Monday, August 27, 2012
This was slightly different from the IQF policy....and while I don't have any problem with the concept, I do have some suggestions as to how it may be better carried out....and part of it is VERY problematic. First, this policy was only stated in the booklet...which I paid an additional $1 for in addition to my show ticket. The paragraph said you had to contact AQS, but didn't tell you WHO you needed to contact...so I went to the website...and decided that probably the best person would be the show director....who is probably sitting down with her feet up somewhere recuperating after the show closed...at least I can hope. As a long time member of AQS, I wish they would have been a bit more explicit.
In addition, several of the things I was going to share are for exhibitions....It is very difficult to track down American quilters to get their permission, even though for every quilt I put on my blog, I really do my darnedest to find them. Sometimes, they don't have internet presence. No Facebook, no membership in SAQA, no nothing....or there are 152 people of the same name on Facebook and I have no idea how to figure out which one is them. Sometimes I can find their quilts on line...covered in other people's blogs or listed in other shows. Often, when I find a website, the email either doesn't work, or they choose not to answer.
If you saw what I originally posted the other day, you'll notice that I used watermarks with the quiltmaker's name, the copyright symbol and the current year, in addition to AQS Grand Rapids quilt show. All images were re-sized to 400 ppi and posted at low quality. All the images were identified both in my text as well as with captions under the piece.
I understand, images can be stolen...but it seems like there should be an easier way for people who are discussing works and concepts and showing their quilts (which presumably would reach a larger audience) to actually do this. Certainly, if quilters have websites...they should at least have the courtesy to maintain their email addresses and respond to queries...
So...would you read a post from me where I tried to describe them in detail and discuss the concepts? or would you roll your eyeballs in disgust? As you can see...the usual rules I break (other than quilting rules) tends to be observance of a diet....So...since Gwen Marston commented on her website she's not "hooked up" I guess I'll have to call her on Beaver Island and hope that she doesn't screen her calls...
Saturday, August 25, 2012
I really didn't know what to expect. I thought that it would be about the same size as the National Quilters Association show in Columbus (it was) and that it would have a lot of traditional quilts (it did) in the "open" category (meaning not invitational exhibitions). I also thought that there would probably be quite a few vendors as quilters seem to spend money no matter what the economy brings, indeed, I counted 55 vendor's booths.
While wandering through the exhibition, I wondered if I wasn't getting just a tad jaded. While I really enjoy traditional quilts, it seemed to me like the major effort in the current mode of quilting is to make intricate applique quilts in bright colors, and put as many sparkly crystals on them as you could....this is a trend I have seen elsewhere as well. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't mind crystals, as long as they serve a design purpose. I rarely use them myself. But it seems that since about 2005 or so, quilters have a competition to see just how many sparkles they can add...even if it doesn't really add to the quilt. Or is it that the quilt is boring without the crystals? I looked at the Pilgrim and Roy exhibition, hoping that a modern quilt would be there to rival some of my favorite antique quilts.....I wasn't terribly taken with them over all, but instead I was drawn to the special exhibits...especially the Ultimate Guild Challenges. Why? These quilts were more individualized. They showed the hand and mind of the quilter. Some had a lot of the quilter's personality...and it wasn't just about what trend they could follow, or who could execute someone else's design with the highest technical precision. While I appreciate craftsmanship, for me, this isn't the be-all and end-all of a quilt. To be sure, the quilt police were out in force.
I really liked JoAnn Hoffman's "When Life Gives you Scraps" which was in the Alliance for American Quilter's exhibition. Her rendition of the tree branches was superb as was the black bird....the nest was dimensional and this was done in the specified format, 19.5" to the apex of the house, and 12" high until the "roof" and 15" wide. The quilts will be auctioned starting November 12, 2012 and ending December 10, 2012. You can see all of the quilts here.
Of the individual entries, I think I liked this one best for an abstract. It is Jennifer Emry's "Organic Log Cabin #4. " I love the motion and the colors she used in this quilt...Obviously, I can't be too far off as it won an award.
