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Archive for October, 2007

California, Here I Come

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

Tomorrow, Mr C and I are leaving for San Francisco for a very important event. Our daughter Lisa and her business partner, Rena, are opening a gallery/shop in San Francisco. You can read about them on this Design Sponge post.

Better yet, if you are in the Bay Area, come on by and celebrate with us. Here is the invitation:

I’ll be there to pour you a glass of wine!

We are also looking forward to some time with other family in the Bay area. It will be my great niece, Viola’s, first birthday, and we wrangled an invite to the party.

I do not have anything creative to show you as the only work I have done is for the Twelve X Twelve Journal Quilt project. And I really haven’t done much on that piece.

Yesterday, we had the family over for soup and salad. Today, I spent some time buying smaller pants. I was so embarrassed this week-end because the pants I packed were falling off. I hadn’t worn them for a couple of weeks.

I will have my camera and laptop with me so I will be checking in from the festivities. I am also going to try to get caught up on e-mails to y’all.

Evolution of the Art Quilt

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

This was the theme of the Contemporary QuiltArt Symposium. I thought I would share some of my thoughts on the delightful day.

Our first speaker was Robert Shaw who wrote “The Art Quilt” and the recently published Art Quilts: A Celebration.” He started by telling us that he doesn’t like the term Art Quilter or Art Quilt. When asked later, what we should call ourselves, he recommended calling ourselves artists who use fabric/textiles/quilts as our medium. I have started doing this because I find it unwieldy to try to get unknowing folks off the idea of a bed quilt that their grandmother once made them.

I digress! Robert gave us a very interesting slide show of the evolution of “art quilting.” He gave us examples of artists like Rauchenberg, Warhol and Cristo who worked with fabric. Here is the Rauchenberg piece. He reportedly ran out of materials and took the quilt and the sheets off his bed and created this piece.

He also gave examples of work by Albers, Ellsworth Kelly and Rothko which used a grid or geometric design, reminiscent of traditional quilts.

He mentioned some of the early quilters who were pushing the envelope: Joan Lintault, Therese May and Molly Upton. Of course, Nancy Crow was mentioned and he said that he had just seen her show of new work and that she is “moving voraciously forward like a shark!” Loved that comment.

Where are we going in the future? Digital, baby, digital! He specifically mentioned the new work of Michael James and the collaborative team of Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade.

Next, we heard from Barbara Lee Smith who made the transition from city girl in Chicago to the island coast of Washington where she has learned to love and embrace “water filled air.” I was not familiar with her work. She paints lutradur which she then cuts and fuses into beautiful landscapes. She was influenced by a class that she took with Constance Howard. She does not consider herself to be a quilter. She uses no batting. She stitches her pieces from the back, using an industrial Juki. My favorite quote from her was a comment by Helen Frankenthaler, who said (in a strong NY accent) “Don’t make it gorgeous, make it good!”

After lunch, we heard from Cynthia Corbin, whose work I love. It was so much fun to see her slide show and watch how her work changed and morphed over the years. Cynthia showed us how she took the bad work and made it work — sometimes cutting it up and reassembling and sometimes, just painting or using oil sticks to change the surface. Like Ann Johnston, she now uses a long arm quilting machine. She does meticulous and heavy quilting as she found that her body could not take shoving a large quilt through a small machine.

Last on the program for Mary and I was the panel discussion with Erika Carter, Jeannette DeNicolis Meyer and Jill Nordfors Clark. They each gave a 10 minute synopsis of the evolution in their work. Again, it was fascinating to see their slides and to hear these women describe how and why their artistic endeavors changed over time. The most interesting part of the panel discussion was learning or understanding how they worked through the fallow times or of how they made leaps and changes in their work. Erika started with commercial fabrics and saw no need to use hand-dyes when others started down that path. She eventually went the route of discharging and painting fabric.

One theme of the artists who spoke to us was that at some point they stopped taking workshops and even attending shows of quilted art as they did not want to be influenced by the work of others. Finding your authentic voice as an artist requires getting in to the studio and doing the work.

Contemporary Quiltart Symposium

Friday, October 19th, 2007

I am in Tacoma, WA for the 2oth anniversary celebration of the Washington Contemporary Quiltart Association. They are putting on a symposium with some pretty great speakers, tomorrow. Tonight there was a delicious banquet and a retrospective of their evolution as an art quilt organization, given by 4 former president. It was very interesting and comforting to hear that they have been fraught with many of the same problems that other organizations come up against. I am impressed at how far they have evolved and the shows they have mounted.

We arrived in a driving rain storm around lunch time. The we being Mary Maxwell, my companion and roommate for the trip. Mary belongs to Columbia Stitchery Guild and is a new friend. We have discovered that we have a lot in common. Here she is posing with this guy we found standing out in the rain.

