Sunday, 25 November 2007
Jeanne's amazing Rainbow Tumbling Blocks quilt has been completed and put on her bed. It would really need a full-frontal shot to do it justice as it's difficult to see from this angle how subtley the the colours in the four sections have been blended. Jeanne had started on this major project, all stitched by hand, before she joined Brown House Quilters but was able to get some help and advice in quilting it and finishing it to superb effect.
Thursday, 30 August 2007
In this version I've used a border fabric to add complexity to the design, as you can see in the detail shown below.
Tuesday, 21 August 2007
Apart from the pleasure of catching up with old friends, and of seeing new work by people whose progress I've been following for years, every FOQ holds exciting possibilities for encountering artists who may be well-established but who are new to me. This year it was the artist Bob Adams whose quilted textiles proved to be a revelation.
Do you know the story The Twelve Dancing Princesses, by the Brothers Grimm?
Blue Trunks, shown here with Bob's permission, immediately transported me into the magical landscape through which the princesses passed on their way to illicit rendevous with their dancing partners. It has a slightly eerie, unreal atmosphere; it is a landscape which we can recognise but yet makes us feel a little uneasy.
All Bob's quilted textiles are suffused with atmospheric light - the quilts in the series based on observations of the phases of the moon in particular reveal a truthful observation of celestial phenomena which is transcended and transfomed by the subtle play of light and colour.
As so often the case with textile art, illustrations cannot do justice to the work. The texturised surfaces add depth and complexity to the graphic images: seen 'for real', these pieces express the sheer pleasure and satisfaction which the artist finds in using fabric and stitch. In her book, The Work of Craft, Carla Needleman says this: 'The beauty of the object derives from the quality of the work that went into it. ' Bob Adam's textiles are beautiful, and beautifully crafted. Find out more about him on:http://www.bobadamsart.com/index.htmldamsart.com/index.html
Sunday, 5 August 2007
Monday, 30 July 2007
Sometimes they take it really seriously and work hard. But not always!
Notice that the work is fuelled by copious amounts of tea and biscuits.
Thursday, 26 July 2007
Chris laid all her blocks out on the floor while the rest of us stood round and offered comments - in fact, we agreed that she'd got it about right almost first time. The blocks will be set together with sashings and posts in light and dark blue.
Jennifer's blocks are on a pink and lilac theme, and she's so pleased with them that she says that she'll re-decorate the room for which the quilt is intended, to make it match the quilt!
As well as the traditional American block patterns used, we covered other useful techniques, such as appliqué, bias appliqué and English piecing over papers. Please note that most of these blocks have been sewn by hand using the American patchwork method. That's because most of the members of the group prefer not to use a sewing machine, enjoying the ability to relax in the comfort of an arm-chair while peacefully sewing!
Tuesday, 19 June 2007
I marked the outline of each shape using a medium black felt pen and identified the colour on each one.
I sprayed a piece of calico fabric with temporary fabric adhesive and laid out and pinned the pieces on it. Next, the panel was mounted on wadding and backing and pinned through all three layers. Finally, each shape was outlined with a wide zig-zag stitch which had the effect of anchoring the pattern together and at the same time quilting it. A border was added to make a good-sized cushion.
Thursday, 14 June 2007
Monday, 14 May 2007
After getting so much positive feed-back from the class, Jean has been inspired to complete the project; she has chosen border fabic which complements the colour and design of the main field and intends to finish the quilt by the tying method.
Wednesday, 11 April 2007
The date 1842 and the initials PO are worked into the front of the quilt in trapunto lettering. Surviving correspondence between emigrees and members of the family who emained in Guernsey show that they remained in touch and it is thought that the quilt was probably sent over as a wedding gift.
In her book, Clark refers to, and illustrates, a similar quilt,as 'Tulip';its provenance points to the probability that it was made by Mary Ogier of Vinton County, Ohio, which suggests that she may also have made the Guernsey version.
The block, of course, is simply one of innumerable variations on the ubiquitous pieced floral block most familiar as'North Carolina Lily', although it seems to have a different alias in every American State where it appears.
Wednesday, 7 March 2007
Thursday, 22 February 2007
I kept a running list of the books I read in 2006 and arranged them in approximate categories, beginning with Arts and Crafts. Some of these books are old friends I had occasion to visit during the year, either for reference or just because I find them so valuable and/or useful that they are worth re-reading.