I will be talking about other aspects of the show over the next several days....I'm STILL recuperating....I am sadly finding that walking around with my chemo side effects isn't easy...
The show continues through Sunday...and if you get a chance, go. I think you'll be happy you did.
Friday, August 24, 2012
|Judith Bastian Krol, "Down to Earth," 42.5" x 48"|
What determines the order in which I cover them? Usually, it is partially determined on who has responded and given me permission to review them. In most cases,if I have a quilt in the show, mine is last, if I show it at all.
However, in some ways, tonight is a good example to show the breadth of art quilts. This first quilt is one by Judith Bastian Krol, from Westerville, Ohio. This rather straight forward geometric abstract piece is called "Down to Earth." It is inspired by light on giant sequoias, the sky flitting through the tops of the trees, glancing off the trunks making patterns as it comes, as well as the various textures--bark, ground, needles, sky. Judith used commercial fabrics, commercial batiks, rust dyed and hand dyed fabrics, with some beads randomly added to add life.
|Patricia Larson, "Earth-Small Critters in the Garden," 12" x 15" $50.00|
In some ways, Anne Garretson's "I Felt Some of the Majesty," contains the highest realism, as she used photographs in her piece. Like Judith, and Patricia, Anne also used commercially printed fabrics.
|Anne Garretson, "I Felt some of the Majesty," 22" x 34" $650.00|
In some ways, this piece is tied to the launch of Anne's art quilting. Here's her artist's statement: "In 1993, after a very, very long hike, I decided to shift away from my 'real' work as an educator, to do my true work, as an artist. In retrospect, it was not a giant leap. I have always believed that everything is related to everything else. We live not in isolation from the environment but as part of it. The image in I Felt some of the Majesty" is a landscape from the Smokey Mountains from that 1993 hike. A mountain changes slowly over time, but the human experience of it moves rapidly. The repetitive blocks represent that our experience of a place is never exactly the same twice. Sometimes we are enchanted by intricate details, other times drawn to our smallness beside a grand vista.
|Garretson, "I felt some of the majesty, detail.|
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
|Barbara Alexander Schlagbaum, "Papaya Tree," 53" x 45" $1,200.|
Although it doesn't show up well in this photograph, she used shiny ribbons in order to make the lines on the tree which give an added element of interest. Her choice of the commercial batiks are absolutely spot on....
|Schlagbaum, "Papaya Tree," detail|
Barbara used raw edge applique in order to enhance the roughness and the texture of the leaves and trunk. If I were to make any criticism at all, it would be that perhaps it could stand some more contrast in the value of the leaves in order to make them stand out better. The area to the left seems to me to need a little more definition, but truth be told, I've never seen a real papaya tree, so it may indeed look just like this.
Barbara lives in Westerville, Ohio. While I cannot find a website for her, she does have an Etsy shop and you can find more work of hers there...including another papaya tree!
|Jean Liittschwager, "Pearl of the Planets," 43.5" x 35" $2875.|
When you first walk through Aullwood, you might walk past this one, but it really warrants a deeper look. This is Jean Liittschwager's "Pearl of the Planets." I think that it could have stood some more light on it. The piece is composed of several sections which illustrate land, air, water, life forms. While I really liked the shiny element of the "pearl", what is really interesting is the detail, her quilting and handwork shows some very interesting things indeed.
The grey section which looks like pebbles is not a print, but is her pebbled quilting.
Look at the texture from the quilting on this section.
I probably should have posted this in a larger size, but if you look closely, you can see that she has used a quilting pattern of little hills in the light brown below the pearl. To the right, on the rust section she has used houses. On the blue section, the squiggles either represent gasses or water, I'm not quite sure.
You could actually stand looking at this piece for quite some time picking out different elements which delight the eye in their subtlety. Jean is from Walterville, Oregon. Please do take a look at her website here.http://www.jeanliittschwager.com/
Sunday, August 19, 2012
|Suzanne Mouton Riggio, Wauwatosa, WI, "Louisiana Mud," 22" x 17" $1,250.|
|Priscilla Stultz, Fairfax, VA,. "Morning Mist," 28" x 32" $450.|
So...this was an experiment....do you miss my narrative, or are you tired of seeing me prattle along?
