Book Review :: Art Quilts Unfolding-50 Years of Innovation

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Art Quilts Unfolding-50 Years of Innovation

Over the last two years I have innumerable conversations with fellow quilters inquiring about a book they knew of that detailed a history of quilting beyond that which we are familiar in the Traditional and Modern realm.  I have wanted to know more about some of my quilting heroes including Nancy Crow, Eleanor McCain, Tom Harding, Michael James and others.  Though identified as a Modern Quilter I find the labels “traditional”, “modern” and “art” quilter a bit limiting and prefer to see all quilters regardless of label as part of a greater collective and movement.  Something that filled in the details of this aspect of our collective quilting history was desired.

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Fast forward to two months ago, I was asked to give my take on a new book coming out from SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) by Sandra Sider, Nancy Bavor, Lisa Ellis and Martha Sielman.  Little did I know that this book was so much of what I was asking for.

 

 

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Art Quilts Unfolding first off is substantial, comprising 350 pages of important history of the Art Quilt movement.  And the quilts . . . I have already spent hours, pouring over the beautiful pieces shown and the text that highlights the artists behind them.  They are stunning and there are so many pieces and artists that I was unfamiliar with.  I truly enjoy seeing the art form change in the chronological order that the quilts are laid out and find this book both the coffee table piece you can just turn the pages of to find inspiration and  the history book that fills in the details of an important quilting movement over the last 50 years.

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The book in addition, goes into different innovations and experimentation that have transformed the Art Quilt movement as well as delving into important publications, galleries and museum collections and collectors through the years.

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There also is a recognition of the Modern Quilt movement and it’s place in the collective history.  I was very excited to see some familiar quilters included in the book.  (Jacquie Gering, Luke Haynes, Chawne Kimber, Joe Cunningham, Ruth McDowell, Maria Shell, Victoria Findlay Wolfe and Natalya Aikens to name a few)

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This year I asked my husband only for books as gifts over the holidays.  Little did I know that I had already been given my favorite book of the year.  Thank you SAQA for such a wonderful publication!  I believe every quilter will find this book fills an important space in their library.

I have included links both to Amazon and to Schiffer Publishing in the text above and also below where the book can be purchased if you are interested.

Art Quilts Unfolding

Art Quilts Unfolding-50 Years of Innovation

Hillary

 

Southwest Modern Blog Hop

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(copyright Lucky Spool Media, LLC: 2017 Kurt Griesbach)

Hey friends!  I am so excited today to share a little about Kristi’s (@initialkstudio on Instagram, http://www.initialkstudio.com ) new book with you.  She had me at pretty pictures, travel info and minimalist modern designs.  The deal was cinched when I got to meet the author at the latest Quiltcon.  Kristi is sweet, humble and a hard worker.  I love all of the above.

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There are so many great designs to pick from in this book.  I settled finally on her Chimney Trail pattern and used some fabric I had indigo dyed last year.  I love the organic vibe the hand dyed fabric brings to the very geometric design and think it stays true to the Southwestern theme.

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I backed the quilt with white quilting cotton and machine quilted horizontal lines.  At the last minute I decided to add some randomly spaced vertical stitching with traditional sashiko thread and needle.  I ran out of time to hand quilt as densely as I would like but will probably add some more with time.  There were a few blocks leftover when I was done that I decided to stitch together and made up some organic pillows.  I can see this combo being well used in the summer weather.

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Kristi’s designs are beautiful to gaze upon and her instructions make them easy to make. I am excited to share a book with one blog reader.

To enter:
1. Follow me (@entropyalwayswins ) and @initialkstudio on instagram
2. You must comment on the blog post to be entered to win. Bonus entries occur for those who comment on my Instagram post.

3. The winner will be announced Monday, March 12th at 5 pm.

Be sure to catch all the amazing bloggers and amazing makes in the blog hop and join in for more chances to win the book.

Also note, that Kristi is having a Grand Prize Giveaway at the end of the blog hop courtesy of the following sponsors.

1. Signed copy of Southwest Modern by Lucky Spool

2. FQ bundle by Robert Kaufman

3. FQ bundle by Me & You Fabrics

4. Southwest Modern Thread Collection by Aurifil

 

Best Luck!

Hillary

Bee Sewcial Theme For October :: Unity

I am the Queen of our Improvisational Quilting Bee this month.  I have had a gazillion ideas but in the end this one feels right.  For this month I want to channel the idea of UNITY by making a quilt that uses long skinny blocks from each of my beemates.  See this tester block as a guide.

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I would like each of you to pick two solid fabric colors, one as the background base block and one as the “adornment” fabric.  I want you to pick a shade of pink or peach and a shade of blue or turquoise each in the medium value range.  Make the peach/pink pick your background fabric and your blue/turquoise pick your “adornment” color.  Please use only the two colors.

My vision is that there will be 10 long blocks all in a row “holding hands” by connecting mustard strips (as you see in the block).  Because I did not think far enough in advance and I want the mustard to match between blocks, I will sew them in BUT you can choose where and what angle the strip goes as long as it is somewhere in the middle third of the block.  Feel free to mark you block with a fabric marker to show me or leave it to me.  Either works.  I want the blocks to represent you somehow-the quilt will proverbially show the 10 of us standing together holding hands as long as you stick to your two colors, (one background and one adornment).

I need only one block from each of you and would like them between 5-7 inches wide and 40-50 inches long.

As always we would love others to join us.  Show us what you make with the theme by tagging on IG #inspiredbybeesewcial.

To Unity!

Hillary

Mary Schafer Exhibit at the Mercer Museum

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One of many things my friend Gwen Marston has taught me is that the quilting community at large is tremendously rich and it’s history important.  In that vein, I want to spread the word that now through August 13th at the Mercer Museum in Doylestown , Pennsylvania  there is a special special exhibit showing: “The Mary Schafer Collection: A Legacy of Quilt History”.

Gwen wrote not one, but two books about her mentor, Mary Schafer, American Quilt Maker and Mary Schafer and Her Quilts (in collaboration with Joe Cunningham).  Ms Schafer is considered an important force behind the resurgent interest of quiltmaking in the 1970s, an expert quilter, a detailed quilt historian and a mentor to many.

If you get the opportunity, don’t miss the exhibit of the work by this important person in textile art.

With permission of the museum I am happy to share a couple of Mary’s Pieces.

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Grapes and Vines : Mary Schafer c 1972, flushing, Genesee County, Michigan; Cotton with Polyester Batting, 88 x 98 ; Photo by KEVA reserved Michigan State University Museum

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Lee’s Rose and Buds: Mary Schafer c 1972, Flushing, Genesee County, Michigan; Cotton with Polyester Batting, 81 x 100; Photo by KEVA, all rights reserved Michigan State University Museum

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What a legacy we quilt makers have!

Hillary

Derivatively Yours

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There is a long tradition of learning by copying. My journey in creativity has been no different. I started quilting several years ago by making quilts by Kaffe Fasset and Malka Dubrowsky using their patterns and their fabrics to make almost identical replicas of their work. Attracted to the aesthetic of the Modern Art Movement and buoyed by my improved skills I soon started designing quilts using artwork seen on Pinterest as guides in my making.

Why is this germaine you ask? Last year I had two quilts accepted and displayed in the Modern Quilt Guild Exhibit at the Houston International Quilt Festival. It was the first Quilt show I submitted anything to. I was so naive to the whole process, as a quilt show virgin I think even Jacquie Gering weighed in on IG and helped direct me to a tutorial on making quilt sleeves. Of the two pieces that were accepted and shown, one piece I call “Life in the ER” was a fairly direct copy of a 1958 poster I reinterpreted in fabric. The other piece “5/325” was highly inspired by the work of Cecil Touchon but certainly not a direct copy of any of his work.

Fast Forward to this month when I have another piece hanging in the Modern Quilt Guild showcase in Houston. This piece, “Bloberella” is a work inspired by many but designed soley by me. In it I see the color inspiration of Gwen Marston, improv piecing techniques of Sherri Lynn Wood and needle turn appliqué learned from Carolyn Friedlander. It is unequivocally improved by the quilting art of Krista Withers.

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There has been significant unease over the Modern Quilt Guild’s recent blog post and discussion about “Derivative works”. As one who has been pretty derivative in the past I welcome the discussion. Clearly everything we make is to some extent “derivative” and I don’t envy the task force of the MQG who will need to parce out what is “too derivative” for consideration in future quilt shows.  For perspective, these copyright topics are not isolated to the MQG and have been evolving in the rest of the world too. I know in day job, I now need to get permission now to use photos by others for lectures. Speaking to my brother who is a photographer if he wants to gain profit from pictures that even display public art he has to get permission from the artist.

To be clear, I have not profited one cent from any of the derivative pieces I have made. In some ways though I have benefitted from standing on the shoulders of the design work of others though also likely have gained the disdain of purists.

This year of making has been one of significant evolution as I have directly steered away from trolling Pinterest and instead have been experimenting, designing, drawing, painting and sewing, sewing, sewing. Designing work from scratch is hard but oh so satisfying.

In all of this I am not suggesting that derivative work will ever go away (indeed there are several directly derivative pieces again on display this year at the International Quilt Festival from what I have seen of pictures). We all should be allowed to grow as quilters and artists and again the normal evolution of that process for most means being derivative. For me however it has become important to move forward and discover my own voice. I am finding that much more satisfying. In my opinion if I want quilting to be considered the art form it is, I owe it that.

Thanks for listening and keep making.

Hillary

Minimalism with Meaning :: The Story of Us

Last September I led our Bee Sewcial group.  My mission was to make two blocks in blacks and whites that said something personal about them.  I asked each member to embrace minimalism in the process.

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The stories they told me were rich and meaningful.  They described loss, triumph, compassion, family, recreation, personal identity.  Honestly I felt a little overwhelmed with the task of putting these meaningful pieces into something worthy of the sentiments.

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In the end, I decided to continue the minimalism theme and connected the blocks with extra negative space.  The words spoken when describing these blocks became the quilting motif in free motion quilted cursive writing (the first I have done this but certainly not the last).  The whole was surrounded with quilted borders and a gilded binding (purl soho mineral linen which sparkles when seen at an angle) to enhance the theme of story.  I want it to read like a well worn and treasured book.

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I hope that I have done these ladies justice in the making of our collective story.  Since it is so hard to read, I have included the quilted words for you below.

 

Minimalism with Meaning :: The Story of US
Positivity engages the negative space :: These are little womb blocks. The white ones represent pregnancy loss which is real but not talked about. The black ones are my obvious births, which are obvious and find it easy to see and talk about. The reason for the one with the white square with the black one is a permanent loss of being able to have a child from one side from the ectopic pregnancy I had in my tube. I love my two children with all my heart and grieve what could have been with my two lost babies :: Tall, strong, bend but not break ::When we are together, we are stronger :: My life can be best described as a wonderful mixture of family, work and my creative pursuits :: When using the right tools you can see things a lot more clearly. For me, it’s glasses (since I was 9) and calm. When life is chaotic for me, I get lost in the details. When I establish calm, I see better :: Frustration. From sun up to sundown I’m frustrated about any and everything and nothing at all :: Embrace: More expansive then a hug and open ended to be all inclusive :: Sometimes I feel like a square peg in a round hole :: A Quilter’s Table because that is me :: For me when it gets too active, too chaotic at some point I shut down and like a clean break BAM nothing gets done, nothing good happens, except I don’t get overwhelmed :: The top row signifies my family in height order and for now in this moment in time I am second in line. The shadow casted beneath our figures represents the amount of care required by each of us at this point in time. It is such a fleeting point of life but such an important one and I know I’ll never make anything as wonderful as my three children :: The pool is my favorite place to exercise so this is my interpretation of the swimming symbol :: Ascend as I am not one to begin anything by taking baby steps. If the stakes are high enough and you are determined success or fail you will take that leap of faith because it is your only option :: I am modern stepped in tradition :: My personal mantra is to look for the positive. light in the darkness as we need that positivity these days :: The balance of keeping focus looking ahead in life instead of behind but also being aware of your surroundings in a broader sense and how occasionally glancing back is a good and necessary thing :: A hint or clue a circle nature’s impossible shape standing out of the expected spot not perfect but industrial modern and minimalist :: In me you will find the place where science and art meet in the middle :: It’s about letting life’s annoyances roll off your back
Bee Sewcial 2015

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Hillary

Mini-Mes

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Last year I was challenged by Catherine (@knittingcatherine on IG) to a mini quilt swap using mostly repurposed or me-made materials.  In typical fashion, my mind came up with several ideas and I am sharing the fruit of 4 such finishes here (all of which let me “try on” different quilting styles I have been eager to test).  There are two other quilts made of my old tshirts that are part of this series but they and the concept of tshirt quilting are worthy of a post of their own.

