rocket tracking


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Aullwood 2011: Georgie Cline and Kathleen Hughes

Gerogie Cline Naples Florida *1 25.5" x 18.5"  $500
Georgie Cline, from Columbus, Ohio, offers us some detailed glimpses of piers on the beach in Naples, Florida.   Georgie uses hand-dyed cotton, organza and acrylic paint to concoct realistic and evocative images.

Detail Naples Florida I by Georgie Cline

Naples Florida #5 by Georgie Cline.  22" x 20" $450.
Kathleen Hughes Water Lily Fountain 41.25" x 41"  $2,500.00

You can see little slivers of fabric that Georgie has stitched down.   She uses free-motion zigzag stitch to add more texture in her work.

I particularly love the colors that Georgie has used in Naples Beach #5. Georgie often works in series and has a website which shows some of her works here. Her works are all nature oriented, but I  think you'll enjoy going to her site and taking a look of some of her more abstract works. 

Kathleen Hughes of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin also depicts scenes from nature.  Hers are realistic views which are rendered in commercial fabrics, hand dyes and whatever it takes to make a natural view. 

Frequently, Kathleen uses photographs printed on fabric to make her pieces even more realistic.  In Water Lily Fountain you can see that she has done just that.  The water lily pads are made from photographic prints.  Kathleen also made her water lily flowers and some of the pads dimensional.

She writes:  "I love floral quilts and always look for more ideas for them.  With Water Lilies, I wanted to capture the floating evanescent quality.  A photograph I took of the lilies growing in the fountain outside the mission at Santa Barbara (CA), inspired me to think in layers of fabric, just as the rock layer is overlaid with shadows, waterlilie pads and lilies. " 

Her shadows are great and if you look closely you can see the coins she used in the piece. You can see more of her work on her website.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Aullwood Nature Center 2011: Martha Lee Burleson and Robbie Porter

Martha Lee Burleson, Moutain Stream  14.25" x 11.75". NFS

Martha Lee Burleson "Mountain Stream" detail.
As I've said before, much of what draws me to quilting as my preferred form of artwork is texture.  The texture of the fabric, threads and whatever else we choose to add to the piece.

Martha Lee Burleson did a wonderful job with found objects in this little piece called "Mountain Stream."  Martha Lee Burleson is from Charlotte, North Carolina and unfortunately, I cannot find a web presence for her.

This is a small piece which she has mounted on a linen ground and framed without glass. Martha Lee was inspired to make this piece by a trip to the Georgia mountains.  "The rocky river reminded me that the ocean once covered the earth far inland of today's shoreline. "  Martha pieced her own hand-dyed fabrics, then embellished it with silk, cotton, beads, and shells found on the North Carolina beaches.  She then hand quilted it.


Robbie Porter, "Shore Excursion" 46" x 28".  $600
Haning right next to it, but much larger, is Robbie Porter's "Shore Excursion."  Robbie quilts in Batavia, Ohio.  I really like this piece. I think a lot for the colors in it and the richness, but also for the texture.  Robbie used printed commercial cottons and a decorator fabric.  She sliced and off set the background, then  added a swash of filmy fabric to indicate the little burble of water as the waves wash back to the ocean. 

She also embellished it with specialty yarns, sequins, shells, sea glass and shell beads.  She added a fringed beaded element to the irregular edge which makes it all the more rich and pleasing to the eye. 

Her artist statement reads as follows:  "'The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy or too impatient.' Ann Morrow Lindbergh Gifts of the Sea.  Shore Excursions was created as a celebration of quiet walks at the water's edge and the joy of finding even very small treasures washed up from the sea.  The waves washing across the rocks  were created with a layering of netting and organza fabrics with shells and sea glass embellishments."
Robbie Porter, "Shore excursion" detail.

Aullwood 2011: Liz Piatt

Liz Piatt, Ocean Life, 46" x 42" NFS
Although in many respects, this is a traditional quilt (primarily in layout and the fact that is uses applique), I think that it is wonderfully designed and executed and it happens to be one of my favorites.  Liz Piatt from Orinda, California made this quilt and unfortunately, she doesn't have a website although she does seem to do a lot of teaching, and lecturing.

