Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Puppy news!

Nothing to do with quilting but then I DO have other interests in my life (oh really???!!!). We have been on a waiting list for months for a Large Munsterlander puppy - this is a Hunt, Point, Retrieve breed, slightly larger than a flat-coated retriever but with the colouring of a spaniel - ie black and white. Well we heard a few weeks ago that the pups were born and this morning, I received my first picture! And they are sooooo cute! They are around a 5 hour drive away and we hope to go and visit the weekend after next, though we will have to wait a couple more weeks before going back to bring him home. He will be named 'Sirius the Dog Star' - Sirius for short. My children are thrilled as Sirius is also a character in Harry Potter.

Back to quilting, a reminder about my Talk at the Meeting House in Ilminster this Sunday at 3pm. Tickets are £2.50 and include a drink. Do please come if you can and support this fantastic venue.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Misty Fuse, Brian Clarke and Quilts as Art!

I'm currently working on a  commissioned landscape wall hanging and am using Misty Fuse for the applique - fabulous stuff! I am pressing it onto fabric scraps and then freehand cutting the shapes I need. So far so good and I can recommend it. The piece will then be thread painted and trial runs indicate that it quilts through almost as if it wasn't there, unlike other fusible products which can be stiff and affect the stitch quality. I'm nearly done with the applique and then I can get to the thread painting which for me is the fun part!

Yesterday evening I watched a documentary about the Lancashire artist, Brian Clarke. What an inspiration! He paints but his most beautiful work (to me) are his stained glass pieces. I love stained glass anyway, I think because the designs translate so well into fabric so I see a comparison with my work. The pieces of coloured glass equate to the fabric pieces and the leading is the seams.  Some of his work moved me to tears and he spoke with such honesty, insight and conviction on what it means to be an artist, about remaining true to yourself and your personal 'absolute' - ie not allowing convention, opinions or clients (!) to dilute your vision. He also spoke about the art of stained glass, how it is of course predominantly linked with the church and how he has worked to move it into secular areas and to use the art in new and exciting ways to keep it alive and give it a relevance for the modern world. I saw parallels here with quilting...

At an exhibtion of art quilts I visited recently - the work of Alicia Merrett who creates wonderful, brightly covered graphic art quilts - I overheard two, well, may I call them mature ladies discussing the pieces and contemplating how on Earth they would look on a bed! This highlighted for me a hurdle that art quilters have to overcome - that a 'quilt' in the public consciousness is so associated with 'bed covering' that we have to begin by convincing the viewer that it can be solely an art piece, that it doesn't have to have a practical function. When looking at a painting, people only consider it's artistic merits - no one expects it to have a 'use' beyond decoration. This is one of the challenges of the medium. Luckily I relish a challenge! And I must say that I also like the 'shock factor' that quilting offers - the opportunity it offers to change people's perceptions as to what a quilt is. I think this will be the theme for my talk at the Meeting House next week...

Monday, 17 October 2011

Welcome to my new blog!

Hello everyone. After a loooong time of good intention, I've finally got around to creating a blog!
Perhaps the final push was that yesterday, I hosted a preview of a month-long exhibition of my work at The Art Centre at the Meeting House in Ilminster, Somerset. It was wonderful to see the greatest part of my work in one place and displayed in this beautiful historic building. Many friends and neighbours came along to support me, for which I am very grateful. I am quite good at exhuding an impression of supreme self-confidence while inside I am a quivering wreck, so the friendly, smiling faces all around me meant a lot. It was so wonderful to have such a positive reaction to my work - not only to my face (which may be only out of politeness!) but also overheard by others and reported back to me. My partner Hans was, as always, my rock and talked to all the people that I neglected and my children behaved impeccably. My 7 year old daughter Lily was somewhat confused as she was expecting an 'expedition' but I think she got over the disappointment!

I will be popping in and out throughout the month and will be giving a talk on my pet subject - Quilting as Art - on Sunday 30th October at 3pm. This is a ticketed event but at £2.50 with a drink thrown in, even if I'm rubbish, it must be worth it! The proceeds will go to the wonderful Art Centre which is a fabulous local resource for artists and visitors alike and is run by volunteers who do a sterling job - so I have no qualms about using my first ever blog post as a bit of PR! My exhibition is in the Main Gallery and runs until 12th November 2011.