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For my first quilt I grabbed some dress clothing in linens and silks that I never wear, chopped them up and reconstructed improv style.  They are much more attractive on a quilt then on me.  I also “tried on” some nontraditional hand quilting and made random “ant trails” along the piece.

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For my second quilt I wanted to play with Nicole Daksiewicz’s (Modernhandcraft) appliquéd hexie technique but decided to make my own spin with pieced hexies.  For this quilt I used some of my old scrubs, an orange shirt and a hospital sheet.

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After introducing a tertiary pattern and playing a bunch of designs I came up with the mini quilt below.  This is the one that ended up in Catherine’s hands and I call it “Colliding Migrations”

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For the last two quilts, I used some material I had hand painted over the summer and layered using a raw edge appliqué to show off unusual shapes.  These quilts have a lot of hidden meaning for me involving self reliance and the concept that things are rarely “Black or White”.

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Are these quilts my style?  YES as complex, varied and flawed as my style can be.  Are all of them masterpieces? Nope.  Did I learn from them? Yes, yes, yes!

Have a great weekend.

Hillary

Molly Made Me Do It

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Hi there!  Missed you my friends.  Clearly I have been hanging out on IG (you can find me there @entropyalwayswins) but life has recently gotten a bit busy for blogging somehow.  In any case I wanted to introduce you all to a new quilt I have been working on.

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About a year ago, I was in SF and noticed a building with wonderful long thin windows.  Though I didn’t take a picture, they were similar to these windows here I saw with Stephanie Ruyle and Christine Perrigo in Austin at Quiltcon 2014.

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Fast forward to the last couple months when I pulled out some shot cottons, woven striped fabric and left over bits of yellow fabric and started making some blocks with these windows as inspiration.  I made up a new (at least new to me) piecing technique that I call Tethered Y Seams and intentionally changed the grain orientation on the tops and sides so as to add visual interest.

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The blocks started to get especially fun when using the striped fabric and different angles, giving a fun 3 dimensional effect.

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As I was sharing these on Instagram, someone introduced me to The Chapel of Notre Dame de Haut in Ronchamp by architect Le Corbusier.  Proving that there are few truly new ideas, I had been unintentionally channeling the lovely windows from this amazing building.  And as I was sewing up the last seam on my quilt top, I started to realize how different this quilt top was for me.  SO MUCH PURPLE!  I never use purple.  Absorbed in my pondering,  the amazing quilts of Molly Upton featured at Quiltcon 2016 came to mind.  Somehow this quilt top (though clearly much more humble in execution) reminds me of her work in color and style.  We are subliminally absorbing so much I believe.

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And there it is, a quilt inspired by a local building, a crazy cool church in France and a gifted, now gone Modern Quilter : “Molly’s Windows”.  Now I’m hoping Molly will inspire me how to quilt it.

Hillary

Fly Merel Fly :: A Community Quilt for Merel van Looi

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Merel van Looi is a quilter and fabric shop owner from the Netherlands I have gotten to know online.  Unfortunately we did not connect at the last Quiltcon but the picture above on the right shows her working as a volunteer.  Tragically earlier this month, she suffered some bleeding around her spinal cord and for the moment has limited movement of her legs.  When I heard of her recent health crisis I was so saddened and reached out to her asking if she would be open to me organizing a community quilt project for her and she said YES!

I have often said that those are discouraged about the state of the world need to start sewing and become involved in their local and online sewing communities.  Sewists and quilters are some of the most generous and creative people I know.  This fact was made even more evident as I was plotting and planning this group project.  Krista Hennebury (Poppyprint) if you don’t already know is a master quilter and teacher, an all around wonderful person and friend.  Merel said online that Krista’s amazing “Blackbird Fly” quilt (an award winner at Quiltcon 2015) meant a lot to her as she hoped to “fly” again someday even if it was in a wheelchair.  I mentioned that I was going to plan a quilt for Merel and Krista brought up the work of Kajsa Wikman (home – Syko Design).  Kajsa’s style, raw edge appliqué with black thread at this point is fairly iconic and has been much copied and repeated.  She published the book Scandinavian Stitches which I quickly ordered online.  Krista contacted her friend and Kajsa not only gave me permission to use her sweet wonky birds as inspiration  (Merel in dutch means blackbird and her IG handle is @merel_birdblocks) but hopes to contribute a block too (she also knows Merel- I love how small this quilting community is and did I mention how generous quilters are?)  These sweet birds are so cheerful and I hope will encourage Merel in her recovery.