Saturday, August 18, 2012
|Liese Bronfenbrenner, "Good Earth," 22" x 31".|
Liese Bronfenbrenner is another one of the artists who used "The Good Earth" as a title for their piece. Liese is setting the tone tonight for simplified works. By "simplified", I mean expression of realistic forms or scenes using smoothed, or simplified lines. This doesn't necessarily indicate that it is unsophisticated or not rich....Indeed, there is an elegance to Liese's piece. The lettering in the background says "Our School Good Earth Exhibit." Her artist statement is simple:
"How does the younger generation percieve the "Good Earth"....as a globe in nature's colors, or as a shiny , glowing ball, or as a seedling sprouting from the dark soil."
I found the connection with school interesting in Liese's case...Liese's husband, Urie, was a co-founder of the Head Start program and promoted a holistic approach to human development. While it is probably co-incidental, Liese portrays 5 figures....and Urie's Ecological Systems Theory which greatly influenced how psychologists and other social scientists analyzed and approached human beings and their environments, is based upon 5 environmental systems. I am walking a thin line here as generally, I think that people often read too much into images supposing the artist's intent....which can result in wild suppositions and an almost rude imposition of the viewer or reviewer's thoughts onto the artist's view.... At any rate, Liese's choice of colors and the elements in this piece are certainly pleasing.
Liese Bronfenbrenner resides in Ithaca, New York and has a long history of working with fiber, particularly in quilts and soft sculptures. She is a repeat exhibitor at Aullwood. You can see her pieces from 2009 and 2011 on my blog.
|Fran LaSalle, "Lunchtime", 20" x 22", $250.|
This year Fran has two pieces in the show, and of the two, I enjoy this second one the most. "Apologies to Grandma Moses". Fran spent a lot of time on this one adding little details...I think some of which must have driven her crazy.
|Fran LaSalle, "Apologies to Grandma Moses," 20" x 26" NFS.|
|Anne Fazzini, "Vineyard View," 22.5" x 24" $250.00|
|Ann Fazzini, "Contour Plowing," 41" x 35.5" $250.00|
I know that my dad commented to me that he was one of the early ones to use contour plowing on our farm in south central Michigan, as well as cover crops, which was foreign to the old timers who laughed at first....but in later years adopted it as they saw what a difference it made in preserving the land.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
|Jean Brueggenjohann, "Enchanted Evening," 33" x 33" $1,200.|
At left is Jean Bruggenjohann's "Enchanted Evening." Jean is also a repeat Aullwood Artist and I reviewed her previous work here.
|Detail, "Enchanted Evening."|
The colors Jean used in this piece are ones she likes to work with, but the style of this is quite different from her otherwork. Jean has a background in graphic art (she's a graphic designer) and is a professor at the University of Missouri in Columbia. You can see her other pieces on her website.
Jean writes this about her piece:
"I recently started making quilts that are landscapes and images of things and situations. I have also been using round flower images as an abstract foil to the more realistic backgrounds. In this quilt I wanted to use small squares that would make up a larger landscape. I layered the four squares with different backgrounds made mostly of tulle which referenced a window to another world. Under lights, the tulle sparkles and adds another dimension. The four squares are attached to the tulle background with Velcro.
Isn't the detail on this piece wonderful? Such richness in the prints she choose. Another interesting thing on this piece is how she constructed it. The sheer background has lines of quilting which continue through (by line only) into the body of the quilt. The different flowers, etc. subtly stand out from the background. I have been using a similar concept, that is, quilting the background heavily, and then applying the less quilted piece on top, or vice versa depending on what I am doing. This helps reduce issues from the uneven quilting as well as giving the piece greater dimension.
You can see here how the background, a sparkle organza, is there, with the heavier quilting thread in the border, following the line into the body of the work which visually connects even though it is two separate pieces.
I love the whimsy in this piece...and it must truly be enchanted as I don't think that hummingbirds don't usually go out at night as they have very poor night vision. Hummingbird moths, however DO feed at night.
