had to be detachable because Joshilyn was taking it on tour for book launchings! I bought a wedding dress at the Salvation Army which is reborn as the subject's dress. I also did a dozen framed post cards for her which I believe she gave as gifts to certain people.  Here is the quilt. Also a couple of the post cards.

Joshilyn gave me a nice write up in the acknowledgements section of the book. It was a real honor to be remarked upon in this way. I felt sort of immortalized! haha.

Sunday, February 10, 2013



SAILPAST,2011, by Pamela Allen

Soon Virginia's big fundraiser will start with a bang. You might want to know a little about the work I have donated to the cause.  It's ironic that I have done a number works on the subject of sailing. It's true I live on Lake Ontario. It's true the wind is so good that they held the 1976 Olympic sailing event here,. It's true I once took sailing lessons. BUT....I was hopeless at actually sailing a boat. Not only could I never tell which way the wind was blowing but my one adventure on the water I forgot to put the center board down and was drifting all over the inner harbor much to the amusement of everyone on shore!

Still there is something elegant and romantic about sailing. This particular one was a test piece for a class I was teaching. I was going to ask the students to make a small narrative art quilt, then ( heavens!!!!) cut a fragment from it. They were then to enlarge the fragment into an entirely new  composition but without slavishly trying to match all the fabrics. Of course it is only fair that I try a couple myself to make sure it was doable.

So , the smaller piece is the fragment I started with...a detail of another quilt. You can vaguely see it in the finished piece on the right. Different but the same. Makes for an interesting slightly cubist rendering.  I hope someone likes it enough to pay the BIG bucks for it.  But not to be greedy, the lesser  donation is welcome.

AND...You might win the humongous grand giveaway prize too.

Thank you to Virginia, and all of you who intend to participate.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Versitility of our medium?

A poster on the SAQA list,  Janice Dawes, has introduced some new ideas about why she has decided to embrace the description QUILT art . One sentence made me take much so that I decided to blog after ignoring my pathetic page for many months( years?)

The sentence reads

" I don't think a painter has as many options to express themselves in their art" [ as quilt artists]

Coming to fabric art from a long history of painting I couldn't agree more. I think the many more expressive possibilities that fabric offers has kept me interested now for 10+ years and I still haven't discovered all that much.  As a teacher I try to encourage students to see what fabric does that paint can't. You can dye it, print it, stitch it, bend fold and mutilate it pleat, scrunch, stuff and fray it,  You can embellish it with whatever is suitable to your intent.....all for the sake of a unique visual expression.

The only problem with MY argument is that with all this potential, why do we not see more variety in the various pictorial possibilities?  Why does FIGURATIVE OR PICTORIAL OR NON ABSTRACT OR REALISM give us more or less the same image .Generally an image derived from a photo that has been reduced in tonal shapes on the computer then collaged with either realistic palette or not.  And these images ARE amazing in some cases.  But they tell one story IMO and rarely evoke any questions or controversy or dialogue about  the person, or environment, or interior. Surely the WAY we choose to depict something says a lot about that something. And fabric offers so many more ways than painting can. But why do we not see more figures like these?


Why aren't people exploring landscapes like this?

 Or still life like this?

This kind of diversity is what I want to see more of so that our medium can be used to it's full advantage.

Now I know I may have offended some who may see themselves in my descriptions. It is not intended as such. I respect anyone who pursues a creative endeavor of any kind. It gives people pleasure to look at them and gives the artist pleasure to create them. I just want to see our repertoire expand a little more.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mark making

Terry Grant has introduced some good ideas about mark making on the quiltart list.  Marks that are not necessarily surface design types like screening, or painting, or airbrushing. I love how she categorizes the history of mark making, from cave painting to the universal methods children use.

 Petroglyphs from the desert southwest.
 Child's what a lot of different marks!
 Van Gogh, I've always admired how he directs the eye simply with the direction and weight of his line.

Cy Twombly can make a cacophony with the various thicknesses and agitation in his line.