Liz wrote this in her statement about this piece:   "When one swims in the ocean off Oahu, Hawaii, there is indeed 'Water, Water, Everywhere.'  On out last dive there, my daughter and I were thrilled to see both an octopus and a spotted Eagle Ray.  Of course I had to remember this with a quilt."

The quilt is balanced, yet has  a great sense of rhythm.  Her workmanship is absolutely fantastic.  The limited palette is arresting.  I love the reds, blacksn and the blue is a nice counterpoint. 

Liz  Piatt, Ocean  Life, detail

Liz Piatt, Ocean Life, detail.

While I don't ordinarily like using machine embroidery,  Liz has used it well in the mariner's compass and the seashell.  I don't know if she digitized them herself or if they were programed by someone else.

You can see here that she also used satin stitch or machine embroidery to make the octopus' eyes.

I'm sorry that this isn't a better photograph, but I was trying to show you all the hand stitching.  The stitching on the fins and the quilting is all done by hand.
I thought that this piece used net bags from the produce section, but her daughter recently (08/23/2012) informed me that the piece had no net bags, but was all hand embroidered.  Mea culpa and  I will also note that when I was writing this, my eyes were suffering greatly.

It's just a great piece!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Aullwood 2011 Melani Kane Brewer

Melani Kane Brewer, Awaiting the Tide18.5" x 21.5"  $500.

Melani Kane Brewer "Awaiting the Tide" detail.
 Melani Kane Brewer is another regular at the Aullwood Nature Center.  Melani does a lot of quilts inspired by nature and I love them.  I think because texture is as important to her as it is to me.  Melani is from Cooper City, Florida and I discussed her work last here here.

Melani chose oysters for her subject here.  Here's her label:

"Eastern Oysters are marine organisms that live in intertidal and subtidal areas.  I found the intertidal reefs the most interesting because the reefs are exposed to the air at low tide.  The oysters survive by tightly closing their shells until high tide returns.  Here the exposed reef shows the oyster awaiting the tide's return.   Beginning as a traditional quilter, I realized that it was much too restrictive.  I did a series of abstract works allowing me more freedom with fabric.  I found it interesting, my art being so realistic, that it took the step of creating abstract work to transition to what I do now."

Here, I practically had to stand on my head so that you get see the dimensional work on her quilt. The oyster shells actually stand off from the quilt.  I love how she used various speciality yarns to make the mossy "beards" on the oysters.  Her quilting adds another dimension and even more texture.

She made each oyster individually, cutting the oyster fabric (top and bottom) then making little sandwiches with Warm and Natural. The quilted it, then applied them to the quilt.  

You can see more of Melani's work at her website here.
Melani Kane Brewer "Awaiting the Tide" detail.

Melani Kane Brewer "After the Storm", 27" x 39" $563.00
Melani Kane Brewer, "After the Storm" detail.

Her second piece in the show is called "After the Storm" and it shows a colony of Man-o-war jellyfish.  This particular piece is a little more abstracted in a way than her oysters, although she deftly handles the transluscent quality of the "combs" of the Portugese Man-O-War.  The colors are extremely calming...belying the danger of the Man-O-War which has a viscious sting.

"Having spent many summers at the beach in Florida with my daughter, we are all too familiar with the Portugese man-o-war.  It is actually a colony of jellyfish, not a single creature.  While they are beautiful to look at with their beautiful colors of violet, teal and magenta, they can inflict a very painful sting when you touch them.  Their long and numerous tentacles are hidden underwater when they brush up against unsuspecting swimmers.  They are most visible after one of our numerous storms in the summer, hence the name of the piece. 

I have been a studio artist since 1994.  I have been working on my Earth-Air-Water series for almost thirteen years.  This series incorporates my careers as a biology teacher, anthropologist and artist.  I have been studying nature all my life."

