If you have been following my blog, you know that every year I share the art quilt show at Aullwood Audubon Center in Englewood, Ohio. It was started quite a while ago by some of the founders of the Miami Valley Art Quilt Network, a Dayton, Ohio area art quilting group to which I belong. Fiber artists from across the country submit pieces and it is usually a pretty strong little show.
This year, the theme was "Seasons of Life." Unlike past years, it is a smaller show. I think I counted 27 pieces, but most were small....in fact Pam Geisel's series of 4 matted in 5" x 7" frames, the fiber part only measured 2.5" x 2.5". Here's the shot down the gallery.
As usual, I'm going to start with the local people, largely because it is easier to get permission to share them....I often wait quite a long time to get permission from other artists.
First up tonight is Debra Bentley. Deb has two pieces in the show, "Spicebush" and "Grandpa's Farm."
A couple of years ago, Deb bought a spice bush to plant in her yard and while doing so, she discovered a spicebush butterfly caterpillar. She captured it and raised it through it's life cycle to butterfly in her house, and released it. She now has many species of butterfly in her yard, but she chose to represent the life-cycle of the Spice bush butterfly here.
Deb used a lot of hand-dyed and batik fabrics in order to make her quilt. It is also highly dimensional.
Here you see the egg on a leaf (the pearl).
Next comes the caterpillar shown here wound into a leaf. Deb stuffed and hand colored the caterpillar to make it realistic. The leaves and flowers are made separately and applied in order to give it more dimension. The first stage is a small brown caterpillar,
Which then grows into a larger yellow and green version.
It then forms a chrysalis.
From the chrysalis emerges the wonderful black and blue spice bush butterflies. The flowers and the butterfly are heavily thread painted.
Deb does a lot of volunteer work at area nature centers. She also spent a lot of time observing nature as a child and it has stayed with her. I laughed as she said that she thinks of this as cute, and that she doesn't usually do cute. My amusement comes from the fact that "I don't do cute." is a common comment I make....just ask any of my friends from the Wallingford, CT Quilting group, The Heritage Quilters.
"Grandpa's Farm" uses a photograph of Deb's grandfather and a neighbor working on his farm in Fletcher, Ohio, and anyone who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s on a farm in the Midwest can relate. She combined it with fabics on which she employed a variety of surface design techniques. She uses both commercial batiks and printed fabics as well as materials she has dyed and manipulated.
She wrote: "I enjoyed visiting them and feeding the the chickens and geese, and gathering eggs. My grandpa took me to feed corn to the cows and I helped my grandma sow and gather seeds. I was too young to understand why they had to eventually give up their farm. Farmers are at the mercy of nature and although they have bad years, they also have very good ones This quilt portrays the ups and downs of farming. There are good harvests and failed crops, drought and rain flooded fields. This quilt celebrates the Ohio farmer's persistence and perseverance in the face of natures extremes.
My art begins with my love of nature. I marvel at the tenacity with which the cycle of life continues through every adversity. I try to capture in fabric and thread the colors and textures, the lights and shadows, the joys and sorrows of life. The common thread in my work is the delicate balance between humanity and nature and the sense of renewal that oneness brings.
Once again, I am participating in Nina-Marie Sayre's Off the Wall Fridays....even if I am so off the wall, I'm posting on Sunday instead. This is the first of several posts on Aullwood's art quilts, so please do come on back
Go over to Nina-Marie's and catch more work by other fiber artists.