Monday, March 12, 2007

"Imagination Unleashed" Quilt Show

I thought I'd share a few quilts from the contemporary quilt show I saw on Saturday. But first, here's my Internet acquaintance, Nikki, and me meeting for the first time. Our paths crossed in the great blogosphere, with art quilting and Idaho/WA being our common link. I so enjoyed viewing the show with her, especially because she could tell me a bit about many of the quilters represented - all of which were unfamiliar names to me who has so recently been transplanted from the Midwest quilting scene. Nikki quickly moved from acquaintance to friend over the course of the afternoon, and I look forward to getting together with her again.

The Show was judged by Cynthia Corbin who not only brought along some of her own work for display, but also circulated and chatted with quilters at the show. I was particularly interested in how she had quilted her work, using closely spaced parallel lines, sometimes straight, sometimes slightly curved, and in one piece some of both. She pointed out that she almost exclusively uses cotton thread for quilting, feeling the sheen of rayon or metallic would detract from her abstract work. She also noted that she is more concerned with the value of the thread rather than the color. If she's just interested in texture, then she'll keep the value very close to the value of the quilt top.

I think the quilt shown above impressed me the most. (As always, click on any picture for a larger view.) It's "Green With Envy" from Pam Mostek's Paintbox series. My apologies to Pam - I don't think the color in this picture captures the rich depth of her quilt in person. A lot is going on here, but those things aren't screaming for individual attention. It all blends so well to give this work a complexity that invites further exploration. It wasn't until I viewed it from across the room that I noted the one design device that I think really sets this quilt apart. Rather than the predictable vertical and horizontal lining up of the circles, Pam has tilted the whole thing slightly. It makes for a much more interesting composition. Pam is no slouch - visit her website here to learn more about her quilts, fabric line and books.

These two quilts spoke to me because of their very graphic nature. Each are about 5 feet high I'd guess. The one on the left is "Fences Two #9" by Borg Hendrickson. This quilt was included in an exhibit at the American Art Company in Tacoma. See the review of the exhibit here. It was mentioned that she had taken a workshop with Nancy Crow and I felt I could see that influence in this quilt. As for the quilt on the right, there was no information pinned to it, so I can't tell you more about it except that it had the added surprise of some very subtle beadwork.

This last quilt is another one I failed to get more information about. I was interested in it because it is similar to the design of my challenge quilt here, but such a different feel. I think this one has more sophistication because of the toned and more satuated palette, not to mention the additional detail. But mostly I had to sigh because she had quilted the water exactly as I had intended to quilt mine, but for some reason, I ended up doing something different that I didn't care for but didn't have time to change. Her water quilting is lovely and provides the effect and mood I was looking for.

There were other well-done quilts, a few bad ones, and a number that seemed to bolster the current discussion about the drawbacks of this type of show as well as who it benefits. For someone who has never or seldom viewed anything other than a traditional quilt show, it would be an eye opening, even though the offerings were uneven. For the fledgling art quilter, it would be a perfect venue to get her work out there and gain some valuable critiquing from an art quilter judge. There's nothing like seeing your work along side more experienced and professional quilters, too, for sizing up where you stand and how you might improve. For the two who were obviously heads above the rest of the field, perhaps even on a par with the judge, their presence elevated the importance and quality of the entire exhibit, gave them an opportunity to sell work, but surely did not add to their resumes. In this case, I don't think that matters.

By the way, there were a few vendors in attendance, but I managed to walk away from them. Not to say I wasn't tempted by the wonderful range of yarns and other goodies. However, I did come away with a few free beads. Must check out this store some day soon.

No comments: