Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Modern Quilts

Warm Light  (37" x 53")

This early quilt of mine is going to Quilt Con which is the Modern Quilt I'm not sure where or when!!  It's a display that SAQA organized.    But I'm very pleased to have a quilt being shown there because I'm very attracted to Modern quilts - well the best of them, that is!!  Like any other "style" of quilting, there's good , very good, okay, ho hum and downright poor!!!

I think the Modern Quilt movement is very encouraging...the work is often very refreshing and reminds me of the blankets, and similar strong fiber works, that we see from Peru..made hundreds of years ago.  There's an elegant simplicity to them, an economy of style that really celebrates fibre.    I am so glad that the movement was started!  Now my quilt actually predates that movement by some time....but it languished unshown for many years in my "library"....which is art books and quilts!  And it's a room with a view too!  Now what more could you want?

However, one thing is happening in the modern quilt world that isn't so good.   And that is that lots of "easy" "modern" quilt patterns are being published....the quilting companies are commercializing things yet again.....I remember one time I was teaching at a place where there were other teachers...and, at lunch, I asked a student in another class about her class: "how is it going?"...and she said fine, she liked the teacher...but she had had to buy a whole lot of extra equipment to make the particular patterns and it  was all getting a bit tedious and expensive.

That's sad!  I see all quilting, but especially a new young type of quilting, as a way to help people realise their own creativity...while it's often good to start with a simple pattern to get your feet wet... after that you really don't need to be printing out complex templates - or worse yet buying expensive ones - when you could be designing your own quilts and using your brains to work out how to put them together!

so....I thought...well I want to write a class that addresses that!
The class is aimed at anyone who is interesting in modern quilting...what is it? how is it defined?  how can I learn to make one?
AND, most importantly, how can I learn to design my own modern quilt? 

 Well... do check out my covers all those starts this Friday...but doesn't matter if you're a bit late starting....
it's at the Academy of Quilting - online of course...very convenient!   
It's called Mod Meets Improv....because not only does it cover modern quilting and its design, but also it introduces you to Improv methods - no templates!! Freedom!
Happy to answer any questions about it....(email link on side bar)....and would love to have your comments:  do you like Modern Quilts?  What do you think about the movement?
What d'you feel about commercial patterns being pushed so hard?

as ever, if you have been - thanks for reading!!!  Elizabeth



Thursday, August 24, 2017

How it came about...

Black and White, No Grey

 A few folk have asked me about the quilt above and how it came about.....
Well, it all began with the one below:

Edging Into Line

I always loved this little quilt and am glad it's gone  to a good home!
I took a photo of the building, somewhere in "Shakespeare" country in England some time ago..
Now the quilt isn't an exact copy of course...I never do that...I take what interests me, add more and rearrange, simplify, omit what is not of interest etc....but I had the sketch and the idea on the design wall for a long  time.

Then one day I was packing in a hurry to go off to teach a class at Arrowmont (super Arts and crafts school in TN, thoroughly recommend it)....and at the last minute I thought: oh I need to demo a quilt from the start for this particular class....what fabric shall I take?  didn't want to mess around for ages choosing out colors so thought - I'll just go with black and white.

So that limitation both made my fabric choice very easy...and I think made the quilt a lot stronger and more elegant...limitations are good!  Too much is always too much, I think!

 I put the little house together in the class and when I got home then had to figure out the background...  I wanted something to really set off that black and white but not detract from it at all.
This gorgeous blue I'd just double dyed with 3 different blues caught my eye and I loved the idea of  black and white taking center stage (for once) and color being the supporting cast!!  An edge of luscious color just really appealed to me.  When I get the colors right I can almost taste it!

So then, of course, I had to go on and make more black and white quilts with an edge of color:

The Strength of quiet Windows

I thought I'd like to be more abstract though and not tied to a particular photograph....the above quilt is a real beauty and will be shown in Decatur, Atlanta, Ga in September at Different Trains Gallery

along with about 8 others (not all black and white though!).
On Strength of Quiet Windows I got REALLY carried away with all that hand stitching you can see in some of the "windows"...hand stitching is so beautiful, so evocative....

Having done that one, it was time to make something for Quilt National and I got really carried away and pieced a huge wide quilt - it was practically the whole wall in the studio... about 10 feet!

Remembered Lines

This time I focussed on getting a lot more push pull with the black/white lines....don't know if any half-timbered building ever had such crazy stuff going on..but isn't it wild?  Love it!
Well, it was way too huge to I thought  hmm I'll just take a bit off on the right, and a bit on the left....and put those pieces  together, add in what's needed....and get a bit more of a wiggle on the top....and ...voila!....
the quilt at the top of this post!
Remembered Lines was accepted by QN and sold to a collector right out of the show which was great! I needed that design wall space for something else....

So now you know!  I love to hear the stories behind the comment and tell me yours!

And if you're looking for a class with lots of personal help with me...I may have the class just for you!   There's a link on the side bar....

If you have been, thanks for reading!  Elizabeth

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Abstracting from Abstraction

Contemplating abstraction.....
This Friday, I'm starting a new class with the academy of quilting   
on abstract art: More Abstract Art for Quiltmakers.  It's quite different from my first Abstract Art for Quiltmakers class in that it looks and the history and development of the movement as a whole...and includes many new different ways of devising designs.

 While abstract painting seems to be something people love or loath, there's a tremendous tradition for abstract work in quilting....
if you thing about it, most of the traditional quilting designs were abstract.    So in seeking new ways of designing quilts, I thought it would be interesting to see what the world of abstract art as a whole could suggest to us.
A good way to begin one's study of anything is with some definitions....what actually constitutes abstract art?  Abstraction can vary from ideas (shapes, colors ,relationships) abstracted in part from the real world, or it can be an attempt at a pure depiction of emotion. Some say abstract art is about nothing!

Many artists, in many different mediums, quiltmakers amongst them, deplore the idea that any mark they might make in their work actually represents something. But human beings are wired to make connections, discover resemblances and relationships and also to project meaning onto experience. 

Furthermore, would you actually want to communicate nothing about nothing anyway?  If that were the goal would the result be considered simply as  "decorative pattern-making" (as has been said by critics in the past)?  Even so,  I feel sure the makers still had the goal of creating beauty.  And abstract artists would say that their work is not about decoration, rather they feel that it reflects “hidden metaphysical truths” or emotions.

In contemporary art quilts, artists have taken traditional quilt ideas - squares divided and rearranged, strips added, sections cut and rearranged – and developed them further. Often they have exaggerated the “mark of the hand” by cutting the shapes out freely so that the normal curves and meanders that occur when you do not use a ruler are much more evident.

I have found it great fun to abstract ideas from abstraction and in this class show you many ways to do it!

Think of a painter as a choreographer of space...let us be choreographers of pieces of fabric...arranging them in a beautiful dance...

If you have been, thanks for reading!  All comments read carefully....and answered (if I have anything intelligent to add that is!).   Elizabeth