Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!!!

Welcome to 2012!  It's great to welcome in a new year, though I wonder where the last one went.  Normally, you will see pictures of what I've been working on in the past month - or see pictures I've taken at quilt shows.  This month, since I did little quilting during the frenzied holidays with family and friends, I'll show you some of the wonders from the International Quilt Association's quilt show held in Houston in 2011.  WIth hundreds to choose from, I am starting with a "timely" selection from one of the special exhibits at the show -- "Text on Textiles 2011" where Sue de Vanny of Greenvale, Victoria, Australia, made a lovely fabric collage callted Time.  Sue says, "The development of the text and words itself wasn't too hard; though, finding the balance of the words, size, tone and font that enhanced the quilt proved to be a challenge.  The challenge is there, too, for the viewere to find key words in the quilt.  For example:  creative time, enough time, time zone, winter time, and son on... I hope you have "time" to enjoy my creation."  Yes, Sue, we have plenty of time... whoops!  No, wait -- we don't!  Let's move right along and keep viewing these quilts so we can get back to making our own quilts!! 

The next set of quilt photos show part of the "Twelve by Twelve:  The International Art Quilt Challenge" sponsored by the Thomas Contemporary Quilt Collection.  In this challenge, artists made 12" square quilts focused on a theme -- sometimes the theme was color, sometimes it was a subject... but all of the quilts were great.  Let's take a look... first, the blue Color Play quilts.

Blue Meditation on Balance ~ Deborah Boschert ~ Crofton, MD
My life is full of repetition; some of it is comfortable and meditative, and some is monotonous and maddening.  The hand stitching in this quilt reflects this reality.  I am continually seeking balance in my life.  As I worked on the basic design for this quilt, I kept trying to add just a bit of dynamic asymmetry, but I just couldn't make it work.  I guess part of me desperately wants to keep everything in order.

Winter Night ~ Gerrie Congon ~ Portland, OR
My favorite blue fabrics are in my stash of shibori dyed indigo fabrics.  They also work very well with a bit of black.  I used a piece of silk with shadowy indigo coloration for the snow.  I cut strips of silk indigo shibori for the shadows of the fence posts.  One of my many indigo moons became the focal point of this landscape.  I brought in black with the fence.  I love this simple abstracted landscape.

Stolen ~ Helen L. Conway, Merseyside, United Kingdom
When I was in Australia and since my return I have been reading a lot about Aboriginal art and considering wehre I felt it appropriate to draw the line between inspiration or appropriation which are two very different things.  This piece was inspired by the artist Kitty Kantilla.

You Know How I Feel ~ Diane Perin Hock ~ Healdsburg, CA
Blue and white with a bit of black.  Well, to me that was sky, of course, with the silhouettes of birds in the distance.  The image came to mind immediately, but it took me a bit longer to decide on how to execute it with quilting and oil pastels.  The title comes from the old Nina Simone song.

Mt. Hood in Winter ~ Terry Grant ~ Portland, OR
Mt. Hood is the highest peak in Oregon and, on clear days, the spectacular backdrop to our city.  I combined two relatively new techniques for me in this piece - fused fabric collage and loose, doodly thread drawing.  That tree is a Douglas Fir and Oregon's state tree.  So the whole thing is my valentine to my beautiful home state!

 My Tree ~ Francoise Jamart, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
Last month, I took pictures of my garden on a bright sunny winter afternoon.  I used one of these pictures to burn a screen.  I then printed my fabrics with black and white fabric paint.  The blue and white backgrouind fabric had been dyed beforehand with this quilt in mind.

 Blue Dishes Completed ~ Kristin La Flamme ~ Waipahu, HI
My idea was to make the broken dishes quilt block out of conceptually broken pieces.  It seemed natural to use a kind of crazy quilting to suggest pottery shards or mosaic pieces.  I based many of the embroidery and beading on motifs commonly found in blue and white Delft pottery, imitating the curves and stylized flowers.

 Streaming Blue ~ Karen Rips ~ Thousand Oaks, CA
Shibori is so much fun to do and this piece was no exception.  I started with white fabric, stitched it, painted it black, and then dyed it blue.  I put in some little white dots at the beginning of the process to keep some white in the picture.

