Late in 2018 I received an invitation from Gael, the owner of Blue Bar Quilts in Middleton, Wisconsin, to display my art quilts in a solo exhibit. My response, after overcoming the shock, was absolutely! September of this year was set aside for my event. Yesterday the two of us sorted through, organized and put on display 64 of my art pieces. The experience was exhilarating!
I am overjoyed to proudly announce the official opening of my solo art exhibit titled Transformation. The event will run from September 1, 2019, until September 30, 2019. A reception with refreshments will be held on Saturday, September 14, 2019, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. Please stop by on the 14th to say hello and share in my excitement. I would love to see you. If you are able to stop by during the exhibit, please don’t forget to sign my guest book and leave a few comments.
Before departing I must say thank you to the individuals that have had an impact on my art. First on my list is Gael from Blue Bar Quilts. Thank you Gael for giving me this awesome opportunity! Your interest in my art has brought me so much joy! Next I would like to extend appreciation to the individuals that have had a profound impact on my journey. They are Rayna Gillman, Lisa Binkley, Judy Coates Perez, Pam Beal, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, Susan Carlson, Cindy Grisdela, Heidi Parkes, and Maday Delgado. Your amazing talent has helped me to expand my horizons and become the artist I am today. The last and most important person is my husband Gary. Without his unconditional encouragement and financial backing I never would have had this opportunity.
Now, make plans to visit Blue Bar Quilts some time between September 1 – September 30, 2019, to observe my solo art show and of course do a little shopping.
Before heading to Woodland Ridge for Pam Beal’s class, I stopped in Menomonie at the cutest little fabric shop called Thread Lab. The art piece I will share today incorporates three of the fabrics purchased during my shopping spree.
Those that read and write the English language are familiar with the letter “L”. The “L” begins with a downward swipe of the pen, then continues on toward the right. These two lines form a ninety degree angle.
The English language is read from top to bottom and left to right. This top to bottom, left to right flow is replicated in the letter “L”. When viewing art our eye travels along the same path.
If you recall, I mentioned earlier one of the traits Pam said was important for a successful art piece. The term I am referring to is “L” Shape Balance. If my quilt were to achieve “L” Shape Balance then my eye would begin in the top left corner and proceed across and down the surface.
I believe my mini art piece achieves that balance. The blue fabric, situated to the left of the center, echoes the downward movement of a pen creating the first part of an “L”. The grey fabric directly below can be identified with the left to right swipe.
Did I loose you?
In other words, my eye first travels from top to bottom down the surface of the blue fabric. Next it makes a right angle and follows along the grey strip to the outer right edge.
Is that better?
X’s and O’s
X’s and O’s are often used to signify a hug and a kiss when writing sentiments in, say for instance—a card. I’ve titled today’s art piece X’s and O’s not because I’m sending you a kiss or a hug. Instead I’ve chosen this reference because of the fabrics I used to create it.
If you look closely in the body of my piece you will see skinny strips of fabric accentuated by the letter “X”. You will also notice a blue fabric decorated with black dots. The “X’s” and dots, or “O’s” were the inspiration for my quilt’s name.
Let’s look at the remaining features of my art piece. This small art quilt was made using three different colors—black, grey and blue. The
blue fabric with the black dots;
the grey and black fabric with the x’s; and
the darker grey and black near the bottom
were purchased during my fabric shopping trip. The balance of the other fabrics were harvested from my stash.
Years and years ago I tried mastering the art of hand quilting. After several attempts I threw in the towel and turned to machine quilting. Hand quilting is Pam’s preferred method. After seeing Pam’s masterpieces and how lovely they looked with her stitching I decided to give it another try.
I chose three thread colors for my stitching.
The grey fabrics were accented with grey thread.
Black thread was my obvious choice for the two black border pieces.
In the remaining sections I used a soft blue.
After achieving a workable rhythm I actually grew to appreciate hand quilting. The somewhat uneven appearance of my stitches gives my small project a more rustic texture.
Strategically placed stray stitches along with random beading are Pam’s go-to-method for adding elements of surprise. Using this for my inspiration I added a few stray stitches along with four French knots in the quilt’s right, grey panel. These two elements add a little sparkle.
The Little Things
Now that we have examined the obvious details let’s take one last look at the unmentioned features.
X’s and O’s measures 14” L x 8 5/8“ w.
Surrounding my quilt is a binding made from black fabric.
In between the quilt sandwich is a layer of Warm & Natural batting.
The back is protected by a layer of black fabric.
A hanging sleeve and label have been attached as well.
That’s A Wrap
With so much to share, this has been a very long post. I think you would agree though that it was well worth the read.
Thank you so much for sticking with me. Let’s do this again!
The older I get the stronger my desire to explore and experience the many forms of art. I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunity to attend numerous classes—each one exposing me to techniques or philosophies I have not tried.
One of the classes I attended was Pam Beal’s Minimalist Design, Maximum Impact. If you click on the link attached to the class name you will be taken to the blog post she shared once our class was complete. Within that post is numerous photos of her own work as well as the work of her students. Photos # 7, 8 and 10 show a few of my projects. Photo # 8 is the subject of today’s story.
1973 was the year I graduated from high school. My graduating class contained 400+ students—way too many to remember them all by name.
