Monday, March 09, 2009

Numbers 9, 10 and 11

I had a really difficult time completing last Friday's daily fiber art. It was the first day that I was unable to completely finish. So it goes. I added beads to the binding last night and now it is done.
12.5 x 13 (#9)

After all the trouble on Friday, I tried something smaller and more direct on Saturday.

2.5 x 3.5 (#10)

I am taking Sundays off and this morning I got back into the rhythm with this piece. It's a bit clunky, but I did get from start to finish.

Turned Away
9.5 x 7 (#11)

More Thoughts
I am finding it really challenging to create a plan for finishing the quilt as I'm working on creating it. Yet, it's really important to know if I'm going to do a pillow case finish, a traditional binding, or a zig zag edge, or any number of other binding/finishing options.

I had planned to do a traditional binding on Just. I thought I figured correctly, but I cut the strips too narrow and didn't realize this until after I'd sewn them partly on. Unsew. Then I cut new strips and sewed them on. Still to narrow. (How did this happen? I am still not sure. How wide do you cut your binding strips?) I was supremely frustrated at that point so I just wrestled the binding strip to the back side and zig zagged it down, rather than doing a clean hand stitched finish on the back.

I went to see Materials Hard and Soft on Friday. It's an annual competition and exhibition of contemporary crafts was started in 1987 and is now in its 22nd year. It's just right up the road in Denton and I really enjoyed it. There were 6 or 7 pieces that I would specifically call art quilts including work from Elizabeth Barton, Sue Reno, Ellin Larimer and Susan Lenz. Several other pieces would fall into a broader "fiber" category.

My favorite piece was by Danielle Embry. It was called "transpose." Here is her blog post about it. The presentation of the piece added such weight and interest to the whole composition.

I think it is notable that all of the art quilts in the show were large -- at least 30 inches on the smallest side. It seems to me that there is an expectation that art quilts must be large in order to be sufficient enough to hang on the wall by themselves and have any significance. Whereas, there were several metal and ceramic pieces in the show that were tiny. There was a lovely ring just sitting on black velvet in a case. Can you image a fiber collage or small art quilt only three to five inches square being juried into a national show? I think presentation and/or framing can give small art quilts more presence, but that's difficult to perfect and the needs are different for every piece. There was another art quilt in the show that was framed and under glass. I know lots of artists use this method, but it turns me off every time. I don't like fiber under glass. Just my opinion, of course. It didn't stop me from loving Susan Lenz's quilt -- embroidery and rusty nails always win!


Anonymous said...

I spy with my little eye... some bleach discharge from Maine?

Kristin L said...

I really like the quilting on Just. It ties it all together. Rain has the naiveté of a child's drawing and I love that. I admire your focus to do these every day.

Thanks for sharing the Materials Hard and Soft links. Cool stuff.

Gerrie said...

These little pieces are little gems. I agree with you about the size of art quilts in shows. When I saw the SAQA show in Coos Bay and also the Visions show, I was struck by the size and thought I will never get in because I don't generally work that large.

Jo said...

I love these pieces! and I prefer small over large almost every time - I wish the shows recognized that small pieces can sometimes take longer than the big ones...I took Phillipa Naylor's binding class in Houston and I was surprised to discover that she almost always cuts a 3.5" strip for binding and uses a 1/2" seam allowance...I'm using her strip measurements on my smaller pieces and adjusting my seam allowance if I want a smaller edge on the front - it makes the edge on the back broader, but it still looks better than my old bindings looked - I'm still practicing, but so far so good...

Susan Lenz said...

Thanks so much for your kind words about my work! It is such a treat to read your impressions of the Materials Hard and Soft Show. Like you, I often dislike glass or plexi-glass over fiber pieces. I've certainly thought about displaying my Decision Portrait Series without the framing....but....I've never figured out how to comply with the exhibition guidelines requiring 2D work to be WIRED. I haven't figured out how to create a sleeve on the reverse that will allow the work to hang flush with the wall and also have this required wire. Maybe I just haven't thought about it long enough....because I actually am a professional picture framer! I just "comply" because it is easy! Unframed, however, would mean much simpler shipping needs and costs! Also, the back (or third layer) is actually paper...a really interesting decorative paper called Thai Stucco that I buy in bulk. I love deckling the edge; it is easily stitched by hand or machine. Paper, however, technically requires glass or plexi. After I created about five of my Decision Portrait pieces I realized that they qualify as "art quilts" know....three layers and stitch. Yet, I'm very new to creating art quilts. Please, if you can solve how to get a wire on an art quilt without it showing or distorting the way the piece hangs, LET ME KNOW! I live in South Carolina....where all the other quilters (even the art quilters) work entirely in fabric, larger, and don't ordinarily enter juried shows! Since this series now numbers more than 23 pieces (and growing!), I'd love to stop framing them! Even at wholesale prices, this is a cost that is really adding up...not to mention how much space it all takes up in storage! Please excuse this long comment, I'm really just thankful that someone noticed my work and cared enough to share it on a blog with a nice link! Thanks you so much.....Oh, and I wanted to shamelessly promote the Decision Portrait Series as I'm still looking for "models" willing to share an important life decision. I've got a blog to explain the concept and document the work: If you or someone you know fits any of the descriptions on my "wish list" or has any other great idea for a new portrait, please let me know!
PS I, too, love smaller pieces. I think this size issue is what prevented me from exploring quilting years ago! I'm now creating some art quilts....using all fabric!...based on grave-rubbings. Also, I love your is the reason I felt I could ask about proper hanging devices for quilts. Your pieces are lovely and I feel sure you know how to best present them!

danielle embry said...

thanks for your compliment on my work at the MHS show!
your fiber pieces are absolutely lovely. I enjoy the daily "sketches". Fantastic idea to get the creativity flowing, with beautiful results. :)

Hannah C Beattie said...

Absolute favorites for me. Love them. do you get a pic....words.....pic....words.....pic....words? Love, hannah