 A Feeling for Snow ~ Brenda Gael Smith ~ Copacabana, NSW, Australia
When I first experienced snow as a 10 year old, I remember being surprised at its consistency.  This quilt is dedicated to my sister Chantel, a snowboarding enthusiast with a great affinity for the snow.  I was inspired by blue and white folk embroidery and Nordic knitware.  I created by snowflakes with freezer paper scherenschnitte stencils and fabric paints.

Stacked Blueware ~ Terri Stegmiller ~ Mandan, ND
I love the look of decoupage and collaged papers and wanted to try and portray that feeling with this quilt design.  Using many different shades of blues, I created the coffee cups, varying the lights and darks for dimension.  The use of commercial print fabrics lends a sense of whimsy and intrigue.

Reboot ~ Nikki Wheeler ~ Poulsbo, WA
Blue and white can be so calm and relaxing, the perfect reprieve in my otherwise crazy, hectic life but not this quilt.  I really didn't have a good idea of what I wanted when I started experimenting, but instead just started playing with color.  I started by quilting plain white fabric.  I then painted them with either dark blues light to medium blues, or sparkly white.  I then played with cutting and sewing back together with black thread and a zigzag stitch.  The final quilt is a disappearing nine-patch that reminds me of an old computer screen in need of a reboot.

Next come all of the Purple Yellow Color Play quilts.  These quilts challenge my ideas about creativity:  where do the ideas for them come from?  They are all SO unique and original -- and have such strong links to color.  I can only wish that I could create quilts in this fashion! 
Culmination ~ Deborah Boschert ~ Crofton, MD
I was in the midst of moving, house hunting, house selling and generally preparing for major upheaval while working on this quilt.  Rather than trying to create something entirely fresh and new, I gave myself permission to use some of my beloved regular techniques and motifs.  Cutting leaf shapes and stitching tiny lines and x's seemed just right.  I was feeling hopeful for our new adventures... the culmination.

Sunset ~ Gerrie Congdon ~ Portland, OR
At an exhibit of modern Chinese design, I saw textile pieces that were created from overlapping pockets of organza -- which was the inspiration for this piece.  I painted silk organza with Dynaflow paints and then stitched the pockets which I arranged and stitched to a silk background painted with the same colors.

Purple Rain Protest ~ Helen L. Conway ~ Merseyside, United Kingdom
There was a Purple Rain Protest in the apartheid part of South Africa.  During the Cape Town protest, the police turned a water cannon filled with purple dye on the protesters to mark them out for easy arrest later.  One of the protesters climbed on the cannon and turned it away from the people and sprayed the dye all over the city centre buildings turning them purple.

#2 ~ Diane Perin Hock ~ Healdsburg, CA
My challenge to myself in these Colorplay challenges is to head toward the abstract.  Playing with batiks and the idea of underground layers led to this.  Simple as it is, I like how this piece emphasizes the patterns of the fabrics.

Aspens - yellow and purple ~ Terry Grant ~ Portland, OR
Our family had a cabin on a lake that spanned the Idaho-Wyoming border.  In the fall the aspens turned the most brilliant yellow, while the mountain maple were an equally brilliant red.  Walking through one of the aspen groves was like walking under a solid canopy of glittering yellow.  This is the feeling that I was aiming for.

The Pointy End ~ Kirsten Duncan ~ Townsville, QLD, Australia
I sat.  Stared around the room.  Nothing.  I really DON'T like violet and yellow together.  Time to think more broadly about that purple... maybe lavender, maybe amethyst...  Wait!  up on the top shelf of the dresser!  There are two little cups that I bought in a thrift shop a few weeks ago.  I bought them because I love the colors together.  Here they are...

Kyoto Revisited ~ Karen Rips ~ Thousand Oaks, CA
This was my color choice and I started with a piece of deconstructed screen print I had.  When I started laying the yellow and purple strips on it, I saw an Asian landscape come to life.

Lupins ~ Brenda Gael Smith ~ Copacabana, NSW, Australia
It's remarkable how often the complementary colors of purple and yellow appear in flowers.  Lithesome lupins were my inspiration.  Freeform piecing combined with machine quilting in yellow and purple variegated threads.

