Saturday, April 28, 2012

IQA quilt show in Cincinnati: part two

Here are a few more pictures from the International Quilting Association show in Cincinnati. These are details, not the full quilts. If anyone objects to an image of their quilt being shown, I will remove it.

Every year this juried exhibit is debuted at the IQA show in Houston, Texas

detail: Austintatious (Barb Forrister)
What a year for 3-D flowers! If you missed the giant Passion Flowers, check yesterday's blog.

detail: Hill Country (Betty Busby)
I can't resist an armadillo on a quilt! There were actually several in the you think it had something to do with so many Texas quilts? This is a small corner of Betty Busby's quilt. There are plenty of flowers in the rest!

This exhibit is another annual one, featuring quilts made that are "clearly based on a documented 20th century or earlier American design or pattern".

detail: Gone to Texas (Ardie L. Skjod, quilted by Debbie Blair)
My list of favorite quilt types is getting long, but the "pink & brown" quilt has been a standard. Of course, to be successful they must have other colors mixed in, but the first impression should always be "pink & brown". This is a classic color combo for any pre-1900 quilt.

Just as a landscape is a natural for pictorial quilting, a cityscape or building inspires a quilter with lines and geometric shapes.

detail: Central Park  (Kathy York)
This is even more amazing than the 3-D flowers! Central Park in New York City is depicted in fabric and surrounded by buildings! Each one is about 2--3" tall. What could have been just a trick really is a beautiful piece of is another detail of the park's interior:
detail: Central Park (Kathy York)
Speaking of 3-D, how about this's the Artist Village!
Artist Village (York, Davilla, Perez, Jenison, Fingal, Hudson, McCauley, Forrister, Adams, Wasilowski, Anderson, Testa, Alford, Call, Allen and Hallmark)
The houses are 1--2' tall, and there are trees and other items, too. I do hope a magazine does an article on this whimsical collaboration so you can get a close up of all the details and clever ideas!
And then there's:
detail: Answering Nature's Call  (Kathy Augar Smith, quilted by Wilma Cogliantry)
Many people do appreciate the picturesque "little old shack out back" and this quilt is just beautifully done in it's attention to details and fabric selections.

Run out and buy a copy of the book (same title) so you can read about the quiltmakers working with a theme each month....they couldn't stop and went on for two years! Each quilt is a little jewel.
Just 4 of the 24 theme "mosaics" in the Twelve By Twelve exhibit
There were many more exhibits, such as the Hoffman Challenge; Text on Textiles; Greater Cincinnati Landmarks Quilt Project; O Canada, and two from SAQA (Studio Art Quilters Association).
A different exhibit, Eyes of the Quilter: Friendship, invited quilters to share photography and hiaku poems. I was happy to see the photography that inspired Jars of Clay by Judy Momenzadeh.

Oh, yes...there was a vendors mall, of course. A giant one. I found it interesting that the vendors were referred to as "exhibitors", but then we all know who is really paying for the space to hang the quilts! There was plenty to buy, but I didn't have my purse opened too often.

IQA and the Duke Energy Convention Center did a good job of providing on-site food and all the other amenities for a big show. It was not hard to find downtown parking within a block of the show. If you can't get to the Houston show, this is a fair alternative, and if you are within driving distance it's a Must See Show for the second week in April!

Friday, April 27, 2012

IQA quilt show in Cincinnati-- part one

The International Quilt Association Spring show was in Cincinnati April 13--15, so I decided to combine a family visit with a chance to see a big show. Formerly located in Chicago, the IQA moved the show last year to this visitor-friendly city on the Ohio River.
The quilt portion of the show featured 18 exhibits, including a selection of quilts from the Houston (Fall) show. Many of the exhibits have books based on the quilts, so photography was not allowed. Several were specially put together for this show.
All photos shown here are details of the quilts to protect the artists' rights....I will gladly remove any photo if the artist objects to its use here.

QUILTS: A WORLD OF BEAUTY selections from the 2011 show in Houston, Texas
detail: What You and the Animals Gave Me (Megumi Mizuno)
It's always fun to see some "old friends" and this is a detail from my favorite at the Paducah AQS show last year. It also demonstrates one of the problems encountered: much of the lighting was done with spotlights on poles, so whether taking pictures or just going in for a close look, there were shadows galore.
detail: Life in the City  (Sheila Frampton-Cooper)
Cherry-Cherry and I have been thinking and talking a lot about art quilts lately, so it was educational to get a chance to examine work like this.

detail: Sororan Spring (Margit Kagerer)
This is a very good example of using photos on fabric along with piecing in a quilt. Although the bird image is a square sewn in, it blends beautifully with the shapes for the trees.

detail: Honey Lover's Song (Yoshiko Kobatashi)
Lovely applique in this one! But I also loved using the bird and leaves designs as trapunto in the open spaces.

dtatil: Passion Flower (MaryAnn Vaca-Lambert)
This three-flower quilt was literally a show stopper! There was no way to avoid joining the crowd to admire these huge 3-D flowers. I don't know the botanical name for the spikey parts, but they were indeed made with chenille stems!

detail: Supernova (Heather Jones, quilted by Angela Walters)
"Modern Quilting" is getting established as a recognizable style, and it was pure fun to see what this group did with an old yet appropriate traditional block! Yes, this is just one huge Ohio Star, but check out the fabulous quilting in all those big spaces!

