Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Quilts as Gifts

When you make a quilt for someone special you put your heart in it.

Decor from restaurant Olive et Gourmando in Old Montreal

I know from experience that, in general, people who do not make things or sew quilts have no concept of how much time and effort it takes to create something. I have even heard people say, Well it's cheaper if you make something...which it isn't as we know!

I made a special baby quilt for my cousin's first baby. In the card that accompanied it,  I explained what I designed for him.

I used blue to symbolize the sky- The sky's the limit in what you can do in life. I used straight quilt lines in variegated thread to symbolize the many roads he will take in his life.

I love using fun fabrics for bindings.

I explained that it should be many times do recipients say it is too beautiful to use. I wrote, "It should be used for riding in strollers, for making tents, for reading under, for cuddling under with your mom and dad."

I proposed a few games. Using the 1 inch squares you could play "I Spy"... I spy a dotted line, a star, a letter B... or find two fabrics that are the same.

I made it personal. I added a 1 inch square of a map of Paris which is where his godmother lives. On the front, I placed a large letter J for his first name. On the back, I added a fat quarter which made a reference to his family name.

Fat quarter on the back.

I also stated how many hours it took to make. People have a different level of appreciation once they know that!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Trying and Redoing

Not everything an artist does "works out". Viewers only see what did work out. All the trying and redoing are part of an art piece that is rarely highlighted in an exhibit.

At the Peter Doig exhibit at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Montreal, the curator chose to show the "backstage" stuff! It is an important part of the art, I think.

The subject was first photographed.

Sketches were done of different aspects of the photo.

In his final rendition, Doig decided not to show what was behind the wall-the biggest cemetery in Port of Spain.

Lapeyrouse, 2003-2005

Cemetery Wall, 2003

Study of Lapeyrouse Wall, 2003

Lapeyrouse Umbrella, 2004

"The (above) works reveal the significant
amount of trial and formal investigation that
goes into the composition of his work
and offers and understanding
of the various issues at play in them"
 (quoted from the museum explanation)
It inspired me to go ahead with my work and not get discouraged with a piece. That the "bad" works are still good because they help with the final piece. They help you decide what you want to do, what you want to show and how you will go about expressing that.

Lapeyrouse Wall, 2004

I am at the 3/4 mark in the development of a piece that will be exhibited in Geneva, Switzerland, in June. I think I still have some more undoing to do before it gets done to my liking.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Quilts at the MOMA

American artist Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) worked in COMBINES- works in which he affixed cast-off items to a traditional support.

Bed (1955)
by Robert Rauschenberg
oil and pencil on pillow, quilt and sheet on wood supports
(photo courtesy of Sophia Reford)

They say that the bedding used in Bed was actually his own, making this a very intimate piece, almost as intimate as a self-portrait. 

Using cast-off items is very much in my vein of thinking.

I have used discarded items before, even an antique quilt which was badly damaged when I got it.

The previous owner had cut out a few blocks that were probably in better condition and my guess is  a pillow was made with them.

I used the damaged quilt as a starting point for "Pages of My Life" (2011).

It is an homage to my grandmother. 

"Pages of My Life" was exhibited in Toronto and in Italy
and was shown on OMNI newscast.

She came to America and started working in a clothing factory in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. 

Her job was to embellish "mistakes" in clothing therefore using her creativity to hide the mistake. The one-of-a-kind garment was often sold for more money.

I repaired the quilt and in doing so told some of the story of her life.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Quilting Curves

Quilter Jeannie Jenkins has a picture of her quilt, Triumph of the Hexagons, printed on a phone case cover. Great idea!! (she did it on-line). That quilt was exhibited in France in 2012 as part of Tradition in Transition.

I took a class from her this weekend.

Mine is the pink one at the end.
All the student samples look great.

It has been a while since I have taken a quilt class so I did a spur-of-the-moment-sign-up for a Curved Piecing class at Sew Sisters.

We used a cool ruler!
I had a fun day, a ME day. I met some new people and connected with someone I had met a few years ago.

Jeannie showed us some other options
 using that same ruler.
I am not a gadget person but I did enjoy this ruler
and see other applications for it.
I will be having some fun with that!
The example above shows 8 blocks.

It is a good idea to change a coloured image of a scrap quilt to a black and white one to test your fabric values.

I have decided that the lightest medium (a pale lilac)
is too light for me. I won't pick it out
 (don't' believe in that..Marg)
but I won't use it again in any other block.

Using solids means your quilting has to be top notch, in my opinion! I can see with the Modern Quilt trend that people will have to brush up on their quilting skills. Either that or the long-arm quilters will be making a fortune.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

More Teaching

I was invited to teach a textile workshop at a high school in Mississauga, west of Toronto.

I taught a three-part workshop on Textile Art Expression. The students were from grade 10 and 12, between 15 and 17 years of age.

For many it was their first time using a sewing machine. They explored free motion stitching, hand stitching and fabric painting. They worked with Tyvek and soluble film.

It was a new medium for them. I compiled a list of Canadian and international textile artists they can research on-line.

What makes my workshop a success is that all want to continue exploring.

The teacher wants to repeat this workshop next year and eventually have students at a level where they can create a cooperative textile work that can be considered for exhibit at the textile forum, Verona Tessile in 2015.