Gale Whitney, of Bellevue, Washington has three pieces showing two different styles of working.
|Gale Whitney, Left: "Wildflower #7, Tiger Lily", 39" x 22" $500; at right, "Wildflower #3, Sunflower. " 39" x 22" $500.|
Gale employs a lot of different techniques and surface design elements in her work. The tigerlily was inspired by the native tiger lilies which bloom in the Cascade Mountains, and sunflowers she said she wanted to communicate their cheerfulness. These two pieces are made from her own hand-dyed fabric. But compare these two works with her "Swallowtail."
|Gale Whitney, "Swallowtail," 24" x 27", $650.00|
You can see the wax resist elements in her surface design on these hand-dyed pieces. I love the fabric she made for the border. Whereas the other two pieces are fairly staid, the repetition of all the circular motifs make this piece fairly vibrate.
Gale hand appliqued and hand quilted her pieces.
You can see more of her pieces and read about her on her website.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
|Merry Havens, "Mama Africa", 25" dia., $625.|
This is Merry's "Mama Africa," and I love how she's worked background and the continents. Some of the fabrics are African print. Her work reminds us that Africa is the cradle of mankind, and although the earth is made of many parts, it creates one whole. She quilted the words "Mama Africa into the edges of the quilt.
Merry is a science teacher, and lives in Thornton, Colorado. Her piece "Many Worlds/One Earth" shows her education background. The piece is composed of circles representing flora and fauna from various elements...painted with acrylic paints on the circles. Two of the circles were ink jet photo prints on cotton.
|Merry Havens, "Many Worlds/One Earth," 45" x 16", $700|
Her teacher side comes when she queried the viewer to find out which was the ink jet photos. This is a nifty thing to do in the label of this piece as the Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm hosts many families and children in their programs and as visitors. Her use of the different black and white prints (some very small prints) directs the eye and gives textural interest to the piece.
Her last piece I really enjoy. You can't see it in the group photo I showed here because it is up and to the left of the area However, if you check yesterday's blog post, I believe you can see it there.
I think I enjoy this next piece most because there is so much to look at. It is rich and dripping with things to examine.
|Merry Havens, "Wild Earth," 29" x 18" NFS|
Much like a crazy quilt, Merry has embellished this piece greatly, with buttons, beads, stones, jewelry elements, seed pods and other interesting things. She has appliqued and couched ribbon and fabric creating a modern crazy quilt with strong references to nature.
I tried to capture the dimension from the natural seed pods Merry attached. You can see more of Merry's work here. She also has a blog which you can find here.
Merry's use of buttons and embellishments is related to my current work. I didn't intend to show it here, but I am because a couple of people have asked me to.
|Lisa Quintana, "Soil Horizon," 16.5" x 31.5" $500.|
I also couched decorative threads and yarns along the side. I hand and machine quilted the main body using a wool batting which I allowed to come out at the sides.
The background is a stretch (oh fun oh joy) panne velvet which I heavily machine stitched. I need to take another photo as you can't really see that in this....and I didn't bother to take a picture of mine alone at the show.
|Lisa Quintana, "Voice of the People", 26.25" x 31.5", $500.|
You have seen my froggy friend before. It is done after the Northwestern tribal "button blankets" and was actually designed for a Miami Valley Art Quilt Network challenge where the theme was "frogs."
It is appliqued on wool and wool blend felt, embellished with lots of mother of pearl buttons, and white shell beads. I machine quilted it.
The frog, according to many Northwestern native groups, is known as "the voice of the people," and is the go-between for the spiritual and physical worlds, probably because as an amphibian, the frog straddles both the aquatic and terrestrial worlds.
Monday, August 13, 2012
|Vita Marie Lovett, "Robinson Farm Girl," 28" x 22.5" NFS|
At first, from a distance, the visitors don't realize that it ISN'T a painting...but a quilt. When you get up to it, they then realize that the entire surface if painted with threads. Vita Marie Lovett uses acrylic paints to paint on the fabric in the general color she wishes the piece to have. She then machine stitches over it, laying in multple colors of thread in order to give the piece the dimension and depth she wishes to achieve.
