Tuesday, November 02, 2010

"Flora & Fauna of Northern Idaho" Exhibit

23" x 30" Art Quilt
Sheila Mahanke Barnes 2010

Here I am running right down to the wire again, but I am pleased to say "Willow" is finished and I am very happy with the results. (Click on any picture for a larger view.) It, plus "Willow Leaves II" and "January" will go up tomorrow at the Panhandle State Bank as part of POAC's invitational exhibit, "Flora & Fauna of Northern Idaho." The opening reception is this Friday, details at the end of this post for any of you able to attend.

I admit to having a lot of misgivings as I worked through this design idea, most of them concerning technical execution. (See these posts: It Begins, Playing to Your Strengths, Stitch Stitch Stitching, Unstuck) But once I got past that, I inevitably bumped up against how I would finish off the quilt. From the beginning, I felt it would have some kind of a border, but because of the intense quilting, adding a traditional border with little or no quilting after the fact would be challenging if not impossible to pull off. Yet something was needed to give the quilt stability if nothing else. Once the quilted top was blocked, I could see I just had to square it up and figure out how to make an edge finish work. Here is how it looked on my design wall while I pondered my options.

I amused myself with imagined discussion with the art quilters I know who often suggest no border or binding at all, just turning the edge to the back with a facing.
I had gone from questioning how good the quilt itself looked to really liking it, so I could imagine it free and unrestrained on the gallery wall. So while I admit it was one option I considered, I was worried that it would not be enough to give a clean, unwavering edge to the piece. Would I have to add stabilizer to the facing? Would I need to fuse another fabric over the back?

Then I remembered a mounting method I developed for use on smaller quilts and realized this was the solution provided I could find the right fabric. As I auditioned various ones, I was totally amazed at what the batik I ended up using did to elevate my quilt from ordinary to special, at least in my eyes. It created an additional feel of mountains and lakes while bringing the eye's attention to the real story.

The mount is simply your front and back fabric stabilized with Decor Bond fusible interfacing, sewn wrong sides together around the outside and then turned inside out. The quilted top is then center on it and stitched in place. To cover the raw edges on this quilt, I couched decorative threads over them: the dark brown perle cotton used to extend the branches in the quilt, an Oliver Twist hand-dyed perle cotton and a chenille thread from the same group of Oliver Twist decorative threads. I loosely twisted the three threads together as I stitched them down with a wide zigzag using invisible thread. You can see more specific instructions for this type of finishing option on this post.

This is the largest quilt I've used this mounting method on, and although it was a little tricky to keep things square, once in place, the overall effect is exactly what I hoped for, it hangs very nice and flat. Yeah!!!

And here are the particulars on the exhibit and opening reception:

POAC & Panhandle State Bank PRESENT:
"Flora & Fauna of North Idaho"

Nov. 5, 2010 - Feb. 24, 2011

Opening Reception

Friday, Nov. 5 2010
5:30 - 7:00 pm

In the Atrium of Panhandle State Bank

Free and open to the public

POAC’s “Out and About”
Art Reception

The Pend Oreille Arts Council and Panhandle State Bank extend an invitation to everyone to attend the opening of Flora & Fauna of North Idaho, an exhibition featuring more than 20 local POAC member artists. The artist reception will be held on Friday, November 5 from 5:30pm to 7:00pm, in the Atrium of the Panhandle State Bank at 4th and Church Streets in Sandpoint, Idaho.

The “Out and About” program exhibits original art at various locations around Sandpoint. Kim Queen, Executive Director of POAC said, “We have long been known for our gallery in the Power House building on Lake Street, with unique, themed exhibits and exciting opening receptions to meet the artists. However, the Power House isn’t the only place to savor the artistic flavor of North Idaho. We have been working diligently out in the community, to bring art to the places where you are, “Out and About”, every day.”

“Out and About” displays art at seven different local locations. It is bringing art to our residents and, at the same time, introducing some great artists to the community. In addition to the Panhandle State Bank, the other locations are Northern Lights, Starbucks, Bonner General Hospital, University of Idaho Extension Services, Taylor-Parker Motor Company, and Spokane Teachers Credit Union. These exhibits will be changing every 3 months, throughout the year. Kim invites everyone to stop by any and all locations, view the art, and thank the businesses for being involved in “Out & About”.

The Pend Oreille Arts Council exists to facilitate and present the finest quality experiences in the arts for the people of the Sandpoint area and beyond. For more information on “Out & About” locations and artists represented, contact POAC at 263-6139, by e-mail at poac@sandpoint.net, visit the website at www.artinsandpoint.org, or become a Fan on Facebook.

This exhibit will be on display through Feb. 24, 2011.


Amanda said...

A really lovely finish to a great little quilt.

June said...

Really nice. And a great way to do the border. I have never been able to do a whole "finished" art piece that way, but having two separate pieces and then sewing the one to the other makes great sense.

Have fun at the opening. You deserve it!

Felicity Grace said...

Fantastic, Sheila, you are right to be proud! The background works so well and really adds to the overall design and feel. Good luck with the exhibition!

The Idaho Beauty said...

Thanks everyone! It looks so good hanging in the gallery. I can hardly wait to get feedback at the reception. I already got some interesting comments from the guy helping to hang the exhibit - a bank employee who works the "integrated hanging system" and climbs the ladder. You know you've gotten your point across when a non-artist sees it.