Here you can see a little of how she managed to get the transparent, yet glistening aspect of the Portugese man-o-war.  I'm afraid that the photo doesn't show it as well as I'd like, but in real life, it left three of us art quilters wondering "how did she do that???"  Was it an overlay? We didn't think so. 

I asked Melani how she managed to achieve this perfect effect on her man-o-war.  Here's what she had to say:

"No it's  not an overlay.  It is actually Aquafilm.  I just did not dissolve it.  If you are not familiar with the product it can be used to stitch threads, and yarns together creating objects and then it is dissolved with water.  Generally you use two layers of the Aquafilm and place it in a hoop to stitch on the machine.

In this case I used it as if it were a piece of fabric. In After the Storm the Aquafilm was placed over hand dyed organza to create the colors of the man o' war, a few stitches gave it shape and the bubble effect of them floating on the surface of the water.  I tried a number of ways to create them, including using just the dyed organza but nothing said jellyfish to me.

I was using the Aquafilm for another project and it hit me that it was exactly how the jellyfish look in the water, kind of like a shiny balloon.  So I just started playing with the Aquafilm and it worked.
Threads and yarns were placed along the bottom edge of the jellyfish before stitching the entire man o' war to the background. Just have to hope the Aquafilm never gets wet or that will be the end of the jellyfish."

Amen to that! 

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

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Aullwood 2011: Debra Bentley and Fran LaSalle, Suzanne Riggio

Debra Benley Isle Royale Sunset
Debra Bentley and Fran LaSalle are the last of my Miami Valley Art Quilt Network (that's they HAVE vallies in Florida??) cronies who entered the Aullwood show. 

Debra has been working on a series of loons.  Many, if not most, of her work is done on a nature theme.  Not surprisingly, she told me that as a child she and her siblings would sit and study artwork (primarily led by her mother I think) and were also informally taught by her father and other relatives who were naturalists.

Debra has taken many trips to Isle Royale National Park, an Island park off the tip of Michigan's upper peninsula right int he middle of Lake Superior.  Isle Royale is famous for its wolf population and for all the other wildlife you can see there.  Loons are some of Deb's favorites.

Debra Bentley Isle Royale Sunset
I hope you can see in this detail the amount of thread work she put in on it.  The threadwork gives a really nice textural effect.  The size of this piece is 33.5" x 52".

Fran LaSalle also does a lot of natural themed work. This is her Something Fishy II.  Fran has used dimensional work in her seaweed.  Fran's piece measures 24" x 28" and is priced at $500.

Suzanne Mouton Riggio April Showers, 12" x 8.5"  $625.00

Suzanne Mouton Riggio "April Showers" detail.
Suzanne Mouton Riggio is from Wauwautosa, Wi.  I always have to point that out because it is so much fun to say.  Suzanne was inspired by the drenching April showers to make this little piece.  She took a photograph and worked with it in Photoshop until it seemed as if it was seen through sheeds of rain coming down.  She painted the sky and used Sulky Silver Sliver thread (a sort of hollographic thread) to quilt it in order to give the impression of the rain   coming down.  She also used tiny sequins sporadically on the surface which gives a nice effect.

I love Suzanne's artist statement, mostly because I feel the same way.  In it, she says  "My quilted art creations   -really quilted tapestries-- of personal symbols and observations reflect my passion to search, understand and record the world around me, especially the beautiful, the hopeful and the historical. 

My art represents a major transition in my life--from a long career in music to one in visual arts.  I am driven to express myself, to tell stories and to leave a cultural imprint of my time to my children and grandchildren.  I simply must create.  I choose the ancient fiber form of quilting as my medium because not only is manipulating fabric a tactile pleasure, but also there is in quilting  a real sense of connection  between maker and viewer."

Well said, Suzanne!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Aullwood: 2011 Lori Gravley

Lori Gravley Wrack Lines VIII:Tidelines 28" x 28" $850
Lori Gravley Wraklines VIII detail
Lori Gravley is another one of my Miami Valley Art Quilt Network friends.  Spurred by a workshop MVAQN member Liz Schneider's did on texture, Lori started exploring the use of yo-yos...and she became addicted.  Actually, making yo-yos is a great thing for her to do while attending her son's sporting events and waiting for him in practice.  While I generally abhor yo-yos, I love Lori's work.

