I have presented a challenge for Ohio members of Studio Art Quilt Associates: Create a work that fits the SAQA definition of an art quilt. The work should contain at least one bullseye motif. Longest side should be no less than 24″ and no more than 48″. A bullseye is a simple traditional quilt design, a circle or concentric circles centered within a square. Several bullseye blocks are cut into quadrants and their parts exchanged and rearranged. There are an infinite number of ways to expand and modify the design.
For experiment #1, I set limits for myself. I began with nine bullseyes, arranged in three rows of three. I chose 10″ for the squares and grabbed a coaster and jar lid for circle templates. I wanted a stark contrast between one light value and one dark value. Because I had quite a few yellow pieces of fabric that already had fusible ironed onto them, yellows, light oranges, ivories and whites became my lights. I chose browns and burnt sienna as the darks.
After I had made the nine blocks, I tried various arrangements of them: rows, border, and circular. I photographed each in order to better compare them. Photos reduce the size of the compositions and allow for simultaneous viewing. The circular pattern pleased me the most.
I pieced the squares. I needed a wide dark brown border to make the outer bullseyes complete circles. Once the pieced squares were appliquéd to the dark brown, I cut fabric from behind them to reduce layers in quilt center. I began adding circles and elaborating the design intuitively. Pins hold the work together to keep options open as I rearrange and refine the design. I’ll glue and fuse when I am happy with it.
Here is the progress at the end of today, followed by three of the designs I considered at the beginning. In my next work session I’ll think out the logic of the outer circles of the bullseyes…should they appear to be overlapping? One more day of tinkering should finish the design, then I’ll move on to sewing.
I’ve just digitally submitted my two entries for an art quilt exhibition with the lengthy title: Declaration of Sentiments 1848 — The Struggle Continues. This Studio Art Quilt Associates regional show, with the theme of women’s rights, will be a part of the AQS Show in Paducah, KY September 13 -16, 2017. After that, it will travel to other venues until August 2020. The exhibit is juried, so there is no guarantee my two submissions will be chosen from among many other hopeful artist’s entries. Whether they are accepted or not, I have throughly enjoyed the process of making my entries…the research, the problem-solving and the adrenaline rush of beating the entry deadline. Here are my artist’s statements and photos of the works:
Glass Ceiling – Women are not equally represented in positions of power in government or business. Pay inequity persists. Today’s young women must work assertively but peacefully to break the glass ceiling and take their places beside men in the workforce.
(detail) Glass Ceiling
(detail) Glass Ceiling
Claiming Power – It took courageous people and many years to claim the rights American women now enjoy. A large figure, representing all women, marches with historic figures who promoted women’s rights. Text from the Declaration of Sentiments conveys the main ideas.
(detail) Claiming Power
(detail) Claiming Power
I tried a new technique at our SAQA OH meeting yesterday. Jacqueline Sullivan, a Golden Products instructor, showed samples of her mixed media art made on fabric by using black gesso, diluted white gesso, light modeling paste with stencils, and gel medium. We did a hands-on session transferring ink jet prints from paper to fabric with acrylic medium. She warned us that we could not paint on these.
So now that my three samples are home, I’m experimenting with coloring them and painting them. The photo is the black and white prints, drawn on with a fine line black Sharpie marker and colored with Derwent Inktense colored pencils. I’ll try painting over these by using an isolation layer. This painting technique is the application of a thin layer of matte gel medium over an image you don’t wish to disturb. Once that layer is dry, you can put additional paint on top.
gel medium transfers
“Free” is my mother’s spirit. We lost my mother to cancer a few years ago. The cancer made her very jaundiced in the last two weeks of her life, hence the yellow woman. Her red hair is symbolic of all the stereotyped attributes of that physical feature: willfulness, courage, temper, and an eagerness to undertake adventure. Mom was “horse crazy” since her childhood. At her first opportunity to be on her own, while a college student in Texas, she bought her first horse. Over her lifetime, she owned dozens of horses and rode thousands of miles. She defined herself as a horsewoman. I envision her spirit riding free in an existence beyond this world.
My primary reference for the work is a bookplate my mother used to label her books, the books I knew from a very early age. Reading was another of Mom’s passions. Here’s the bookplate.
“Free” uses inktense in the background sky
I try to learn something new with each fiber art project. This work used a inktense water soluble colored pencils. At our SAQA meeting June 20, one of the members shared a realistic work done by drawing with these pencils on fabric and shared the knowledge that the colors become permanent on fabric when wetted, dried, then heat set. The gradations in the sky are inktense on solid grey fabric. I’ll do more experimentation with Derwent Inktense pencils when colors in the project are not limited as they are in this Paint Chip Challenge. I’m also redoing and refining the “Free” concept in more fiber artworks.
I had only one month, and that month included holidays…but deadlines do motivate. The theme of the Ohio regional SAQA show, music, is a topic I would not otherwise choose. By working every available minute all month, I finished two art quilts two days before the show entry deadline and completed the online entry. I’ve posted the in-progress photos of “Soundwave – Beethoven’s Fifth”, which I made concurrently with “Sound & Silence”. Both are based on visual depictions of sound waves.
I had two days remaining and I had paid the entry fee to enter up to three projects. I did a small third piece from one of several sketches I had made when first exploring ideas for the show. It is based on notations for writing sheet music. I amazed myself by finishing in two days, the fastest I have ever completed a piece. It includes words, drawing and painting, which is typical of my work. Here are photos.
Soundwave – Beethoven’s Fifth
Sound & Silence
This is the pre-birth stage of an art quilt. The work began with a call for entries on the Studio Art Quilt associates website. The themed show, “Diversity in Music”, has an entry deadline only a month away. I began thinking and sketching. I made six sketches that had possibilities; a few others were discarded very quickly. This is comparable to fertilization…the combining of an idea with the possibilities of the medium. My medium is fabric and thread. I developed three sketches. With the deadline only a month away, I can finish one work, maybe two. So I’m continuing work on two ideas, which I will create simultaneously (fraternal twins?). My photo in this post is comparable to one of the blastocysts…the raw materials from which the fetus, infant, then finished work will grow.
The two works have titles, “Soundwave” and “Sound and Silence”. I’ve begun assembling sketches, reference photos and written ideas in a manila folder, which is low tech but more tactile. I must stop writing now to get back to making the art. In a quilter’s world, one month is a VERY short time.
I’m thinking about lessons from two different eras of my life.
Last Saturday I enjoyed an excellent presentation by fellow fiber artist Sue King at a meeting of Ohio SAQA members held at the Zanesville Museum of Art. After Sue spoke about exhibiting our art, a listener asked her how long she spends each day creating art. Sue responded that we must each find balance in our lives…find what proportions of our time used for paid employment, art creation, marketing and promoting of our art, family activities, and socialization works for us. As she spoke, I envisioned separate categories of activity placed into discrete boxes of time.
Today I was reminded of a lesson from a college art professor, Earl Hassenflug, who explained the process of making art in tribal cultures in Africa. He stated that, in these tribal cultures, there are no individuals who define themselves as artists because making art is a life activity in which everyone is engaged. All life activities are integral.
So, are these two wordings of the same concept or opposite ways of thinking?