We saw one of the traveling Gee’s Bend Quilt exhibits at the Tacoma Art Museum. I was underwhelmed and quite disappointed. Many of these were made in just the last few years and seem to me to be made in an attempt to jump on the band wagon. I was not alone in this feeling. I would have loved to see the original show that started all of the brouhaha. There were maybe two or three quilts that I would call “art.” Otherwise, they were very wonky utilitarian quilts.

The CQA has a show titled Evolution of the Art Quilt which is quite stunning. Each quilt is accompanied by a statement from the quilter with a small photo of an earlier quilt. In most cases, it is quite interesting to see how the artist has evolved.

Here are a couple of bad photos of the scene there tonight.

Our first speaker, tomorrow, is Robert Shaw who wrote the first compendium of art quilts. I think it is called “The Art Quilt.” Then we hear from Barbara Lee Smith, Cynthia Corbin and a panel discussion on Intelligent Design with Erika Carter, Jeannette DeNicolis Meyer and Jill Nordfors Clark. The final speaker is Michael Monroe, the executive director of the Bellevue Art Museum.

I have met some heroines, like Janet Steadman, and run in to friends I have before only known on the internet, like Lorraine Edmonds and Andree Fredette. I am making new friends and solidifying friendships with others who have made the trip from Portland. I’m so happy to be here. Ciao!

Sensory Overload

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

This week is turning out to be a fabulous art quilting week. I just finished Wendy Huhn’s class last night. Today, I went to see a show of work and hear a lecture by Ann Johnston. Friday, I am heading to Tacoma for the Quiltart Symposium for a couple of days. Whew!!

Here are some images from yesterday’s work in Wendy’s class. In the morning, we did transfers of images using transparencies printed with an ink jet printer and gel medium.

The top transfer is an old cigar label – Omar, the tent maker on canvas. The next two are photos that were transferred to cotton. The bottom is a photo of the earth transferred to organza. This was so much fun and quite easy to do. Any kind of ink jet printer can be used, but you must have ink jet transparencies.

In the afternoon, we made these fun acrylic stamps with leftover squares of acrylic and that foam stuff you find at Joann’s and Michael’s.

I am not sure how much I will use some of these transfer techniques, but I loved hanging out with other artists and being inspired by them. One of them was Trisha Hassler, who I have mentioned before. She does the work with metal in her work. She is such a great person to hang out with for a few day.

After a disappointing weigh-in at WW (I was up a bit), I spent some time getting some computer stuff done before Terry picked me up for our Art Date with June. We took in a small quilt show of Ann Johnston’s work at the Vancouver campus of the Washington State University. Ann did a lecture which I thoroughly enjoyed because I love, love her work and want to try some of her dye painting techniques. Yum!

Here are June and Terry checking out the quilting on this whole cloth quilt. Ann is now using a long arm and loves the quilting that she can do with it.

After the show, we enjoyed a nice dinner together. I always enjoy my time with these Portland friends.

Day Two With Wendy Huhn

Monday, October 15th, 2007

It was a very long, busy day. A lot of work today had to be done with a respirator on the roof of the building — three flights up. We ran up and worked between rain drops. Today there was a big todo around Portland as there was a simulated dirty bomb explosion and a test for firs responders. So there we were on the roof with our respirators and a police helicopter hovered over us, perhaps wondering what we were up to!!

Our first mission was to soak our gel transfer pieces and remove the paper. Here is one of mine soaked and ready to peel.

Using a sponge, you start removing the paper.

Here it is, rubbed and dried with my other gel transfers to fabric.

Clock wise from the upper right: a magazine image on white cotton, photocopies on white cotton, laser printed photo on dyed silk, paperless paper on silk organza.

You can also layer gel on images, letting it dry between layers and you end up with a kind on acrylic decal that can be glued and stitched to your work. Here are the decals that I made.

Clockwise, magazine photo, paperless paper, photocopy and paperless paper with tinted gel.

My favorite is this fluffy dandelion decal made from a laser photo print.

Today we worked with the chemicals, Xylene and Citrasolve, which actually contains xylene. These are the transfers I did with the xylene pen. The ginko leaves are on cotton and the other leaf is on silk organza.

I have worked with Citrasolve before, but never this way. We transferred color photos and magazine pictures to fabric.

The dandelion is a laser color print on silk charmeuse. The tropical fish is a magazine photo transferred to look like a colored pencil drawing. The other is from a sheet of copyright free work that Wendy gave us. I think they are color laser copies. It is on dyed silk.

This afternoon, we used her copy machine, named Pokey. We photocopied on to fabric. The top two are copied on to cotton.

These are copied to printed commercial fabric.

Mr C picked me up at 4:30 and we had an early dinner before going to EFM at Trinity. It has been a long day, and I need to print some transparencies to use tomorrow.