Lollipop Forest ~ Nikki Wheeler ~ Pousbo, WA
This quilt is the beginning of my work with circles.  I started with a plain white piece of fabric and quilted it like crazy with circles and spirals.  Next I brought out the paints and painted the circles purple and the spirals yellow.  I then added fabric paper circles and free motion stitching.  The edges are finished with deep purple yarn, couched with gold thread.  I just love the energy of the contrasting colors and rich texture, and the swirling cirlces are very much my life right now.

So what would you choose to design if you were given a color - or two colors?  or a specific subject?  Would it be a reminder of your life?  Or something you'd seen?  Or just an imaginative construction?  Where do you start your designs?  The next theme in the Twelve by Twelve challenge that I'm showing here is "Chairs."  Before you take a look at the quilts, think about what you would put in a quilt with the theme of chairs.  Would you start with a chair... or a shape... or a color... or a memory... or a feeling?  Take a look at how these talented artists conveyed the idea of "chairs" and pay attention to their thought process; we can learn from their experience!
The Comfy Chair ~ Diane Perin Hock ~ Healdsburg, CA
One of my favorite things to do is to curl up in a comfy chair with a good novel and a cup of coffee or tea.  I wanted my piece to convey a sense of simple, homey contentment.  I drew an inviting armchair and fused fabric onto the polka-dotted background.  I decided to let the chair "float," to represent a sense of peacefulness and lack of distraction I hope for at those quiet moments.  The scene was not complete until I added the book in progress and the steaming mug.  I added shading with pastel crayons and detail with machine stitching.  I also added small inserts of red fabric in the binding to reinforce the color of the book and mug.

Sofia and Martina ~ Terry Grant ~ Portland, OR
My almost-two-year-old granddaughter, Sofia, had recently gotten to know her almost-two-year-old cousin, Martina, from Ecuador.  During a visit, they spent time at my house.  I found the two little chairs that my children had when they were young.  Each quickly claimed "her" chair and used them for coloring and for meals.  Several days after Martina and her family returned to Ecuador, Sofia came to spend an afternoon with me.  When she spied the little chairs, Sofia looked at them somberly, then went over and patted the seat of one and said, "Martina," a bit wistfully.  Then she patted the seat of the other and said, "Sofia."

Stacked ~ Brenda Gael Smith ~ Copacabana, NSW, Australia
This theme brought back memories of a time when Brenda accompanied her father on a trip.  Unfortunately, though I took a photo of the artist's statement, the photo was blurry.  I love these very structured chairs - and the use of color. 

Chairs ~ Francoise Jamart, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
As usual, I had several ideas competing in my head, but the family dining table with its sturdy oak chairs quickly became the stronger one. 

Summer Stripes ~ Kirsten Duncan ~ Townsville, QLD, Australia
The sumer of 05/09 was the Summer of the French Canvas Stripe.  Everywhere I went I saw these beautiful fabrics!  It was also a time of reminiscing about our childhood holidays.  My brother retrieved an old folding deck chair from the depths of Dad's garage.  He sat on it and it collapsed - don't they always?  Here is my celebration of the classic canvas deck chair with its distinctive color combinations and always-uncomfortable wooden crossbars.  The chair is free-motion machine embroidered.

She Sits to Dream ~ Deborah Boschert ~ Crofton, MD
For me, chairs represent the idea of slowing down, waiting and being still.  That doesn't necessarily mean inactive or without purpose.  This quilt is a wild, loose, quirky combination of colors, shapes and textures.  When I am still and open, dreams have potential.  I really wanted to loosen up for this piece, so I embraced messy edges, drippy paint and unexpected color combinations.  The leaf shapes and stitches further explore the idea of potential growth.

Time Out ~ Karen Rips ~Thousand Oaks, CA
When I was a child, we had a rocking chair in the living room. 
Again, my camera failed to capture more of the text associated with this quilt.  I'm so sorry - I love the interpretation of a chair in this quilt!

That's enough for this month.  I'll be back in February with an update on what I'm working on.  I've started a new red and green quilt... and am working on a small 4-block quilt that will go in a summer issue of Quiltmaker, more civil war fabric 7-1/2" star blocks, more of my block-of-the-week blcoks, and I helped my daughter finish her king-sized French Braid quilt, which I'll be quilting for her on my longarm.  I'm also still hand-quilting my new Sarah's Revival quilt... slowly but steadily!

So... I wish the best of 2012 to all of you -- keep on quilting!
Sue Garman

(c) 2012 Susan H. Garman