Monday, January 25, 2010

Ponderings of an Art Quilt

I have been itching to make an Art Quilt and in fact that is something on my list of things to explore in 2010. I have made some in the past, just a couple, and have really enjoyed the process. I have also created several crib and lap top size quilts over the past 20 or so years. I like creating them.
I have tried a bit of traditional bed quilting and have found the process to be too 'big'. I don't have enough space to feel that I can really do it justice and I really don't feel a big calling towards it.
I come from a family of artists (traditional artists, graphic artists, stained glass artists, woodworkers, sculptresses, painters, drawers) and have always thought of myself as not being an artist. I cannot draw, I cannot paint and power tools are not my friend. However over the years I have found myself to be very creative and somewhat of an artist in my sewing room. I thought about what makes an Art Quilt and for that mater what makes something Art. I found this great example on the web:
What is a Contemporary Art
There is a lot of discussion in the
art quilt world about what exactly an "art quilt" is and what we should call
them. The simple term "quilt" is deemed unacceptable by a large portion of the
general art quilting population because of the connotations of traditional quilt
that it carries with it. So most people prefer to add some type of disclaimer to
qualify the type of quilt they make.One of the more common terms is "art quilt".
I prefer "contemporary quilt". Some people say "fiber art" or "studio quilt" or
"textile art" or "soft painting". But the question remains - exactly WHAT is a
contemporary art quilt? Generally it refers to a quilt that was intended to be
art and hang on the wall vs. placed on a bed. Although some art quilts might
also be bed quilts.
What is Art?
As contemporary art quilts are "art"
it's good to think about what art is when trying to define them. Of course
defining art is difficult but the definition I prefer I read on Alyson
Stanfield's Art Biz Blog"What is art? . . . art is the deliberate creation of
aesthetic sensations. Art is a work of a human being, not of nature. It is not
accidental. It produces something that is perceived through the senses and
results in a personal emotional experience. . . .". . . it is the conscious,
deliberate production of an event or object of beauty (or emotional import) by a
human being, employing not only the skill of the craftsman, but in addition, an
element of creativity--original, inventive, instinctive, genius. An art object
is an aesthetic artifact, deliberately created.Art actually lies in the act of
creation, not in its result."--G. Ellis Burcaw, Introduction to Museum Work,
page 66
Maybe this yearning to wear the title of 'artist' has drawn me to the art quilt... there are no rules to follow and there are a million different jumping off points. Just look at the book section in any quilt shop or fabric store.
For example: Years ago I saw this quilt exhibition while vacationing, I think my mom was with me. It was all of these beautiful 'Bargello style' quilts. This is originally a style of needlepoint/tapestry design (I used to love needlework!) and for some reason I was drawn to it. Upon exiting the exhibition there was a book for sale on creating Bargello quilts, I bought it. I have pulled this book out many, many, many times over the years. The pages are marked and the spine lovingly creased, yet I have never created a Bargello Quilt of my own. It is a great book that talks about construction and fabric selection and gives wonderful pictures of others works. It gives you no reason to not try making one. It even has an entire section on what to do if you screw it up!
Maybe I can transform it into the ultimate quilt of the '10s
(now that just looks weird!)
Add this yearning, my intimate affair with this book that I have owned for maybe 15 years now and a Christmas gift of this great little pack of fabric strips from my hubby and I am off to explore the great wide world of Art Quilting to see what I can come up with. :)

A great selection of colors from Hoffman fabrics Batiks!
AT least I have a great palate to start with.
On a side note... like any other creative person, once I started thinking of 'Art Quilts' my brain started whirring and the more I thought about it the more ideas have started spinning around and around. Now I have more ideas than I will ever have time to try and make!
I wrote down several of the more creative ideas I had and tacked it on my cork board for future inspiration.
Now my mom has come up with a great idea that we will have to try out sometime. She is a stained glass artist and she was thinking wouldn't it be cool to have 2 pieces from the same pattern hanging. 1 made up in stained glass and the other made up as an art quilt??? The possibilities are great! We could make it into a 'challenge' of sorts.
So many ideas, so little time!

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