Lori grew up near water, spending most of her teen years on the Florida panhandle.  Most of her work is inspired by the lines of debris that the tide deposits on the beach edges which are called wrack lines.

Lori had three pieces submitted to Aullwood and all three were accepted.  This piece is called Wrack Lines VIII:  Tidelines.  Lori wrote this about her piece:  "the first time I visited Half-Moon Bay on the coast of California, I was surprised by the multiple tide lines.  My father told me that if I looked carefully I could find moonstones among the many pebbles and I spent hours as a teen then again as a young woman walking the tidelines searching for the perfect moonstone."

While these pieces are fairly simple, you can see Lori's masterful understanding of line and composition.  She uses not only the yo-yos for texture but the quilting also gives that wonderful ripple effect you see in the sands.

Lori Gravley Wrack Lines IX: Moonjellies and Starfish 32" x 32" $1,050.00

Lori Gravley Wrack lines IX detail
This piece is called Wrack lines IX:  Moonjellies and Starfish.  She recalls that the beaches on the Florida panhandle are composed of fine quartz particles which in the sun can be blindingly white.  "Walking the wrack line of these beaches up near the sand dunes on a bright sunny morning, you can sometimes find red starfish.  The irredescent fabric of the yo-yos inspired this piece."

I think this is one of her most breath taking works..unfortunately, the white and iridescent fabric makes it almost impossible to photograph in any way which does justice to it.
Lori Gravley Wrack Lines IX detail
Lori Gravley Wrack Lines X Winter Tides 27" x 23" $750.00

Lori Gravley Wrack Lines X detail
At first,  I liked this one the least of Lori's pieces, but I have to say it grows on you.  Lori made this piece from a re-purposed silk dress she found in a thrift store.  Lori writes:

"The best time to walk the wrack line  is in winter.  There's less competition.When I saw a silk dress at a thrift shop, I immediately thought of the beach in winter.  Even in winter, the wrack line carries the shells, bones, kelp and other detritus that reminds us that life goes on and on.  The orange in the quilt is a reminder that summer will come again."

Usually, Lori combines both hand and machine sewing.  Wrack Line VIII is handsewn.

Lori recently completed another yo-yo quilt which is now showing at the Dayton Visual Art Center, entitled "Wrack Line XI:  Tides in Godlight."  You can see it, and more information on Lori's work on her blog, Laughing Girl Quilts.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Aullwood Nature Center Art Quilt Show:Pam Geisel and Mindy Marik

After the Rin by Pam Geisel, photo by Pam Geisel.  $23.5" 32.5"  $275.00.

Because I have standing permission to use images and works from my fellow Miami Valley (OH) Art Quilt Network colleagues, I'm starting out with Pam Geisel and Mindy Marik's work.

Pam has two pieces in the show, both of which are for sale on her website, but of course, they are not available until the show closes after August 21. 

This first piece (which is Pam's photo because I really didn't like the color cast on the one I took.) is entitled After the Rain.   Pam designed this in response to an online challenge which had her visit a hardware store. 
You can see that she took a drain cover and stitched through all the holes and threaded ribbon through some of the others.  It reminded one of my companions of a jelly fish, but I'm afraid I thought more of a dream catcher or aboriginal shield. 

Here is a washer that she used as an embellishment by wrapping it.  Her selection of fabrics in this piece are really great.  Pam discusses the construction of this piece on her blog.

Pam Geisel, photo by Pam Geisel, "Floating Feather."  10" x 8" $100.

Pam's second piece in the show is part of her feather series and is called 'Floating Feather."  It measures just 8" x 10". and uses a batik fabric from JoAnn's that both she and I love and tend to use a lot of.  Again, all of these photos are Pam's as I really didn't like the yellow cast which I got on my photos.

