SAQA Auction 2013
I was so drawn to this piece that I wanted to include a short interview with Leni in my post for the blog hop AND give you an opportunity to see this lovely small art quilt! Here's Leni!
Leni, I loved reading your chapter in Art Quilt Portfolio: People and Portraits and looking through all the images of your work in the book. When I saw your quilt in the 2013 SAQA Auction, Peaceful, I immediately recognized it as your work. Can you share a bit of the story behind this quilt?
Coming home from Houston I was in the airport waiting for my flight and there were only a few people at the gate. Across from me was a Tibetan monk who had fallen asleep in his seat. I carry my camera with me all the time and very carefully slipped it out of my pocket and snapped a picture. I love to capture un-extraordinary moments in the lives of strangers—those moments that are so identifiable to us all.
I'd also love to hear a bit about the process of creating "Peaceful."
I always start with a photo because all the information I need is right there for me; I don’t have to figure out the perspective, the proportions or where the light and shadow would be. Taking the photo into Adobe Photoshop and applying a cutout filter reduces the image into manageable masses of color. I print the resulting “pattern” in the full size of the finished piece. Fabrics are assigned, paying close attention to value. Then I use freezer paper to cut out each piece and lay it in place like a puzzle.
In the book, you mention that you consider your work "to be a form of storytelling." Are there artists that you particularly enjoy and consider to be great storytellers? Either in art quilting or other art forms?
There are a lot, in fact I have dozens of folders on my computer containing images by inspirational artists in every medium. In the quilting world I am intrigued and inspired by several artists, just to name a few off the top of my head I would say Joan Sowada, Deidre Scherer, and Jenny Bowker. Each is able to capture something that invites the viewer to look closer and think about the image. When the image suggests a story but doesn’t fill in all the blanks it allows the viewer to bring their own experience to the piece—engaging and involving them in a way that brings them into the work.
Care to share with us what is currently on your design wall? Is it fair to assume it involves "people and portraits?"
Actually, here is a big surprise, on my design wall right now are turtles and tortoises for the upcoming SAQA show, Earth Stories. My original plan was to make a large piece as part of a series I have been working on which features people in Grand Central Station in NYC during different times of the day. Rush (in the “people and portraits” book) is one from that series. But watching TV one night, I saw a story about the Turtle Conservancy. There was a plowshare tortoise in the story and I instantly knew which fabric I had that would do him justice. So I changed my approach and am working on a piece that is 72” square all about turtles and tortoises. Kind of a nice vacation from the norm. When it is finished, I am back to people!
Thanks so much for stopping by my blog on the blog hop. Be sure to check out the all the other artists sharing thoughts, interviews and giveaways throughout June!