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...

1 comment:

  1. I love being able to keep up with what you are doing. I loved the pictures of your exhibit. Hope to see more along the way!