Quite honestly, I don't understand how her quilts manage to be distortion free and usually this amount of thread work usually causes mine to bump and sway from all the extra threads.
|Vita Marie Lovett, "Robinson Farm Girl" detail|
"This farm gal is a Buff Orpington hen who has the pleasure of living in a five story 1915 dairy barn. The girls come and go through an open side window. Robinson Farm, located in Woodstock, Vermont, is part of the Farmhouse Bed and Breakfast. Now you can really see who provides the breakfast.
My subject matter is a simple door, yet I find that it is open to so many possibilities. I feel that the shapes and textures of old structures lend themselves to reinterpretation in fabric. I enjoy the challenge of creating the illusion of rustic wood and peeling paint with thread, hence my most recent work, my Primitive Door Series.
I worked for an architectural firm for 12 years and also did free-lance graphic design. Working in this field has made me more focused on small details; it has carried through to my artwork. I am currently working full time as a mixed media fiber artist.
I live in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains where I raise chickens and share a studio with two crazy cats."
I would love to meet Vita Marie in person some day as we seem to have a lot in common in our interest in old buildings and small details....and although I don't raise them, I do love to look at chickens...much to my husband's amusement, I make a beeline to the Poultry Barn at the area fairs...along with the Sheep barn...You can see more of Vita Marie's work and read more about her method on her website. You can read what I wrote about her piece in 2009 here..
|Ann Theobald, "Impression: Strata", 14" x 18" $300|
This isn't a really good shot...or rather, at the resolution I post with it isn't the greatest. I also don't think that the "barn board" background does it the best, but it does work well with the rest of the quilts it hangs with. As I said before, I think that the quilts are hung more for color groupings than statements, but at least this and mine really do work together. My piece, "Soil Horizons" is the one you see partially, with the buttons...I think Anne is showing the differences in soil color (referred to as soil horizons) but it could just as easily be showing the bands of earth as you see it from the sky.
Anne wrote: "Sometimes a thought needs to be expressed, or a color, but more often one fabric piece leads to another. I am fascinated with constructing something with small bits and left overs. I love "painting with and on" fabric, threads and exploring new trends in the art quilt world. I trust my intuition to lead me to new expression, recording experiences and perceptions , whether it is of the places I have visited or the feelings of being at this age in time. I continue learning new skills and techniques with great joy."
|Anne Theobald, "Impression: Contours", 23.5" x 17.5" $450|
Perhaps the "Strata" can also be layers of emotion....and that's one of the great things about art. The meaning is often the interaction of the viewer and the piece...and the emotions and reactions of the viewer may be entirely different than what the artist had in mind....but they are both valid.
Anne has been working with fabric and thread for 40 years....actually, about the same amount of time that I have been quilting. Like me, Anne loves the connection that working with needle and thread makes with people across cultures and time. Thread, fabric, color, texture, dimension, all work together and connect us even though our end results may be very different.
|Anne Theobald, "Impression: Contours," detail.|
I think of all the pieces Anne has in the show this year, my favorite is this last one, "Under the Waterfall." I love the colors, I love the contrast of the white bursts, which speak of the bubbles and diamonds formed from sunlight striking the water.
|Anne Theobald, "Under the Waterfall", 17.5" x 15.5" $400.|
Friday, August 10, 2012
|Debra Bentley, "Little Things Matter", 19.25" x 45.4" NFS|
Another Miami Valley Art Quilt Network (MVAQN) member, Debra Bentley also exhibited a piece at Aullwood this year. Deb as well as Maxine and I and a few other people went to a workshop at Shelley Brenner Baird's studio to learn about printing with thermofax screens and thickened dyes. Deb sent off a detail of a photograph she took last year of fruiting bodies on some moss which grew on some of her flower pots on her deck to have a screen made. Interestingly enough, the photograph she used for her screen, she also used in her piece for Aullwood last year.
You can see the results of her printing at left. She then took some photographic images which she transferred to fabric and stitched additional leafy things in the background.
