rocket tracking


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Explorations and Expectations

Unconventional Materials Challenge, Quiltart Message List 2011.
ARGHHH!.  Blogger is being a pest tonight and it won't let me start the text where I want it.  BAGH!

Anyway, The first image above is a "quilt" which I did for the Quiltart Message List in a month long challenge hosted by Maxine Farkas.  It was due on October 18, 2011, but I haven't seen anything about it since I sent the photo in.  

The challenge was to use unconventional materials, specifically things you'd find in the garage or the hardware store.  Materials: Hardware Cloth, tea bags, landscaping cloth (the plastic kind), turn buttons, washers, ball chain, crochet cotton, wooden beads, masking tape "binding". Size:  17 1/2" H x 12" wide.  Because I know that my local groups would grump if it were only 2 layers (which is what Quilt National says ) I used a tea-bag "batting (I sewed large, restaurant sized tea bags together to make a middle layer).  I used hardware cloth and landscaping cloth because of the "cloth" aspect and just picked up what looked like fun.

Part of me balks at this....It is so easy to be distracted and not concentrate on making good pieces, but playing and having fun...don't get me wrong, fun is good....exploring things is the end product art? Is it worthy of being  shown somewhere?

The concept of doing the unconventional materials has been with me for a long time.  I have actually picked up pieces of hardware and plumbing before with the thought of using them in a I decided to join in on this challenge.

What is a little amusing to me now is that it presently fits the Studio Art Quilt Associate's new definition of "art quilt:  The art quilt is a creative visual work that is layered and stitched or that references this form of stitched layered structure.

The Board sees the revised definition as a visionary statement. The word "references" allows for a broader understanding of the art quilt, thus creating a potential for growth in SAQA membership in terms of numbers and diversity of artists. The revised definition allows for more 3D work and work in media other than fiber/textile/fabric/cloth; it allows for techniques and materials not found in traditional quilting. The revised definition allows for framed, unframed, bound, and unbound work, thereby welcoming growth and development of individual style. 

(Sorry that the background color came wit the clip).  I still don't think it is worthy of submitting to a SAQA show though....or is it???

The next piece, the one directly above, sort of came out of this same challenge....but with a twist.  I have been working with found objects...or rather mentally playing with found objects in quilts.  I decided that I wanted to do a piece which I called "zen stitching" and is roughly related to the Japanese concept of "Wabi-sabi."  Please take a look at the Wikipedia definition of "Wabi-sabi" as I think a lot of westerners have taken it to mean a sort of serendipitous aesthetic, when I think it has a more spiritual connotation.  Yes, it has elements of impermanence, and a rusticity, but there's more to it than that.  

I wanted to have a hand sewn piece, one which I would work on texture utilizing random hand quilting, with no prior sketch or thought....just stitching.  I chose a piece of my rust-dyed/tea dyed fabric to serve as the back ground.  Because it is so wonderful to needle through and has great loft and is surprisingly light weight, I used a wool batting.  

After stitching, I used old crochet threads to stitch down tile spacers and washers. Then, I machine quilted with free-motion zigzag using a hand dyed-Oliver Twist thread.  Then I couched hand dyed silk ribbon from Oliver Twist.
I looked at it and decided that I needed even more texture.  So, I found a remnant of copper colored synthetic fabric I bought from the remnant bin at JoAnn fabrics....and I had a piece of stretch velvet...I liked the edges of the wool batting sticking out from the background.  The original quilted section was not square, but reflected the scrap source of the piece of fabric I rust dyed--a scrap of fabric from a stash donated to a friend....destined for the dumpster if I didn't take it.

I then quilted it....lots.  Gives me two of a map or the texture of the earth....I extended the quilting out through the brown stretch velvet...and I felt for all the world like it was water running across the nappy shoulders of a buffalo.

I think I was probably influenced by some of Brooke Atherton's pieces....although hers are much more wonderful.

This was one of three pieces I submitted to the Studio Art Quilt Associate's Ohio Regional Show, and the only one to be accepted.  I am pleasantly surprised.  Correction, I am dumbfounded as a couple of people who I consider to do very good work didn't get in....and to think that this little piece which I did with found pieces, salvaged materials, and just my random stitching....well.. OK, it wasn't completely random as I did look at what I was doing, but it was completely without in.

1 comment:

Vivien Zepf said...

Someone once told me that, as artists, we need to be process driven first, not product driven. That way we'll continue to work on our craft and, out of all the work we create, we'll start to make masterpieces. So yes, that unconventional objects piece is VERY worthy. I'm sure you learned a lot, any and all of it which can inform you as an artist and help you finetune your voice.