Wednesday, June 20, 2018

June Artist's Inspiration Challenge

The NTAQ challenge for June was "Artist's Choice."  We were each asked to pick a work and to make a quilt inspired by it.

I loved the freedom of this challenge!  And it gave me an excuse to leaf through my art books.  Brian and I have collected hundreds of art books (literally), ranging from our college Art History textbooks to the book on the Women of the Bauhaus movement that I bought on Monday.  We can't seem to resist books on art and artists.

For my inspiration, I chose a wall mural by a woman of the Ndebele tribe in South Africa.  I loved the graceful thin black lines and the strong white lines in this mural, although I wasn't so fond of the palette.  I decided to substitute shades of aqua and teal (which I seem obsessed by recently) for the brown.
I've had this book on the Ndebele for many years.  Their graphics are amazing!  They have been painting murals on their mud walled houses since the mid-18th century.
My final piece, unnamed so far:
Unnamed, 30" wide x 22" high
The group chose an amazingly diverse group of pieces for inspiration.  Jaye chose a photo of the Interior of the Buurkerk in Utrecht, designed by Pieter Jansz Saenredam, 1645.
Her piece:
Rhonda chose "Wheatfield with Crows," 1890, by Vincent Van Gogh:
This was her piece, not quite finished:
Bethany chose Plexus 34 by Gabriel Dawe, 2016.  Eighty miles of multi colored thread, currently hanging at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth:
Her interpretation:
 Michelle chose a weaving by Anni Albers, 1967:
Her interpretation:
 Kay chose Dornith Doherty, who works with cyanotypes.  Doherty had an exhibition at the Amon Carter last winter:
Her piece, made using cyanotype fabric paint and leaves from her neighborhood:
And here are all of our pieces together.  A very diverse group:
One of the highlights of my month is to see how my NTAQ pals interpret our monthly challenge.  They never disappoint me!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


I spent yesterday happily sloshing folded and clamped fabric in buckets of indigo dye with my NTAQ  pals.  Despite the heat and humidity, we spent a full morning folding, clamping and dyeing cotton.

Rhonda and Jaye sloshing fabric in the buckets with dyed pieces drying on the line behind them.
In the next picture, Bethany has just unclamped her piece.  You can see it is still slightly green.  Cotton dyed in indigo comes out of the vat bright green.  Within a few minutes it oxidizes to dark blue.  It's like magic!
Bethany with a clamped piece.
Michelle was dying cotton bolls.  She does weird and wonderful things with cotton bolls.  To dye them, she placed them in a produce bag, the net kind that onions and potatoes come in.
Michelle with the bolls. 
I was dyeing full yards of pimatex cotton.  I had some wooden circles and squares that I clamped around the fabric.  Clamping acts as a resist.  If you place a wooden or metal shape on either side of the folded fabric and clamp it tightly with a c-clamp, the dye cannot penetrate under the shapes.  The circles or squares remain white, the fabric around it is dyed.  My circles and squares had been used before for clamp dyeing.  Apparently in fuchsia and yellow dye baths, and apparently I hadn't really washed them off.  The old fuchsia and yellow dye came off the shapes into my white parts.  I like the result.
A happy accident!
I can't seem to dye without getting it all over myself.  Usually my hands and feet.  Yesterday, I had stripes of blue on my face.
At the end of the morning, we had dyed a lot of fabric.  And made some really wonderful patterns and textures.
A lot of indigo-dyed fabric.  And that's only half of it!
 I couldn't attend the meeting last month, so everyone was nice enough to bring their challenge piece from May.  I had gone through my scraps and made everyone a packet.  They were pretty much the same, each containing approximately three yards.  We were allowed to add one light and one dark fabric to the mix.  It's amazing how different our pieces turned out with the same initial palette.
My piece is top center.  
I just washed out my fabrics.  Here are a few of my favorites:

I think I needed to dip these again to get a darker blue.  I've bought some reduced indigo crystals, and I'll be trying again soon.  I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

SAQA North Texas!

By Natalie Friedman
Our local SAQA group met yesterday.  And we devoted the meeting to getting to know each other a little bit better.

Andrea, our circle leader, asked us each to bring our first quilt and some of our recent work.   It was so much fun to see where everyone had started.  Most of us, myself included, had started with traditional quilts.  A few people had jumped right into art quilts.   

