Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Masters - Art Quilts

I just spent several happy hours curled up with a treasure trove of inspiration. The new book, Masters, Art Quilts by Martha Sielman published by Lark Books is most definitely worth getting for your library.

The thing I like the most about it is that rather than the usual one or two images per artist, this book has multiple pages full of work by each of the 40 artists highlighted in this book. Being able to see this range of work really gives you a much more thorough glimpse into the artist's voice. Each section includes insights from the artist. The insights touch upon their process or their inspirations.

I enjoyed seeing the familiar and the new. Many of the artists I already knew about (some I've taken workshops with or I have hired them to teach workshops for the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops), but there were also many artists who's names I'd heard of, but have never before seen their work or some that I'd not heard of.

It is a wonderful chronicle of some of the most talented artists working in fiber today. I hope that this chronicle continues in more volumes of this book. It would make an excellent encyclopedia of fiber art. I immediately decided to buy a duplicate of this book to put in the inn library because I didn't want to let go of my personal copy! I'll also be adding it to the stock of mini fiber art supply store at the inn. It is that good.

The artists included in this book are:

Jane Sassaman
Michael A Cummings
Ita Ziv
Cher Cartwright
Noriko Endo
Deidre Scherer
Carolyn L Mazloomi
Hollis Chatelain
Linda Colsh
Charlotte Yde
Joan Schultze
Judith Content
Kyoung Ae Cho
Jette Clover
Eszter Bornemisza
Pauline Burbidge
Yvonne Porcella
M Joan Lintault
Katie Pasquini Masopust
Nancy N Erickson
Susan Shie
Caryl Bryer Fallert
Jeanette Gilks
Jane Burch Cochran
Pamela Allen
Therese May
John W Lefelhocz
Miriam Nathan-Roberts
Jenny Hearn
Terrie Hancock Mangat
Wendy Huhn
BJ Adams
Inge Mardal & Steen Hougs
Chiaki Dosho
Inge Hueber
Michael James
Velda E Newman
Anne Woringer
Clare Plug
Elizabeth Brimelow

Monday, July 14, 2008

Last Nancy Crow Workshop Project

Since my floor is now clear, I was able to get a quick picture of the last exercise project that I did during the Nancy Crow Workshop.

This is the "mother" of stack and whack. ;-) It is fun to do because you never know what you are going to get and can create endless combinations of color.

I created 6 units because I used 3 colors of fabrics. I was running out of time at the end so I just grabbed 4 units and sewed them together. So I didn't have the time to figure out which units I liked best together. This means that this combination could change completely before I'm done with it. I'm also toying with the idea of just using a component of the composition surrounded by some other unit. Who knows. It is on my design wall and is next in line to work on after I finish the townscape I started this past winter.

Here is a close up of one of the units.

For comparision, here is the piece that I created from the same exercise in the Nancy Crow class that I took in 1998. In the 1998 class, she had us do the exercise first in black and white and then in color (I never made it to the color version). It's called Forest Vortex and is currently hanging in one of our guest rooms. The border is creating with a free form crazy quilt-like piecing method that I learned from Diane Leone (former owner of the Quilting Bee in Mountain View, California). Then I added appliqued leaves swirling to the center of the piece because it looked like a vortex!

Paige asked how I learned to piece the pieces that I created in Nancy's class. Well, it is probably a combination of experience from multiple workshops and classes. It was very useful to have the sewing classes in high school, for example, because I learned how to do inset seams, how to handle the fabric going around curves, and other clothing construction methods (this is useful knowledge for knitting, too). I also took a traditional sampler workshop many years back. The instructor made us promise to piece at least one of the blocks entirely by hand. This really gave you a close look at the seams and how they fit together. The book we used in that workshop is by Diane Leone and I think it is just called The New Sampler Quilt.

I'm sure that in the first Nancy Crow workshop, she gave us pointers on piecing the irregular shapes and curved pieces, but I can't remember for sure, I just know that I learned it somewhere.

I finished one other piece on my day in the studio. The title is The Collection. I'm going to frame it in a shadow box frame, which is why I have not done any finished of the edges. I've been wanting to try a shadow box frame from my work and this is a good excuse to order one now. I'm going to try a frame from the American Frame company. I recently order a frame from them to replace one of our room mirror frames and I was very happy with the quality of the frame. I'll post a picture when it is done.

I used some silk cocoons, mulberry bark, and silk rods from a multimedia pack from Stef Francis that I bought at Friends Fiber Art shop in Lowell, MA

That's it for a day well spent! Ah, I feel much better now.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

In the Studio At Last

It's been more than a month, but finally I made into my studio to do more than just look at the fabric and sigh.

I was faced with the choice of clean up this mess or just shove the stuff aside on my sewing desk to give myself enough space to finish off something creative.

Well, I didn't have to think long on that one!

So I finished the piped facing for the collage piece that was a result of a workshop with Rosemary Eichorn.

I'm calling it "Inheritance" (which is in reference to the saying that the meek will inherit the earth).

It was certainly a fun process, but already I can see things that I would have liked to to differently, but then again that is what workshops are for! Experiment, practice, learn. If you're lucky you end up with something you really like.

I really like the way the piped facing looks on Rosemary's work, but I don't know if I'll use it again myself. It was a bit too fussy for me -- probably because it was the first time I tried it!

So having satisfied my creative hunger. My next task was to put my studio in order so that I could find my floor once again and make it to the fabric shelves without tripping on something. By condensing the fabric into taller stacks, I was able to make room for all of the solid color fabric that I got for the Nancy Crow workshop.

It only took two shelves. Wow, it seemed like a whole lot more when I was lugging it around in the suitcase and bins.

I also finished another piece and took pictures of the final exercise that I did in Nancy's workshop. You'll have wait to see those because now I need to set up the new iMac we got for the office. Our office assistant has been waiting patiently for it for over a month.