M.C.Richards: Centering in Pottery, Poetry and the Person (Out of print and apparently unavailable.) Published in 1962. Re-reading this is pure 1960s nostalgia and yet, and yet... how much of what she says is still true, particularly about the true meaning of education.)
Jonathan Holstein: The Pieced Quilt. An American Design Tradition First published in 1973. Absolutely seminal work for anyone onterested in the history of the patchwork quilt in America.
Bets Ramsey,Merikay Waldvogel: Southern Quilts. Quilts of the Civil War
Faun Valentine: West Virginia Quilts and Quiltmakers
Carla Needleman: The Work of Craft
Suzi Gablik: The Re-Enchantment of Art
Anne Truitt: Daybook. The Journey of an Artist
Henry Glassie: The Spirit of Folk Art
Garard Degeorge and Yves Porter: The Art of the Islamic Tile
In reviewing this book, Frederick Franck, author of The Zen of Seeing, said that it is a book "...for anyone whose hands itch to make something - pot, piece of weaving, wooden clog, painting or book - with seriousness, so that it is undivorced from the maker's inner life."
Here are some random quotes taken from Needleman's book:
"The realisation that when I work at my craft in a way that allows each moment to fall of its own weight, without hurrying it or retaining it, such a way of working will produce in me a state of greater sensitivity, can lead me to use this method as an inner technique having as its goal the state itself, solely for the pleasure of it. (P.9)"
"What does it mean that I undertake to study myself? Perhaps it can mean that I extend myself into the Craft, willing to sacrifice any of my own opinions that experience proves false. I undertake to begin a conversation with the craft, to listen to it, to be taught by the effort of trying to understand it. (Pages 12/13)"
Carla Needleman. The Work of Craft. An inquiry into the nature of crafts and craftsmanship. Alfred Knopf. NY. 1979. isbn 0 394 49718 X
Jonathan Holstein considered pieced quilts superior to appliqué quilts in variety, invention and ingenuity. "For the quilt maker, the pieced block dictated the use of basic geometric forms, the possibilities of which were later sensed and exploited by abstract painters. The beauty of appliqué quilts is more of a decorative nature than that seen in the best of the pieced quilt, which when successful are the results of legitimate questions having been posed and most convincingly resolved. The license to draw freely, if it is encumbered with considerations of what is "elegant" or in "good taste", maybe more confining than finding creative solutions within a given format."Despite the fact that the period when many of these quilts were made, i.e. the mid-19th to the early 20th century, saw the emergence of geometric form as a consciously employed primary source in design, painting and sculpture, Jonathan Holstein reminds us that when such quilts were made they were accepted as common, utilitarian objects, not "art"; indeed, if presented as such they would certainly have been reviled. Nonetheless,,comparison between the visual effects of some of the best 19th and early 20th century quilts and paintings of that period are irresistible. Holstein points out the similarities between the "total visual effects " of some pieced quilts and examples of modern painting, for instance the retinal stimulation achieved through colour and formal relationships, and optical illusion, in the works of artists such as Vasaraly, while the use of repeated images drawn from the environment reminds us of the sequential use of images exemplified in the work of Andy Warhol. Colour variation on a single format, as seen in some Amish quilts, is compared with, for example, Josef Albers’ Homage to the Square series.There are other points of comparison between quilts and paintings: quilts have the same format as most paintings, that is to say they are rectangular or square. (Painters fitted their frescoes largely to squared interiors and exteriors, worked on squared panels, used rectangular structures, whereas the square or rectangular format of the quilt was the fitted by the size and shape of beds.) Finally, quilts like paintings are two dimensional.Holstein goes on to say: "intriguing and startling as the resemblances me be, any direct linking of the two media [i.e. quilting and painting] would be demeaning to the history and presence of both quilts and paintings. Implicit in the art of creating painting is the intellectual process which ties the work of an artist to his disaffected ancestors and his peers, and places sit in the history of objects specifically made to be art. This is precisely the quality which was absent in the making of pieced quilts. The women who made pieced quilts were not "artists", that is, they did not intend to make art, had no sense of the place of their work in a continuous stream of art history, did not, in short, intellectualise the production of handcraft any more than did the makers of objects in the vernacular tradition the world over." Jonathan Holstein: The Pieced Quilt. An American Design Tradition.
Illustration shows 'Alhambra I', the first in a series of quilts inspired by Moorish decorative motifs.