Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dreams & Illusions

This is the name of the Fabrications Quilt Artists regional juried exhibition I saw on Saturday. Read the Chamber notice with more details here. This exhibit is sponsored by Sew Uniquely You in Spokane, WA, and I gather that the majority of the entrants have taken art quilting classes there. Anna Turner is quite the booster for quilting arts, and I found the overall quality of the offerings much improved over the same show last year (see here for my review). It was held in a different venue, Jacklin Arts & Cultural Center which formerly did duty as a Presbyterian Church. The natural light was definitely an improvement over last year's windowless auditorium. It also made photography a bit tricky when facing those light streaming windows to capture some of the quilts. Click on any picture for a larger view.

Cynthia Corbin was on hand again, conducting a workshop as well as judging the show. Whereas last year I was absorbed with her close parallel quilting stitches (something I've begun incorporating in my own work), this year I was more aware of her influence on the artists in the show. Close parallel quilting was in abundance, as in Leap of Faith by Karen Querna (detail above) and Primordial Soup by Kay Kimball (detail below).

This stitching was definitely appropriate for the quilts, but I couldn't help wondering if this is the new micro stippling. It made me realize I need to be judicious in my own use of it - too easy for these trends to be overdone and lose their impact when everyone is doing it.

As is often the case, the quilts I thought most striking did not win any awards. Sometimes you can get a feel for what the judge is looking for but in this case, I didn't understand Cynthia's choices at all. Twister (above and below) by Kay Kimball was my all out favorite, meeting all my criteria for subtle sophistication and attention to technical detail. The camera picked up more contrast than was evident in person; all the colors rather blended a bit more without the piece losing its impact. I had to get up quite close to it to see that the center was an applied needlefelted piece and that the background was subtly painted with metallic thread. I'm not totally sold on the needlefelting thing, but this was so beautifully integrated into the whole with the unusual beading accents, how it was done did not matter. It reminded me of something Robert Henri said: "One's technique must be so sincere, so translucent, that it may be forgotten."

Of course, I loved those curving parallel quilting lines. It was mounted to a piece of black mat board. It made me wonder if it usually resides in a frame as well, but could not be displayed in this show that way.

There was another needlefelted piece that caught my eye, Lazy Afternoon by Elsie Bozzo shown on the right in the above picture. I spotted it from across the room, all soft and blurred looking, and I couldn't imagine how she had managed that effect. She masterfully needlefelted all the details with the exception of the border. An amazing effect. The quilt to the left is hers also, Morning Fog. It too has some needlefelting, but only in small amounts. The rest is predominantly raw edge applique. It was started in a Pam Mostek class and inspired by a photograph taken on Orcus Island, WA.

Continuing the tree theme, two other quilts also caught my eye from across the room, both dark quilts yet demanding I come closer to suss out their mysteries. Velvet Tree above was most interesting in its use of non-traditional materials. The background is indeed black velvet possibly hand-dyed or discharged while the tree is made of jute. My apologies for not getting the maker's name - I couldn't make it out in my photo and it wasn't listed in the program. The other tree quilt shown below is Nature's Energy by Ramona Petrie. While some of the imagery could have been executed better, there was no mistaking that one was viewing a lightning bolt hitting a tree. It had its own energy that kept drawing me back to study it.

There's more to share, which I will do in a separate post.

1 comment:

Kimberly said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing the quilts and descriptions. Really amazing work.