Posts Tagged ‘Fiber Art’

I would like to take a moment to celebrate the conclusion of my most recent class: Raw Edge Applique at The Arts Barn in Schuylkill Haven, PA. First of all, owner Deb Cooper and Education Director Joanne Cosentino were so gracious and accommodating from beginning to end, even providing snacks for the students during class. I am very grateful to them.

There were 4 students.  Even that small number kept me busy every moment. They were good humored, smart, and cooperative. I loved to see when they “got it!” Some examples of comments, this from an experienced traditional quilter, “This is so much more freeing than making all the little squares!”  “Wow, what a difference it makes when you’ve quilted the piece”

I provided little thumbnail sketches they could use for composition ideas.  Two used them, one made her own composition, and one took hers from my Quilt National 2015 Catalog. She said she kept coming back to “Infinity” by Elena Stokes, and ended up nearly copying that. (on a much smaller scale, with different fabrics.) I hope Elena takes that as a compliment!

The one composition “rule” I impart to beginning students is to avoid the center of a piece. You are trying to keep the eye moving. Use the “rule of thirds,” or at least don’t put an eye catcher in the center!

I brought in two sewing machines, one set up with a walking foot for straight line quilting, and one for free motion.  I didn’t want them to get hung up on fancy quilting techniques for an introductory class.  We only had two 3-hour sessions. Near the end I changed the free motion machine to straight stitch so they could finish the bindings.

They worked in small sizes.  I cut muslin for the substrates approximately 12 x 16″ with batting to match. I had two ironing stations set up, which also worked well. I teach using Mistyfuse, and each student got about 2 yards of it to work with.

I began the class by showing pictures of Art Quilts, and also explaining the relationship between traditional quilts and art quilts, and where raw edge applique fits into the later category. I brought in some of my own pieces, and gave brief demonstrations at various points: how to start, squaring and trimming, quilting, and binding.  I had instructions available for both “facing to the back” and quarter inch binding.  Everyone chose to use the “facing to the back” method.

I also gave color suggestions, using a color wheel.  You can’t go wrong with complimentary colors!

My own take-away is that two 3-hour classes is the very least time needed to start to learn this method. More time would have been better.  But everyone almost finished their work, or is prepared to finish it at home.

 

 

 

I visited the opening of Fiberart International 2016 and the all-day Fiberart Forum in Pittsburgh. The Forum is an all day, intensive walk through of the show, with artists speaking about their pieces, anchored by a key note speaker.

This is an exhibition of contemporary fiber art, shown both at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and the Society for Contemporary Craft, from May 6 – August 21, 2016.

Full disclosure: this tri-annual show was the single most important inspiration for me to become a fiber artist. I visited the show in 2004 and 2007 in wordless wonder. I longed to be able to create like these artists did, but this dream seemed far out of reach compared to the reality of my life at the time.

Then, after a moment of profound enlightenment, I changed my life and began a now 10-year quest to become a fiber artist.

By 2009 that road had taken me to membership in the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh, the wonderful organization that organizes this show every three years. So returning to “the Burgh” meant reuniting with my dear friends in the FGP as well.

The keynote speaker this year was juror Tali Weinberg, Executive Director of the Textile Society of America, and her topic was “Engaging Injustice Through Textiles.” She caught my attention by making the observation that textiles are interwoven with the history of injustice.  Think: enslaved labor picking cotton. Think: labor exploitation in textile plants.  Consider Ghandi’s movement to create hand woven products in India to counter British dumping of cheap manufactured cotton goods.

Her words echoed in my mind viewing the Best in Show: “THIS Revolution Will Not Be Televised: #13 Protest Series,” by Penny Mateer in collaboration with Martha Wasik. It is a giant (94” x 77”) quilt of the images of 80 unarmed persons of color who have been shot by the police since 1999. The border lists their names, ages, where they were from, and the date of their deaths.

Some other pieces that particularly intrigued me were “Snellandschap Luchtweg (Fast Landscape Airway) by Pauline MM Nijenhuis from the Netherlands. It is a canvas painted then hand stitched, and a statement on time – the fast and slow of it.

