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13 October 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

Tag, I'm it!

Welcome to this installment of the "Around the World Blog Hop".

I was invited to join the hop by Jeanne Marklin.  I met Jeanne through SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates).  We have caught up with each other at various fiber art shows around New England and also at the annual SAQA Conference.  Take a look at her blog to see some of the beautiful work she's doing lately: http://jeannemarklin.blogspot.com/

So the basic format of the Around the World blog posts is a set of Questions & Answers. 

What am I working on?

At the moment I'm finishing a composition for the latest installment of Viewpoints 9 gallery. The challenge centers on the number 9 as described by Lin Hsin-Chen:

"In Chinese culture, the number “9” also means “lasting for a long time” (久)….  when we apply this word to natural environment, it means everlasting existence."

Each Viewpoints 9 member is challenged to make a quilt of 40 cm (width) x 80 cm (height) in portrait orientation, based on the theme of environment and ecology”.

Photo Oct 09, 11 15 20 AM(Work in progress, detail)

My piece was inspired by the sharp decline in bee and butterfly populations in North America.  The expansion of industrial farmland using powerful herbicides like Roundup is wiping out many species of plants that are essential to pollinating insects. It's a worrying trend, since these great swaths of farmland and orchards are dependent on pollinators to succeed and sustain themselves.

How does my work differ from others in my genre?

I tend to use pretty traditional quilt materials in my work – cotton fabrics and batting, cut pieces of fabric and machine stitching.  I think what makes my work different than other art quilters' and fiber artists' work is my use of multiple layers of fabric to create the composition.  And I consider the free motion stitching as a drawn line.  I use it to blend colors, enhance contours and add details.

Why do I create what I do?

Why indeed. I guess I'll take this one to mean "why do I choose to work with textiles vs. other art media?".  I find the process entirely relaxing and transformative. The soft texture of the fabric, fuzzy batting, a warm iron, the humming white noise of the sewing machine – it is very comforting to me. The cloth scraps around my studio often pile up to form a giant colorful nest around me while I work. I just feel at home.

How does my writing/creating process work?

I'm a planner.  Usually I have a clear vision of the finished piece before I start "production".  So I spend a lot of time sketching, choosing fabrics and basically creating an overall game plan in my mind.

466821_373979565975780_1310589193_o (Pattern for Dandelion, detail)

Once I have a good handle on what I want to accomplish, I set about cutting pieces of fabric and layering them together. It's a very methodical process. 

However, after the fabrics are tacked into place, I change gears for the hand-guided machine stitching.  For me, the quilting (stitching) process is much more organic and spontaneous.  I don't plan out the quilting lines beforehand, unless I want to include something extremely precise and specific like text. I'm very comfortable with my sewing machine after all these years.  That allows me to let go of the mechanical worries and get into my drawing "zone".  I'm only thinking about the lines I want – sketchy, dynamic, smooth or rough, a small reflection or wisp of hair.  To me, the thread is as crucial to the finished piece as the fabric.

Photo Sep 20, 11 54 52 AM (finished, After the Wake)

As part of the blog hop, I get to invite other artists to join.  Look for these posts next week:

Carol R. Eaton – I love Carol's hand dyed fabrics! I use them all the time in my own work and for the past few years Carol and I have teamed up to create a workshop/kit project.  Using my instructions and patterns and Carol's fabrics, students create compositions of Magnolia flowers in various colors. Check out her stunning work at http://carolreatondesigns.blogspot.com/

Deb Cashatt and Kris Sazaki – Kris and Deb are members of SAQA as well as the dynamic duo and creative force behind "Pixeladies" http://www.pixeladies.com/blog/. I first met Deb and Kris at a SAQA conference.  I am also a happy customer – Pixeladies created a gorgeous custom-designed silk scarf for me a few years ago.  I gave it to my new sister-in-law as a wedding present.

More Blogs to Discover

There have been many exciting participants in the hop in the past weeks. Here are links to a few so you can enjoy learning about them:

I hope that you enjoy this opportunity to explore what all these amazing artists are doing lately!

11 October 2014

New Exhibition at New Britain Museum Opens Oct 12 (New Britain, CT)

Please join me tomorrow afternoon for the Opening Reception of "Let Me Quilt One More Day" at the New Britain Museum of American Art. 

Themel_NYE_sm
Kate Themel, New Year's Eve

Let Me Quilt One More Day
Saturday, Oct. 4–Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015
Opening Reception
2-5 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014
4 p.m. Remarks by Douglas Hyland

http://www.nbmaa.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=32&Itemid=56

Let Me Quilt One More Day explores the long-standing practice and art of quilt making in the United States. This exhibition, curated by Dr. Douglas Hyland, brings together an extraordinary selection of over 40 historical and contemporary quilts ranging from traditional to modern designs and demonstrating both the practical application and artistic range found in this medium. The themes of Industry, Emotion, and Art loosely group quilts that vary greatly in material and artistic style.

Noted quilt authority Lynne Z. Bassett, advised on the selection of objects for this exhibition, and her catalogue essay adds immensely to our understanding of this craft and art form.

The exhibition contains works from the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, Mattatuck Museum, New Haven Museum and Historical Society, Fenimore Art Museum, Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, and Connecticut Historical Society.