The fabric which Deb choose for her background was a piece of rust dyed fabric she had made a couple of years ago. Deb laughed when she saw what I had entered as both of us used some raw edges on our quilts, a somewhat similar palette and the rust dyed fabric.
When I was talking with Barbara Trick, the Aullwood organizer, she mentioned that we had used rust-dyed fabrics and that a couple of years ago, everyone was using rust-dyes, but that it had fallen off. She went on to say that she always saw trends in the show.
I don't think Deb and I are trendy. Both of us use rust dyed fabric because we like it...and if it works in a piece, that's fine. To us, it is just as any other method of dyeing fabric....and I love the colors we get from it. Deb lives in Xenia and has always been interested in the natural world. She volunteers at local nature centers, in addition to being a Master Gardener in Xenia, Ohio.
|Robbie Porter, "Katie and the Coneflower," 40" x 36" NFS.|
On her artist statement, Robbie used this quote from Rachel Carson: "Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts."
Here's the rest of her statement: "My granddaughter Katherine has a favorite color, purple. Katie has always had an interest in nature and has often planted her own flowers, most often those that are purple. A love of gardening and helping beautiful things grow is a wonderful thing to teach a child. Katie has learned a great deal about our Good Earth and what she can do, even at age eleven, to make the earth even more beautiful. The quilt "Katie and the Cone Flower" was inspired by observing my granddaughter as she admired her first garden.
Robbie did a wonderful job at shading the quilt, especially with her quilting. She told me that Katie attended the opening with her and people recognized Katie as the "girl in the quilt."
Thursday, August 9, 2012
|Maxine S. Thomas, "Japanese Spring", 24.25" x 20" $225|
In Maxine's other life, she is a lawyer and she spent time in Japan as a Fullbright Professor which influences her work. In addition, Maxine almost always uses a bright color palette.
I saw the beginning of this piece in a thermofax screen printing workshop Shelley Brenner Baird held for us earlier this spring. The "woven" background and the ginkgo leaves are both commercially available screens which then then printed on the fabric with thickened dyes. She added more elements later.
Once again, Maxine's artist statement says it better than I can: "Ginkgo leaves remind me of the trees I saw in Sendai and always bring back warm memories. The art of Japan is very special to me and my quilts are ways that I can travel back to Sendai through art, illusion, emotions, texture and color. Quilts appeal to my lawyer's notion of what is right and useful and my artist's love of freedom and whimsy. Applique's discipline is new to me and I have done stenciling here for the first time. The end result is my celebration and summons to others to take their own evocative journey.
|Maxine S. Thomas, Spring Iris I, 29.25" x 20" $250|
I had the pleasure of meeting Maude Haeger after writing about her work at last year's show. Maude lives in West Chester, Ohio, so it is a ways from Aullwood, but not in midwestern terms. After writing her, I found that her husband was also fighting cancer and we met at Aullwood to discuss that, and lots of other things besides! Maude is a teacher and is an exuberant, life loving person.
|Maude Haeger, "Sunshine in the Garden, 58" x 40.5" NFS|
Maude dedicated her Sunshine in the garden to her husband Walter, who has supported her in her artistic endeavors throughout their marriage.
"This quilt was created during the time he was going through chemo and radiation. I was, of course, very worried and was not sure of what was going to happen. Walter loves it when I use bright colors and he loves gardens. I chose to work on this piece as my way of pushing the cancer away. Our earth is beautiful. It also has sad and bad things in it. We have to choose what we will concentrate on. I like to try to overcome bad with beauty. It is worth the effort of trying."
|Maude Haeger, "Volcanic Rift in the Sea", 65" x 34" $1,000.|
Her other piece, is just as rich and jewel like as this one....and I really love it. Maude has illustrated the cracks in the ocean floor, a volcanic rift which oozes lava and gases. I am afraid that this photo really do it justice as it glows with the reds, blues, and violets...
Maude heavily machine quilts her pieces, often using decorative threads. She has also added quite a bit of beading to this piece to really make it come alive.
Here's a detail of her work...all of those little red dots are beads...