All good stuff. But how to translate it to fabric. Yes I could quilt in these types of lines ...even vary the thickness.But it occurs to me looking at these, that there are a multitude of fabrics with similar linear patterns. I'm going to try an image by combining linear patterns and see what happens.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Texas Quilt Museum

Jamie Fingal has shown us her funky donations to Karey's new project, the Texas Quilt Museum. I also wanted to be part of this so have sent these two for  the Museum.  It's sure a better place than under a pile of other quilts that have been retired from the show circuit and relegated to "maybe -they- will- sell sometime- when- the- economy- gets- better" !  I was reminded of an artist whose solution to older work was to walk around town and just leave them in a park or bus shelter with a little sign saying "take me home".  Here they are:

                                                        CHILD`S PLAY REDUX

                                                            THREE VASES ALIGNED LIKE SOLDIERS

Making LINES in art quilts

Sandy Snowden on quiltart list has asked for any suggestions about making marks that are not stitched or quilted. Since nobody wants to publish my book, I can share the exercises I wrote whenever the occasion arises.  Here is my linear exercise which can create a line type mark in various configurations....either jagged or organic- thick or thin. I could see the kind of spooky swirky lines in Eduard Munch's THE SCREAM being done this way.

Linear exercise

Line is an artistic element that can be used to describe the edges and contours of an object. Line can also define a direction for the eye to travel.  Line of various thickness and weight can also generate a mood; calm for lyrical curved lines, tense for jagged irregular ones.  In art quilts, lines can be created by adding narrow strips of fabric or cutting a thin channel through which the underlying fabric reveals itself (as in reverse appliqué) or by stitching. Let’s make a sample to explore some of these techniques.  We will start with a small piece of fabric with a large linear pattern. Your one rule is that you cannot cover or cut this original piece. It’ll be a challenge to make a unified composition from this almost arbitrary start, but it can be done!

This fragment is from a rayon sarong measuring about 7 inches.  You can see the lines are in a yellow color, so I am placing it on a yellow background in anticipation I might be cutting some other fabrics to reveal the underlying colour.  The object of this exercise is to create a fully realized linear composition by extending the already existing lines in the starter fabric.

The first thing we must do is to fill the rest of the space with fabrics that relate to those already there. These do NOT have to match in color, but rather need to be sympathetic to the tone and color family you are starting with. Notice the entire surface is now covered.

I have added more blue and black shapes to begin to connect the composition to the edges of the rectangle. Notice that some connecting lines are also appearing by cutting through the top layer and aligning the underlying line with the original fabric pattern. In the lower right, where the black fabric completes a shape, I have cut a space that reveals a red line instead of the yellow. I LIKE it for its variety!

The top part of the composition seemed neglected so I begin to introduce lines to connect the bottom to the top of the rectangle.  Remember that ALL of the composition is important, so be mindful of the rectangle as you develop the image.

I felt I needed another black shape on the left edge to draw the eye across from the others. Again I was able to cut out a red line around it. The composition is becoming more unified and balanced.

This shows the final addition of line by means of long running stitch with embroidery floss. The finished piece below it offers the viewer a unified integration of the original fragment that concentrates on line as an element of art.

You may have noticed my advice in these first two exercises, to quickly establish a background for the whole work.  One of the joys of creating comes from the “dialogue” that begins to occur between you and your art.  Without some initial shapes, colors and arrangement, however temporary such a dialogue cannot take place.  We need something visual and complete upon which to bounce our next idea.  Strive to maintain integrity in your work at all stages. By that I mean you should be able to appreciate a unified image at all stages of development.  The process of creating a successful composition involves a kind of stream of consciousness thinking that is stimulated by what is already present in the work in progress. You can analyze the fragment for instance, and notice the direction of the lines.  This will give you a clue to where they will go and how they will engage the rectangle. “ What if I make this diagonal into a more lyrical wavy line? What if I change the colour of the line where it meets the first one?”. And so on.  Then of course, you must actually try your idea and see if it will work!  So LISTEN to your work and act on what it is telling you.