I think this might have been an actual competition in the was very hard to tell, and the white glove ladies had no idea. There were ribbons on the quilts in various places, but they were hard to read and some seemed to be from other shows.
detail: Alpha Quilt (Becky Gardner)
I cannot resist a good alphabet quilt, and this one also featured trapunto work.

detail: Red (Sandra Lauterbach)
This one was like layers of many different width strips, raw edges and flowing lines of texture.

detail: Last Light (Marianne R. Williams)
Here is a very intriguing edge finish, one the artist uses often, as we recently saw her work in St. Augustine, Florida, at the Fiber Artists Network show, beside several pieces in Cincinnati. It's just threads...lots of threads.

detail: Salad with Pears (Gail Segreto)
I had to look at this one a couple of times. It's just wonderful.The techniques don't have to be extremely difficult to be great....but good color choices and fine design will take a simple piece right to the top.

detail: Saturday Market Delectables
  (Tina McCann)
The whole quilt shows a delightful collection of felted purses, each one featuring a different vegetable! A lot of work...and a lot of fun in this.

That's enough for today. In the next post I'll share a few more details, especially some more amazing three-dimensional creations!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Quilt Shop visit: A Scarlet Thread

Finally, I was able to visit A Scarlet Thread in McDonough, Georgia!
Every time I drive through Atlanta I see the billboard about this wonderful shop...and never has it been a time when I could stop. Last year at QuiltFest shop owners Ken & Karen Taylor had a lovely booth that inspired me even more to visit...yet two more trips passed by with no luck!
So, finally on the way to the IQA show in Cincinnati I was able to stop...with sidekick Cherry-Cherry!
A Scarlet Thread is only 2 miles from I-75 exit 221 near Atlanta
Loaded with fabric of all kinds and decorated with great imagination, it's easy to see why this large shop will be featured in the Spring/Summer 2012 issue of Quilt Sampler magazine! 
Can't miss this display!
Right inside the front door we saw that quilts were definitely under construction here! We had a very friendly greeting from Gail to be sure we knew where to find all the various fabrics, machines, and patterns.
Instant selection for 5-Yard Quilts
I bet plenty of people don't get any farther that the beautiful display of coordinated packets for the popular 5-Yard Quilts! What instant gratification. Yet we moved on, as our time was limited...especially for such an expanse of fabric!
These are from Cleo's Designs....gorgeous!
Cherry-cherry can't miss a giant flower, and these beauties were hung back-to-back with two more designs. Because I forgot to write down the pattern names, I went to the shop's website and discovered a huge inventory! The flower patterns are by Cleo's Designs.
Bolts, and fat quarters and samples everywhere!
A Scarlet Thread has fabric for ever sewist & quilter, including Minkee, extra-wide backing, and reproduction fabrics. I was delighted to find a whole wall of polka dots!
Cue the accordion!
Faithful readers know that at this point I became absorbed in looking at fabric and not thinking about my camera anymore! So I missed getting pics of the adorable huge flower-shaped floor pillow and the to-die-for white lighting fixture that resembles a snowflake or Sputnik (sharp eyed shopper C.C. says it is from IKEA!).
There's also a very generous sized class space with a kitchen counter...who wouldn't want to hole up here for a day?
But we only had an hour, and a quickly spent one at that! After a keep-it-moving tour of the entire place, we came back around to the display by the door.
Pick a pattern, pick a pack...make a quilt!
Our last bit of time was spent examining the batik section and making a few purchases...the IQA show we were headed to would require some of our resources!

I hope to make a return trip this wonderful shop, possibly with more friends. Karen says an advanced notice for a group of 5 or more will allow them to plan some special treats!
A Scarlet Thread is open every day except Sunday.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

But is it Art? Part II

I love blues of all kinds, and purples, too. So for my next art quilt experiment, I started with a dragonflies batik square.  I think of this as collaborative work, since the batik artist's signature is on the square. Even if that person made hundreds of similar pieces, this is the one I have, and my little work would not have come about without that unknown artist's help!
Let's see what I learned from the previous attempt:
Dragoonflies on purple and blue
Lesson One: pull more fabrics to work with! Yes, 17 or so is a good amount.
An interesting part of this step is discovering what colors are actually in the batik square. I was so sure that the blue was a dark true blue, but wouldn't you know, it turned out to be a deep turquoise! I had to replace a few of the original fabrics I auditioned, though most played well together anyway.
And that's an important lesson: colors are more about relationships with one another than about names or theories.You just have to see them together to find out if they'll be friendly or not!