Our official school colors were cardinal and grey. Often times they were referred to as red and grey by our cheerleaders. I can still recall one of the chants—
Red and grey,
red and grey,
The Name Is…
Recently I put finishing touches on a small art quilt started while attending Pam Beal’s class.
After adding the last detail I always give my art quilts a name. Sometimes the process turns very slowly—in this instance it was quick and painless.
My husband is very familiar with my class colors and the year of my graduation. When I proudly shared my finished piece he instantly named the quilt
in honor of my high school graduation and my class colors.
Pam Beal’s quilts primarily contain straight line piecing. On occasion she adds an element of surprise through circles or curved pieces.
Following in Pam’s footsteps, 1973 was assembled with geometric, straight-line shapes. Added for pizazz were two gently curved strips—one each in the upper and lower quadrants.
These wavy lines add interest and movement by drawing your eye from one side to the other. Pam emphasized that a well-balanced piece will
keep your eye moving.
One way of providing movement is to
bring your elements (i.e. colors, piecing, quilting) off the page,
or in this case, off the mini quilt.
I think 1973 has achieved that feature through the addition of those strips.
Since the theme of the class was minimalism I kept my color pallet simple. Chosen were grey, both light and dark; fuchsia; white and black. The grey tones are not part of my normal color family. In fact, grey is one of my least favorite colors. Given that this class was supposed to help me reach outside my comfort zone I made the decision to challenge my norms by adding colors unusual to me.
Minimalist Design, Maximum Impact taught me the qualities of a well-balanced art piece. Learning these traits opened my eyes to new opportunities to analyze my own work. These revelations, in essence, swung open another door.
Just as with Blue Doorthis mini art piece also reflects the imagery of a doorway.
The doorway was assembled using strategically placed rectangles of color.
Standing outside looking in you will notice a window made from fuchsia cotton fabric.
Radiating from the window is additional rectangular shapes fashioned from a soft grey, more fuchsia and white. These added fuchsia and white fabrics give the door interest.
Emphasizing the image of a door knob is the oversized silver snap.
Strips of fuchsia colored cotton lead your eye to the outer right edge of my piece. By leading your eye in that direction I am enticing you to reach for and turn the door knob.
To add even more interest and encouragement of motion I added hand quilting. The stitched lines in and around the door bring your focus to the opportunity for discovery. An open door can lead to new and exciting experiences.
The grey stitches reaching from the left edge outward to the right give my piece even more movement. A movement that should also tease you to open wide the door.
The Final Details
Measures: 11 7/8” L x 9 3/8” W
It Contains: Cotton fabrics
Is bound and backed with: Black fabric
Is sandwiched with: Warm & Natural Batting
This was the second of many art quilts to develop during the Minimalist Design, Maximum Impact class. I will continue to reveal the other ones in future posts.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading about and seeing my latest art piece. Perhaps the tips shared will help you when analyzing your own works of art.
If there were aspects of my quilt or techniques that you found interesting, please share those thoughts. I learn so much from your comments.
Thank you for visiting! I look forward to our next opportunity.
Opening oneself up to new ideas can be scary and exciting at the same time.
Pam’s class stretched me in ways that made me feel uncomfortable. She nudged me to think outside the box, use unconventional materials and incorporate blank or negative space.
The small expressions of art that developed from those trying moments will be the focus of my attention over the next several postings.
The first to take shape was Blue Door.
Near the center is a stitched together grouping of blue and teal strips. The denim colored pieces were the inspiration for my small quilt’s name. They are the doorway to my new adventure.
By attending this class I was in essence opening a new door.
A door that led me into a hallway filled with apprehension, inspiration and intrigue.
How fitting to name the first minimalist art quilt to evolve from Pam’s class
A Closer Look
Let’s take an even closer look.
Immediately surrounding the door are two thin strips of a soft gray fabric. Those slivers of light surrounding the door represent the opportunities just waiting to burst through and enlighten my exploration.
Next to the rays of light are black fabric. The black symbolizes the apprehension I often feel before I open new doors. As my heart beats faster and my muscles begin to tighten I feel as if I’m surrounded by darkness…unable to focus.
In the lower right corner is a small green rectangle. This added pop of color is the handle to my door.
Stitched on top of the green fabric is an iridescent bead. The bead, with its shiny facade, beckons me to open the door.
I reach for the door and turn the knob. As the door creaks open the fog or darkness begins to fade and is replaced by an even brighter light. The bright light that expands my way of thinking is represented by the two larger strips of the same soft gray fabric.
Filtering through the bright light are the “aha” moments when the uncertainty begins to unravel. Understanding new concepts is not something that happens all at once. The learning comes slowly. Those glimmers or breakthroughs are identified by the blue and teal print fabrics.
Throughout the entire miniature art quilt you will see rows of carefully placed hand stitching. The thread colors selected were meant to quietly compliment the fabrics without drawing unnecessary attention.
Blue Door, AP # 66 measures 12” long and 8 3/4” wide. A single layer of cotton batting secretly rests between the quilt top and the black cotton backing. A sleeve for hanging and a label were added to the back.
The process of creating my small art quilt took me on a journey that opened opportunities for greater growth in my exploration of the arts. I’m very pleased with its outcome.
Your Reaction Please!
Now that you have met Blue Door what are your thoughts?