Susan Kathleen Doyle’s “Columbia” is a two-piece dress made from an encyclopedia her husband discarded. The muted colors and workmanship mesmerized me, plus I’ve a special interest in the use of old paper.

Margery Amdur’s “Amass #6” transforms cut cosmetic sponges with ink, gouache, pastel pigment into a lush landscape that you want to visually dive into and not leave.

“Mending, Roe v Wade,” is a small but powerful piece by Lori Zimmerman that gives visual, visceral representation to the erosion of the 1973 Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal.

Patricia Kennedy-Zafred has now made five “Tagged” pieces.  Each one, for me, has had special, personal meaning (my childhood best friend’s father was one of the 120,000 persons of Japanese heritage forced into internment camps under FDR’s Executive Order 9066).  This one, Patty says, is the best. She has learned more about the people pictured, and been able to add more information to the tags.

Finally, Emily Jan of Canada delighted me with her flying wolf adorned with peacock feathers. “Ragnarök” refers to the Norse Twilight of the Gods. A mysterious and beautiful world indeed.

I am pleased to be in a small group show at Some Things Looming Gallery, opening April 16, 2016, from 1-4 PM.

The artists are Lisa Jean Allswede, Marie Bergstedt, Kachina Martin and Martha Ressler

 

Art of the State -- PA

I was amazed and honored to be accepted into this year’s Art of the State, the premier state-wide art competition in Pennsylvania. Only 122 works were chosen out of almost 1800 entries. The show runs from June 22 to Sept 14, 2014 at the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg.
The piece that was accepted is called Not So Empty Lot. I thought it was completed a couple of years ago, but something was bugging me. So I made a small but significant change in it last year, and – voila – it is much better. Now I am really happy with it. An added bonus is that I was able to change the date on it. An artist dates a work by the most recent addition or correction to the piece.
I am not using borders on my pieces anymore, but on this piece I decided to leave it on. The border is itself quilted, and because of the colors I feel it is an integral part of the piece. In this case, I think that was the right decision.

Photography

We recently re-photographed a number of my Studio Art Quilt pieces. This was based on acquiring new knowledge about what is expected on a professional level.
The background we were using wasn’t completely white.
The photo shows a detail of the old (on the left) and new photos (on the right) side by side.
I had submitted an application to become a “Juried Art Member” or, yes, a JAM, of SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates). I was rejected, but the feedback they gave me really helped me improve – especially in the area of the photographs of my work.
In addition we are now using four lights, two on each side, for more even lighting. This is important especially for large pieces. Our next purchase will be for “daylight” bulbs for the lights, to further improve the lighting.

Edge of Morning

I just got this piece into an exhibit (Edge-to-Edge) of the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh. It is called Edge of Morning, and is small, just 12 x 12 x 1.5. As I have been doing, it is inspired by walking the aging industrial streets of Pittsburgh, and picking up found objects as I go. The focal point is that line created by the rooflines as they march down the block.
The show opens Friday Feb. 21 at Borelli-Edwards Gallery, 3583 Butler Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201 from 5-8 PM. See ya there!

Art Donation -- Threads of the Human Story

I recently donated a piece of art to a non profit organization.
This is one that has strong social and political content, so I felt that it would be a good fit.
It was inspired by an image of the earth at night, put together by the National Geographic out of hundreds of satellite photos taken over the course of several years. It shows the disparity of the electrified, developed world, and the areas that are dark. Wild fires rage across Australia, and the red flare of natural gas burn off is clear in Nigeria, the Middle East and Siberia.
I interpreted it in cloth, and added a border made from handmade pieces from Ghana, Cambodia and Thailand, collected by friends who were traveling there at that time.
While the photos tell a social, economic and political story of humans and the earth, the border tells a story of the work being done by hand by creative people in the areas of the world that are not lit up at night.

The organization I donated it to is the Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern PA. They share a space with Strong Women Strong Girls. Here they are with the piece in its new home!