Once again I cut strips to work with. If the fabric was a fat quarter, I just cut up the whole thing because I am really trying to use up fabric. And, yes, that is almost impossible to accomplish!
If the piece was yardage, I snipped the selvedge at some eye-ball length in the 8" to 12" range and torn off a hunk. Then I cut strips 1.5", 2" 2.5", some 3" until it was used up. Any odd size/shape left went into a new container I have for odd batik strips. More on using those in another post!

The fabric auditions continue!
It's a good thing I held on to that purple hand-dyed fabric from a class 20 years looks perfect here! That's why we never can really get rid of fabric...well, one of many reasons!
It's such a nice match with the square's upper corner, I knew I'd better put a value-contrast frame right away. So there's another lesson learned from the Bird House experiment in the previous post.
(I forgot to mention I call it Bird House because it has a triangle in each upper corner...but it does not look like a bird house).

I tried a few more things here like inserting wavy strips. I was having fun sewing.
I did not remember to take more photos.
So this is where I finally decided to stop:
Dragonflies 19" x 26"
I like it, but again I don't love it.
It's pretty and decorative, but is it art?
I thought about it for quite awhile, and came to this conclusion: not art.
Not "real" art. Of course, there is a place for purely decorative art, which also has skill and design involved.
What's missing for me is heart...or a story. Somebody else could make the exact same thing, and if they had a feeling for it or a story behind it, then they could call it art and be truthful.
For me, this has no real meaning other than a fun exercise.
So I guess "art"  has to be the call of the maker...we can never actually know as viewers!
Unless, of course, the work creates a story or meaning in you! can be a two-way creation! 
And at another time, this same question could take a whole new interesting direction. That's why we never really want a one-and-only answer!

I have two more batik pictures that I want to combine in a piece. I have wanted to work with them for a long time.
If it turns out well, it will be art to me, because it has a story and meaning to express (whether or not anyone else ever knows). I hope at least it will be pretty or decorative!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

But is it Art? Part I

I have been itchin' to do some free-style piecing and sewing, something "arty", but I seemed always to be working on some class or pattern or something that was more traditional-based.
Now that some time is available, I have been giving it whirl! 
When it's hard to get started, there's no problem with using some "quilter's helper" (like Hamburger Helper but tastier!) in the form a special fabric. I had a couple small batik panels that were just the thing.
Batiks! Hand dyed fabric!
Well, let's see...a bird batik and a bird batik! I've had that brown piece for a looooong time, so this must be what I was "saving" it for! And the hand dyed sateen fat quarter from St. Teresa"s Textile Trove was something my sister liked, so that's good. Now, what else have I got?
No shortage of batiks around here!
I pulled out several and just cut them into strips of various widths, then started sewing and slapping things up on the design wall:
The bird has been framed
This is from the school of I Don't Know What It Needs But I Can Tell If It Belongs Or Not.
 Trial and error...if it looks good it stays. If not, it comes down (but may re-appear later...possibly chopped up!)
I sewed and juggled like crazy to get this:
No matter what I did, the bird ended up in the center!
It was looking too dark, so those little "spirit lines" at the bottom left and mid right were an attempt to fix that. I also found I should have pulled more fabrics to play with. For some reason, the group I work with tends to get smaller as I go along, so it would be better to start with more choices, especially more values. I've seen this happen in classes, too.
I like these red and forest-y colors, but they are not my usual choices. Maybe I am trying to be too safe when working with different colors.

Is there a shape you prefer? I just seem to prefer a rectangle. And it's my project, so it can be whatever I want:
The bird is sitting pretty
OK, that's better!
I think I am done...this piece is about 19" x 26".
So I took it to The Bad Girls' Pie Club, and they said the frame around the bird matches too closely and needs to be set off. That's alright, I figured to do some embellishment and quilting to perk it up a bit anyway.
Then I hated it and decided to just make it into a pillow!
It was put away for a while, and now that it's back out, I like it again. At least enough to give it some more effort. I'll separate the frame from the bird square with tiny white spaced seed beads that will be similar to the tiny white dots on the outlines of the bird and branch. I am thinking of quilting some bird-feet shapes with copper color thread.
It's all just an experiment for now. 

But it doesn't feel right yet. If it's supposed to be an art quilt, then what is it that makes it art?
We talked about this question during the class at the Campbell Folk School. In the end, we decided to just be comfortable with the question, and not demand to have an exact answer.
But I was still thinking about it, and moved on to another little batik square to  continue my trials.
Take a look tomorrow as I explore a colorway more in my own zone!

[OK, the more astute viewers will wonder: what happened to that brown bird batik from the first picture?
As is often the case, the one fabric I was sure about using is the one that will be ending up on the back!]