The water circles are outlined in a sparkly thread in quilting.  Beads are added to the bottom of hte quilt and along the copper strips she added to give it a little more interest.

Mindy Marik, "Crying Rain."  19"  28", $320.00
Mindy Marik's piece, Crying Rain measures 19" x 28" and is far more subdued than most of Mindy's work.

Mindy's piece depicts rain falling into puddles on the street. Each drop creates a series of rings as the wave moves outward.  Mindy constructed this with raw edge applique.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Aullwood Nature Center and Farm 2011 Art Quilt Show

Every year, the Aullwood Nature Center and Farm (Audubon Center) in Englewood, Ohio,  hosts an art quilt exhibition.  The themes vary from year to year, but all are nature based.  The show was started at least by 1996 in conjunction with the Miami Valley (OH) Art Quilt Network.  In 2004, the Audubon Center took complete control of the show. 

This year, the exhibition is called "Water, Water, everywhere" (a little nod to Coleridge's Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner." )  This is the description which went out in the call for entries:  Water is life. From the smallest vernal pool to the Great Lakes; from the warm Caribbean to the icy polar seas; from
the tiny brook to the mighty Mississippi River, water covers three-fourths of our planet. Without water, life is impossible. With pristine water a breathtaking array of plants, insects, animals, fish and birds may flourish. Clean water supports sustainable growth, recreational opportunities and many aesthetic benefits. This exhibit celebrates the world of water."

Although a small show, every year premiere quilt artists from around the country submit their work.  For the last three years at least, Diane Dover of Beaver Creek, Ohio has served as jurror along with the Audubon center's executive Director, Charity Kruegar.

The exhibition is held in a long hall which has "barnboard" on one side and painted drywall on the other.  While best for the conservation of the quilts, the lighting tends to be very dim and photographs of the works are difficult to achieve.  Using available light usually results in darkened photos while flash tends to wash out the quilts.

This year, Aullwood recieved 55 entries of which 42 were selected.  Exhibitors include:  Bonnie Dubbin Askowitz, Nancy M. Bales, Debra Bentley, Melani Kane Brewer, Liese Bronfenbrenner, Martha Lee Burleson, Sandra Palmer Ciolino, Georgie Cline, Anne Garretson, Pam Geisel, Lori Gravley, Maude Haeger, Marilyn Hamaker, Merry Havens, Joan Hersey, Kathleen Hughs, Pat Koth, Fran LaSalle, Mindy Marik, Marla Morris Kennedy, Susan Nash, Liz Piatt, Robbie Porter, Ruth Powers, Melody Randol Suzanne Mouton Riggio, Kathleen Irons Sweeney, and Anne Theobold. 

Although Diane Dover has served as the juror for several years, I do feel that this show continues to be fresh and interesting.  Diane Dover is from Beavercreek, Ohio and primarily makes qtuils with themes from nature.  When I think of the local shows of her work, I think birds..although she had a very interesting selection of pieces including three dimensional works at the Meadowlark Cafe a couple of years ago.  Dover uses both hand and machine work in her pieces.  Unfortunately, Dover doesn't have a web presence so I can't share a whole lot more with you about her work.

Charity Krueger, the executive director at Aullwood According to the call for entries for the exhibit, "she is an artist and has studied and worked in many media. Her artwork and photographs have been featured in books, newspapers, magazines and exhibits."

Ms. Krueger has a quilt collection and the Audubon Center does host a fund raising  auction of Amish Quilts each fall.  One puzzlement for me was a traditional quilt hung at the end of the hall near the entrance to the show.  The quilt had  a tag on it which said it was for sale and to inquire of it to a staff member if you were interested.  I'm not really sure if this was something left from the auction last year or something to entice you to come to the auction this year...a small blip.

