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Monday, July 25, 2011

Aullwood 2011: Merry Havens and Kathleen Irons Sweeney

If you have been able to visit the Aullwood Nature Center's art quilt shows in the past, or if you followed my blog posts from last year, you will probably recognize Merry Haven's name.  She, along with several others, usually submit pieces every year.  Not everything gets in, it all depends on the juror, but is it a pleasure for me to see how they interepret the theme.

Merry Havens "A Wrinkle in Water Wisdom 56" x 27" $1,200
This year, Merry, who is from Thornton, Colorado, has two pieces in the show.  The first is "A Wrinkle in Water Wisdom."  In this larger piece, Merry shows ten fish swimming upstream, all of them endangered because of introduction of non-native species, installation of dams, pollution and overfishing.  The fish are (from top to bottom):  Lake Chub (2); Southern Red Belly dace (3); Northern Red Belly Dace (3); Colorado Pikeminnow (1); Suckermouth Minnow (1); Plains Minnow (1); Rio Grande Sucker (3) ; Humpback Chub (1); Boneytail Chub (1); and Razorback Sucker (1).

Havens, "Wrinkle in Water Wisdom" detail

In this detail you can see some of the decorative cut work appliques that Merry used along with some of her quilting.
Merry Havens, "Two Fish", 11" x 35" $385

Merry Havens, "Two Fish" deail.

I'm a lover of bright colors, particularly oranges, reds and blues.  Merry combines all of these in "Two Fish".  This piece doesn't really have a weighty statement, it's just plain fun! 

In the detail, you can see Merry's use of couched decorative threads and yarns.  In addition, she used real hand painted stones to give an extra element of color and texture.

Merry has a blog and you can see it(and examples of her work)  here.  You can also see the piece she had in last years show here and here

Kathleen Irons Sweeney, "Tautology", 34" x 24" NFS

Kathleen Irons Sweeney who is from Cedarburg, Wisconsin taught me a new word.  This is her piece which is called "Tautology."  She explains it, and her piece, in her artist's statement better than I could:

"While pondering the question 'Why is the sky blue?' I asked my daughter, a movie buff, what came to her mind.  She immediately answered, "It's a tautology." referring to this very question as it was discussed in the movie 28 Days.  The word itself and the image it evoked were so vivid that I knew immediately this was the inspiration for my quilt.

By definition, a tautology is a repetition of the same idea in different ways.  In this instance, the sky is blue because it reflects the color of the sea which is reflecting the sky above.  . . I chose fabrics to blend from the deepest earth through water to the outermost sky.  Separate elements lending and  reflecting back to each other ,  effectively joining land, life and cosmos in one representation."

In this detail, you can better see her choice of batik fabric and her little boat.  It's a simple design, but I think a very effective one.  I'm also always happy to add a new word to my vocabulary, but probably one I won't use very often!  You can see my post on her last year here.
Kathleen Irons Sweeney, "Tautology" detail

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