Monday, February 4, 2013

Textile work -- Growing

When I was first attracted to quilts it was the patterns and colors that pulled me in. This all began for me in 1960. I made my first quilt top that year.

All of this I find completely beguiling. I have a romance with the whole thing: from the growers of the cotton down to the janitor in the stores where I buy my cloth, & everything in between.

After a while, in the 1980's, I wanted not only to make my own patterns, but to 'break my own pattern rules' too. I began working on a project not with a fixed idea of what I wanted something to look like, but with an idea that I wanted to play with.

Sometimes my projects departed entirely away from patterns altogether, & what a liberation.

 partial image-- Seven Suits on a Green Field

 detail- Summer in Sweden

 detail- Quilt for Baby Max

Red Sticks Walking

These are all from the last 10 or so years. Some are more pattern-y than others.

So my friend Sal suggested that I might start trying incorporating a sense of depth in my imagery.

I went mentally/psychologically into reverse. 
I wrote her:
I have been thinking about that 'depth-thought' quite a bit.
What I have been saYING TO MY INNER SELF IS, YOU KNOW, DApHNE, I REALLY LIKE TWO DIMENSIONAL WORK. [oops, caps]. That was what led me into quilting in the 1st place.
So I don't have a big investment/value on 3-D.
What a thought that I had never thunk before.
Like never.
How amazing a realization is that?

In truth, I was terrified of the thought. I had no idea how to 'do depth', & I had limitless ideas about what I was already doing. Why change? And furthermore Sal could talk cogently about how you create the illusion of depth & I would go further into my fearfulness. I could hardly take in her words!! Wowzer.

My next chapter. I looked at the two books I had just gotten & see if I could see anything that interested me in the zone that Sal was encouraging me in. Masters of Art Quilts Vol. 1 & 2.

I've combed through quilt books for many different reasons, but this was a new one. Book marks went in. I was shocked again at how little I cared about "pictorial quilts". They have depth, all right, but  I am more interested in abstraction than representational work.
I was also shocked at how many fabric artists/quilters have gone into representational work-- portraits, florals, scenery, political protests, & so on. And overall there is huge variety of techniques, styles, & so on & on& on.

Ok, I thought, now I wonder if I look at the photos I have of my earlier work if I have any examples of depth that I might have done 'by mistake'. Well, I had!

Please forgive photography here. These are photos of photos, & I had lighting problems!

New Invades Old -- black & white snakes go over leaves & weave through framing borders.

Rose Lattice -- rosy stripes on top of black & blue stripes

Butterscotch Mountains (detail) -- mountains on top of the striped background blocks

Miro Moves -- simple placement of cloth over larger background cloth & color choices for background

Windows on Fall-- the dark window panes and the less dark frames create depth

 Spirit of Fall-- it's the presence of the black that does it, but only almost does it.

Double X Snow Blanket-- This one is pretty rule-bound as a pattern, but the 'snow' is in front of everything else.

Well, this has been quite the little journey for the last week. 
Thanks, Sal.
Stay tuned, dear readers.
That's it for now.

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