Tuesday, July 17, 2018

NTAQ Challenge for July: The Women of the Bauhaus School

The men of the Bauhaus School have always grabbed all of the attention.  Paul Klee and Josef Albers are two of the most celebrated pioneers of modern art.  The women of the school, and there were many, are not as well remembered.  I'm afraid they were considered less able than their male counterparts by many artists, including the founder of the Bauhaus School, Walter Gropius.  Gropius actually believed that men thought in three dimensions, but women only thought in two.  So women were encouraged to pursue weaving rather than painting, sculpture and architecture.

For our July challenge, Michelle asked us to choose as inspiration a work by one of the female members of the Bauhaus.  I chose Gunta Stölzl.  Gunta was one of the first women to join the school, and headed the weaving department from 1926 to 1931.  She was known for complex weavings with undulating lines and mosaics of colored squares.  
Gunta Stölzl
Gunta was married to a Jew and was forced to leave Germany by the Nazi regime.  She founded a hand-weaving company in Zurich, and lived and worked there until her death in 1983.

Her work appeals to me strongly, probably because of the beautiful use of line in her weavings.  For my inspiration, I chose a collage she made in 1924. She often executed designs in mixed media before weaving them.
Collage by Gunta Stölzl, 1924
I focused on her use of fine and not-so-fine black lines on the bright pastel background.  My piece:
Ode to Gunta, 12" x 17", ©2018
Several NTAQ members were inspired by the work of Anni Albers, wife of Josef Albers.  She was also a weaver.

Rhonda was inspired by her strong rectangles:
Michelle was excited by her use of squiggles.   She made many weavings with squiggles woven through them.  
 She made two pieces, using burlap as a base and weaving materials through.  Very cool.
 Wendy loved her use of polygons:
Kay riffed off one of her weaving designs:
Kay's piece:
Jaye was fascinated by the story of Otti Berger, another Bauhaus weaver and textile artist.  Otti was a Hungarian Jew.  She came to the Bauhaus as a student and became an instructor.   She taught there until 1936, when she was forced to leave by the Nazis.  She first fled to England, but her hearing impairment and her inability to speak English made her unemployable.   She returned to Zagreb in 1938 to take care of her ailing mother and was sent to Auschwitz in 1944.  She died there. 
 Jaye's piece included her photo superimposed on one of her weavings and her story.
In all, I think we did a wonderful job!  And we learned quite a lot about the Women of the Bauhaus School.  

Jaye then showed us how to weave on a small "beginner" loom.  I had never woven before, and I loved it.  It was very meditative.  Uh oh.  I don't need another fiber obsession.....
Wendy and Jaye weaving away
My piece so far:
So now my challenge is to get back to quilting.  Of course, I have to finish my little woven piece before the next NTAQ meeting, don't I?

Thursday, July 12, 2018

New Work

I just realized that I haven't posted any new work for quite a while.  But I have been very busy.  Honestly.

So here are a few of the pieces I've recently completed:
Bahama Blues, 17" x 18", ©2018 
Bue Note (TF 50), 17" x 27",  ©2018
Bonefish Bay Blues (TF 49), 12" x 15", ©2018
Heat Wave, 27" x 37", ©2018 
Interconnections, 16" x 20" (mounted on canvas) © 2018
Eastham Marsh: Summer Squall, 31" x 75", ©2018
Sun Spots, 14" x 16", ©2018 
Turmoil, 31" x 50", ©2018

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

New Lectures and Workshops!

I love to teach.  And I really enjoy giving lectures.   But for the last several years I have not offered any classes.  And I have only done a handful of lectures.

I think it is time I started up again.

I've just created the "Lectures and Workshops" page on my website.  Click here to go directly there.

Taken during a lecture (with Natalie Friedman) on Japanese Quilts and Fiber, June, 2018
So I'm dipping my toe back into the pool.  And the water feels fine!


Monday, July 9, 2018

Volcano is in Quilting Arts Magazine!

I received my copy of Quilting Arts Magazine over the weekend, and found out that my quilt, Volcano!, was included in the article on SAQA's Textile Posters!
I've known that Cat Larrea's quilt was on the cover of the August/September issue of QA.  As a member of the SAQA Exhibition Committee I had seen an advance copy of the cover.  But I didn't know Volcano! was in the article until I opened up my copy.
I think this is the first time that I've had a quilt in Quilt Arts Magazine.  I'm very excited!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Natalie and I are presenting a program on our recent Fiber Tour of Japan!

If you happen to be in Dallas/Fort Worth on Monday, June 23, at 6:45 pm, you can catch Natalie Friedman and me presenting a program on our trip to Japan and the Tokyo Quilt Show at the Dallas Area Fiber Artists meeting.  We'll be talking about the workshops we took, the quilts we saw, the museums we visited and showing pictures of Tokyo, Kyoto and the beautiful Japanese countryside.

Lu Peters will be demonstrating the Japanese mindful mending technique called Boro at 6 pm.

I hope to see you there!

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 painting of the Interior of the Buurkerk in Utrecht,  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!

I'm linking this post with Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday, Confessions of a Fiber Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday.  Go see all the wonderful work there!

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.

Sign up for my studio newsletter