In addition we are fortunate to have works by contemporary quilters: Barbara Barrick McKie, Richard Killeaney, Todd Knopke, Norma Schlager, Denyse Schmidt, Marlene Shea, Kate Themel, Anna Tufankjian, and Victoria Findlay Wolfe along with works from the collections of others.

New Britain Museum of American Art
56 Lexington Street
New Britain, CT 06052

p: 860.229.0257
f: 860.229.3445
www.nbmaa.org

SAQA Members: In case you miss the opening reception, our next  SAQA-CT regional meeting will be next Saturday, October 18 at the New Britain Museum.

24 September 2014

New Work: "Grandmother"

Grandmother1

Just finished! "Grandmother" (24x30) is based on a photo I took of an antique sewing machine at the Windham Textile Museum (Willimantic, CT).

You know I can't resist a good set of gears or piece of machinery with bits of shiny metal!

Photo Sep 24, 4 13 18 PM

 

15 September 2014

My Work Featured in New Book "Color Play" (C&T Publishing)

Photo Sep 08, 2 46 01 PM

I'm thrilled to share some news – my fiber artwork "Teapot" is featured in a full page photo in Joen Wolfrom's newest book Color Play: Second Addition just released by C&T Publishing.

Photo Sep 08, 2 45 44 PM

This book is full of gorgeous color photos of art quilts as well as expert advice and insights about creating with color from Joen Wolfrom. I'm very proud to have my work included.

03 August 2014

A New Perspective

I just got back from the opening reception of "Five Fiber Friends" in New Haven, CT.  Along with Diane Cadrain, Diane Wright, Mickey Lawler and Trish Hodge, I had the pleasure of seeing my artwork hung in a new context.

Fairhaven Furniture sells artisan wood furniture and other home accessories, and they regularly showcase local artists in their gallery.  The walls are currently adorned with our textiles - framed or hung on slats and dowel rods; felted, sewn, painted, knitted - displayed together in really interesting combinations.

I love the way Kate Paranteau arranged the show in a series of small seating/viewing areas, with artwork and furniture complimenting each other.  It created such a warm and inviting environment.

Photo Aug 03, 2 06 16 PM

Some of the pieces I have in the show are over 2-3 years old, which is often the cut-off age for exhibition calls for entry. But seeing them today, paired with work by other artists, in a casual "home" environment, gave me a new appreciation for those older pieces.  They still work, and they still make me happy.

THAT led me to think about the next regional exhibition I'd like to help organize with Diane Wright.  Why have size or age limitations?  Why not hang things in combination with each other, sometimes stacking work vertically?  Artwork doesn't always have to be hung in a straight horizontal line, in uniform size or style or even with an over-arching theme.  Totally random, diverse artwork CAN make sense when hung in the right combination.  My mind is racing.... in a good way.

28 July 2014

Fiber Art in a Home Environment: "Five Fiber Friends" at River Street Gallery (New Haven, CT)

Please join us for the Opening Reception August 3, 2014

RSG_FiveFiberFriends_WebFlyer

The Five Fiber Friends exhibition runs Aug 1 – Sept 21, 2014

Opening Reception Aug 3 at 2pm

Fairhaven Furniture
72 Blatchley Ave
New Haven, CT 06513
http://www.fairhaven-furniture.com

This was a first for me – installing an art exhibition in a furniture showroom and "curating on the fly" with Fairhaven Furniture's gallery organizer Kate Paranteau.

The five of us: Diane Wright, Mickey Lawler, Trish Hodge, Diane Cadrain and I showed up last Friday morning with a bundle of available artwork. Not knowing exactly how the collection would shake out, we each brought a dozen or so pieces.  When it was all unpacked, I thought we'd be lucky to fit HALF of it on the walls.  It was overwhelming!

But Kate P helped the five of us make sense of all the colorful, diverse artwork by grouping pieces in small sitting/viewing areas. 

RiverStGallery (9)  

The result is a wonderful, vibrant exhibition full of charming "art stories" to explore.  Comfy sofas, cool lamps and handmade tables compliment the artwork and give viewers an idea of how fiber art might fit into their own home or office.

 RiverStGallery (7)

When we left that afternoon, the artwork was firmly in place but the furniture may still be moved around and changed before opening night.  I can't wait to go back and see it.  Hope you'll join me!

Five Fiber Friends - 49

23 July 2014

Demonstration at Windham Textile Museum Aug 16 (Willimantic, CT)

In connection with the Inspiration Quilts: Then and Now exhibition, I've been invited to lead a 90 minute demonstration at the Windham Textile & History Museum (WTHM).

Please join me at WTHM on Sat. August 16 from 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.

WTHM

I'll present my raw-edge layering technique using freezer paper to trace, cut, and layer fabric into a fiber art composition, and I'll answer questions from the audience as time allows.

This is the same technique I teach in my Magnolia workshop.  However, I'm working on a fun new design just for WTHM.  Hope you can be there!

Windham Textile & History Museum is located at 411 Main Street, Willimantic, CT. Registration is strongly suggested.

The event is called “Building A Picture.” Admission is $10 per person. To register, call 860-456-2178 or email: themillmuseum@gmail.com