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Knowing I would need additional help I reached out to my friend Rachael Dorr (www.quiltingamemory.org) who agreed to long arm quilt this quilt I have planned.  Her work is AMAZING  and this quilt will be extra special because of it.

HOW CAN YOU HELPT?

I am looking for as many people who are interested to make 8 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch appliquéd blocks inspired by Kajsa’s birds and get them to me by May 23rd (that gives 8 weeks for blocks to be made and delivered to my doorstep).  My hope is to assemble them and get them then to Rachael to quilt by June 1st.

DETAILS and HINTS:

-8 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch blocks (be sure to leave a quarter inch appliqué free around all sides to allow for seam allowance) The blocks will be 8 x 8 inches finished.

-White fabric background (Kona white if possible)

-Cheery prints to be used for the appliquéd birds (this is a perfect project for scraps).  I would love to have birds that are simple and FLYING like Kajsa’s but I am also happy for you to make them your own, and even add encouraging stitched words for Merel if you like.  An example of Kajsa’s birds is below and they also can be found at her flickr page (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sykossa/4567924620/in/album-72157601967630500/)

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-Use black thread for your appliqué and shorten your stitch length

-Use fusible webbing like steam a seam to initially attach your appliqué bits before stitching

-if you feel compelled to use stabilizer on the back, please use tear away or cut away so that it is only around the appliqué

-so as to prevent stray black threads from appearing in the back, please tie off and bury loose ends in the appliqué (see pic)

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-I have a suspicion that there may be more then enough blocks for one quilt and I will not turn anyone down who is interested.  If that is the case I may be looking for someone to help me quilt up a second quilt (longarmers keep this project in mind)

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If you are interested in contributing, please email me at entropyalwayswinshg@gmail.com and I will send you my address and add you to the list.  Tag your pieces with the hashtag #flymerelfly on IG so everyone can see what you are up to

If you feel like you want to do more for this sweet girl, I am sure she would love cards or small gifts of encouragement.  The address at the rehab hospital she is at is:

Reade locatie Overtoom / Merel van Looi /113-B1 / Postbus 58271 /1040HG Amsterdam

Thank you so much everyone!!

“Fly Merel Fly”

 

Hillary

Layers :: Bee Sewcial Theme for March

As a novice photographer, I have discovered that some of my favorite captured images have both an interesting foreground and background.  Over the last several months I have been playing with the same concept in quilting and am anxious to see where other people take it.

In March I would like my Bee Mates (#beesewcial on IG) and any other interested folks (#inspiredbybeesewcial on IG) to make the equivalent of two 12×12 inch blocks (loosely defined as I am good with wonky shapes and strange sizes) exploring the idea of layers (components that appear to be in the foreground and components that appear to be in the background) in your block design using the colors of this peeling paint image by Richman as a guide.  There are several ways to do this and you are welcome to look at my feed on IG to see what I have done but honestly I am most interested to see where YOU take it.  Please bring at least two “layers” to your design but you may add more.  For consistency in a quilt, I ask that you use specific colors in the foreground and others in the background.  With the Kona Color Card as a guide and following the Richman picture:

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Background: (Turquoise/Blues) Cyan, Breakers, Capri, Robin Egg or similar with or without traces of black

Foreground/Middleground: (Oranges/Greys/White) School Bus, Carrot, Flame, Ash, Medium Grey or similar and traces of Papaya, White

If you choose a Medium layer/layers use the foreground colors leaving the blues and turquoise colors only for the “back”

Note:  If you have studied Albers, you will know that the cool blues will “want” to read background and the warm oranges foreground.  Color choices themselves help us define layers.  Because of this I am setting the color layer choices opposite of what they physically are on the picture.

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Feel Free to check my Pinterest Board for image ideas that inspire me:Pinterest: Discover and save creative ideas

Don’t forget to tag your makes with the #beesewcial tag for my bee mates and #inspiredbybeesewcial for anyone else who wants to play along

Hillary