I didn't get pictures of everyone, but here is a sampling of recent work by our members:
Andrea Dodds 
Doreen Beck 
Donna Akins
Carolyn Skei
Jaye Dodds, with Andrea looking on
Jenn Haxton 
Natalie Friedman
It was a fabulous meeting and a lot of fun!

Next month we are touring the Laura Owens exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art.  I hope to see all of my North Texas SAQA friends there!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Six Elephants and a Dodo: My Day at the North Texas Quilt Festival

 Thursday was spent at the North Texas Quilt Festival.  It was a wonderful day!

The Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Arlington has been the host for a regional quilt show for the past two years.  North Texas guilds have worked together to produce a fabulous show.

The quilts were wonderful.  But I was struck by the large number of elephants in the room.  I may have missed some, but I counted six.  There were pieced elephants, appliquéd elephants, colorful elephants, happy elephants.  They were everywhere!
Jade's Elephant Parade (detail) by Kay Thomas
Unknown for now -- I'll find out today when I get to the show. 
The Elephant in the Room by Mary Beth McCormack
Eliana The Elephant by Jolene Mershon 
Pat's Pachyderm by Pat Wykoff
Purple Reign by Margie Kallmayer
But one of my favorite quilts was part of the SAQA Wild Fabrications exhibit on display.
Polka Dodo by Susan Carlson
I'll feature more quilts from Wild Fabrications in another post.

Wendy Hook, my cohort in quilted crime, and I had six quilts in the show.  Fiver were in the art category.  Two of Wendy's:

The Salt Marsh returns.  When I first got to the show I walked by it,  and I heard someone say "This quilt is everywhere!  It's in all the shows."  I guess she was tired of it.  Oh well.
Tuning Fork #11:
Blue Triangles by Wendy.  I love this quilt!
And the debut of  "Uptempo" in the Modern Quilt Category.  The design started out as a small paper collage.  It was fun to translate it into fiber.
I spent most of the day working at the SAQA: Wild Fabrications booth with Jaye Dodds.  
I'm working there today, too.  And I want to spend some time looking at the Threads of Resistance Exhibit.  I didn't have time to really look at them yesterday.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Art With Fabric Blog Hop -- 5th Edition

Alida of Tweety Loves Quilting is hosting the 5th Edition of the Art With Fabric Blog Hop.  I decided to play along!

The theme for this edition of the hop is 1 + 1 = 3

I have to admit I was somewhat stumped by this theme.  The concept is from Josef Albers, who highlights how two graphic elements positioned close to each other may create additional graphical elements and active negative space.  I am always appreciative of negative space.  But it could also mean other things -- a mathematical absurdity (you did know the answer to the equation above is incorrect, right? ;)) or the fact that society may be greater than the sum of the individuals who make it up.  I thought and thought, and decided to take the theme a little differently.  I took one painting and interpreted it in a small quilt.  And then I took that quilt and abstracted it further.  And finally, I took the second quilt and abstracted it further.  So three degrees of abstraction from one inspiration piece.

Abstract enough for you?

I love the work of Josef Albers, and since Alida had mentioned him in her description of the theme, I decided to use one his paintings as my starting point.  Albers is best known as an abstract artist and color theorist.  But he was also a printmaker, poet, photographer, educator and typographer.  He came to the US in 1933 from Germany and taught at Yale. His book,  The Interaction of Color, has been in print since 1963.  I have a copy of the 1971 edition, and if you don't have it (any edition will do), it is worth seeking out.  His work and his use of color are very recognizable and his color theory is very interesting.

I chose "Variant: 4 Reds Around Blue," 1948.
Which, as I gazed at it, presented the questions "How do you abstract something that has already been simplified to it's basic elements?  How do you abstract an abstraction?"

I try very hard every month to use the inspiration piece as just that, inspiration.  I have no desire to copy a painting or sculpture in fabric.  Rather, I try to use it as a starting point.  So I made a few sketches and came up with this piece.
Albers #1, 17"w x 22"h
Very simple.  In fact I thought it was too simple.  So I sketched a little more and tried to move it a little farther away from the original.
Albers #2, 17"w x 28"h
I liked the tension/sense of imbalance of this piece, but I still didn't love it.  So I moved in a completely different direction.  And I added some green.  Adding green is never a bad idea, in my opinion.
Albers #3, 24" x 24"
I liked this piece better, but it doesn't look very much like the Albers piece, does it?  Perhaps that's the point.

Visit all of the wonderful blogs on this blog hop!  

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