I will be sharing the works in the show over the next couple of days.  If you are in the area, the show will run through August 21st. during normal operating hours (Monday-Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Sunday 1:00 - 5:00 p.m.)  The Aullwood Audubon Center is located at 1000 Aullwood Rd., across from the Dayton Metro Parks on State Route 40, very close to the intersection with I-70.  It's easy to get to and  a fun place to visit.  Admission is $4 per person for adults for non-members, but if you have membership at another Audubon Center or another institution which offers reciprocal membership benefits, admission is free. Just bring your valid membership card

Friday, July 15, 2011

Thoughts on Jurors and Guest Curators

There's a lot of talk recently on some of the blogs and message lists I belong to about jurors and reviews. Well, maybe in the greater scheme of things not much, but enough to get my brain cells going.  In addition, Terry Jarrard -Dimond (who I always want to call Terry Jaquard-Dimond) asked about blogs which review shows and such and then discussed what attributes a good reviewer has.  You can see the 2nd of her two posts

Hmm.  Ok. so I meet most of Terry's criteria.  As a former museum curator, I have a minor in art history and lots of courses in connoisseurship  (yes, Graham Hood taught the course at William and Mary).  I go to art shows and museums when I can (lately not as much but that's just this year).  I have a strong background in historical quilts as well as having been a traditional quilter since I was 12 and and art quilter since the 1990s.  I'd like to think I can write...
I do fall down in one area.  Often the shows I'm reviewing I am doing so so that people who are in other parts of the country can see where their quilts have ended up...and sometimes I am just too tender-hearted to leave out the quilts that I don't think should be there.  Sometimes, I  highlight quilts not so much for their design or skill in construction, but  as I am curious.  For instance, how did a Marianist brother come to make a quilt? 

Needless to say, Terry's blog sort of made me want to crawl back into a hole...However, I'd like to share with you some observations on jurors and guest curators...Vivien Zepf got me thinking about this in her review of the 2011 Quilt National Catalog.  In it, she discusses Pauline Verbeek-Cowart's statement.  Verbeek-Cowart was a juror for this year's Quilt National.  Vivien described her as a weaver, which really made me wonder.   What's a weaver doing as a juror for Quilt National?  It seemed a little out of the ordinary until I looked at her portfolio on her website.  She IS a weaver, but some of her pieces aren't what you'd think of as a weaver necessarily...she's an art weaver...if that is a term...but more especially a fiber artist.

Pauline stated that she came to Quilt National with a preconceived notion of what Quilt National was about....a notion which while we all tend to hold it, is not stated in the call for entries.   Pauline, and for that matter I, thought that Quilt National was supposed to be a cutting edge show.  It isn't.  At least not by the description of appropriateness as put out by QN.   Submittals merely have to be quilts, as defined by the traditional definiation (at least 3 layers of fiber held together by stitching some of which can be seen on the back side.)

As artists, we know when we submit to a show that the predilections of the jurors is something to bear in mind.  This year, Jonathan Holstein was the juror for a show entitled The Art Quilt Experience in Cazenovia , NY.  I haven't actually seen the show, but know about it from reading Katherine Rushforth's review.  In her review, Ms. Rushforth makes the following statement:

" The pieces are split evenly between the two venues and provide a slightly narrow, but engaging cross-section of what's happening in the world of contemporary fine-art quilts. I say narrow because those who have visited the Schweinfurth show know that contemporary quilters are no longer content with fabric as their sole medium. Found objects, transfer printing, beading, text and other non-traditional media find their ways into their sewing kits. Their work is predicated upon ideas versus established patterns and while technique matters, it is not limited to their skills with a needle and thread. "

From what I can tell, it does seem slightly narrow to me as well...but not for the same reasons that Ms. Rushforth states.  While I believe that a show entitled "The Art Quilt Experience" should show a full spectrum of the types of art quilts which are being made, Mr. Holstein chose predominantly non-representational pieces, mostly ones which were geometrically based.  However, given the fact that Mr. Holstein was the lead juror and that he was the co-curator of the 1971 exhibition "Abstract Design in American Quilts" at the Whitney Museum, this doesn't surprise me.  I have to say when I'm looking into submitting to a juried show, I do look at who the jurors are and what they do before deciding to submit...rightly or wrongly.  I slso know that if you submit a piece to a show and don't get in, it doesn't necessarily mean that the piece doesn't have merit, but it may be that the piece doesn't fit in with the juror's vision, the space allowed, or with the rest of the pieces selected for the show.  There's always another venue and another show.

So, how do galleries and museums select jurors? It depends.  Some look for the "big names."  They want people to be jurors who have a certain cachet in order to bring high quality pieces in as well as give "star power" to the exhibition.  Sometimes it depends on who is available at the particular time.   Sometimes, it comes down to a matter of money...jurors of high caliber shows are paid for their time.  Often the institution is looking for someone who has a certain perspective which fits into their own mission statement or the direction they want the show to take.

The matter of paying jurors and getting high cailber jurors is what helps a show to grow and be a moving force.  One show that I sometimes exhibit in locally started out being a show which had some pull.  In the early years, they used local people but when one of the founders of the show felt that they needed to pay more and go farther afield the host organization balked and caused a split.  For the last several years the jurors have been the same.  Something I'm not too thrilled with, but they continue to attract artists with national recognition and it is a good, solid little show.  

Other shows are "juried" in that they only have to fit the parameters of the theme.  If you don't fit the theme then you don't get in.  Another show I participated in this year called itself "juried" but never named the jurors and while it charged a $25 fee, apparently was juried only by whether or not you wrote a check...I doubt I'll show there again.

The amount of involvement that jurors or guest curators play also varies.  Several years ago, I was working free-lance for a museum evaluating their collection of historical quilts.  I researched their pieces, wrote the catalog and made suggestions as to what pieces I would put on exhibition.  The show was to be curated by a quilter who lived in the area but who had a national reputation.  I met with the director and the guest curator after submitting my report.  Imagine my surprise when my suggestions were taken without question and the label copy was written by taking verbatim the information from my report.  The guest curator's name was on the exhibition and I hung the show with the museum staff.  

In two other cases, the guest curators were running into time constraints and the curators of the institution called me in to help get things on track time-wise.  The curators were still calling the shots, but I was acting as a gopher, technical whiz kid and general facilitator.  The curator's stamp was all over these exhibitions, I just helped move it along so that it could open on the opening date.

Recently, while visiting a show with some friends, we wondered, why was it that some people had three pieces exhibited and others, while they submitted others of equal quality only had one accepted.  We'll never know as usually juror's don't share their rationale.  We just know that the artist just needs to keep on submitting those pieces to other shows.   

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Spooky Shoves from the Cosmos

Have you ever felt like you were getting shoved by a great cosmic hand? Lately, I have.  When I was a kid in high school, I took oil painting classes from a woman who was a friend of my parents. I loved working in oils, but I also messed around with watercolors.

Some of the pieces I did were water colored flowers, as if they were botanical prints. I've been trying to find a photo of one.  My mom has a ton of the paintings...and I think I may have one of a violet around here someplace...but I'll have to show you that another time.   My oil teacher kept on encouraging me to do more with the water colors.  When I graduated from high school, she gave me water color brushes and a book on watercolors.

Most of you are probably aware of my gardening passion.  But, I also grew up on a farm and my brother, brother-in-law and my sister-in-law all went to school to be foresters.  My sister has a degree in botany, so growing things and plants as well as their parts, habits, etc. were always part of the family.

It is little wonder that some of my quilts have botanical themes.  For the sketchbook challenge, the photo I uploaded a very brief sketch of a path along a birch stand from my memory of what they looked like from my childhood in Michigan.

I have been struggling with the Sketchbook challenge...and imagine my surprise when I found that I had won Botany for the Artist by Srah Simbley.  as donated by Tania Marien for Art Plantae.

So...I'm this just another cosmic push?  I asked Sue Bleiweiss how winners were selected...and she said that they were picked at random and she just filled them by going down the list.  Hmm.  Here's the list of June prize winners and links to their sketches.

And here is my sketch.

jun749 Birchwood path by anonygoose42
jun749 Birchwood path, a photo by anonygoose42 on Flickr.