Minutes from June 15th Meeting
Thanks to Kelly Lorraine for the minutes of the June meeting!
On Saturday, June 15, 2019, we met at Close to Home in Orange. We had 18 members in attendance. It was a small but boisterous group. We are so grateful to Close to Home for hosting us!
We started off strong, going straight to our speaker, Martha Sielman. In addition to being SAQA’s executive director since 2004, she is also a professional artist, author, lecturer, curator, juror, and art administrator - all while raising five children!
Recognizing that art quilts were a predecessor to the Modern Quilt Movement, the Modern Quilt Guild requested that Martha write a history of the art quilt. As the art quilt is not a “dead” history but an ongoing movement and story, she co-wrote and recently published Arts Quilts Unfolding. This talk, “Layered & Stitched: The Art Quilt Movement”, was a brief overview of that unfolding.
The end of the 1950s was likely when the first quilt was created for the purpose of making art (rather than an artwork that was created as a decorative bed covering).
Examples from this time were: Two Pods by Jean Ray Laury which was very indicative of the style of this era; Girl Combing Her Hair by Leslie Gabrielse; Bridget Quilt by Therese May.
Most of these pieces are large, as these early works were typically made by people who were used to constructing bedquilts.
In 1971, the Whitney Museum of American Art held “Abstract Design in American Quilts” featuring primarily Amish quilts. This was the first time the quilts were taken off the bed and hung on the walls, and the designs very much echoed what was happening in contemporary painting. This event was extremely influential in opening people’s eyes to what art quilts could be and how they could be elevated.
Examples from this time include: Watchtower by Molly Upton; Sailing by Ulva Ugerup; Where Dreams are Born by Joan Schulze; Nude on a Chair by Deborah Ann; Red Rain #2 by Nancy Erickson.
At the time, pieces utilized very basic quilting, such as grids and fill patterns. What has changed over time is what standards are for appropriate quilting.
In 1979, the first Quilt National exhibition was held. (It is worth noting that the 2019 Quilt National exhibition was very heavily abstract.) Over time, we have evolved to primarily three big art quilt competitions: Quilt National, Quilt Visions, and Art Quilt Elements. All three run every other year.
Examples of this time: Cherokee Trail of Tears by Chris Wolf Edmonds; Steens’ Quilt by Charlotte Yde; March Study by Nancy Crow. Nancy was pivotal to the art quilt movement, both because she is so prolific, but in fact, truly because she has taught and influenced so many other art quilters. Another artist of similar note is Michael James (with a piece from this era, Moonshadow).
In the 80s, we start seeing optical illusions. Quilts at this time were still very large.
Examples include: Boxed Illusion by Jean Ray Laury; Robe of the Dragon Rider by Yvonne Porcella, who transitioned from wearables to art; Flowerseed Farm by Holley Junker, the first piece purchased by Marvin Fletcher for his wife, initiating an important art quilt collection, now containing close to 100 pieces; Angel by Deidre Scherer is layered and stitched (but without batting); Framed Improvisational Block by Rosie Lee Tompkins is an example of improvisational piecing, which influenced Nancy Crow at this time; Swimmers by Tim Harding uses layering and slashing silk; Red Zinger by Michael James shows how quilts start breaking out of the rectangular shape; Clear Palisades by Linda MacDonald and Vision of the World by Irene MacWilliam; 7-up Quilt by Ross Palmer Beecher shows a new use of unusual materials;
Stairway to the Stars by Sonya Lee Barrington; Poppies by Ruth McDowell; Corona #2: Solar Eclipse by Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry is the first time that a machine quilted art piece won a major award (previously only hand quilted!).
1989 was the FOUNDING OF SAQA! Yvonne Porcella was showing at a gallery who told her that she needed a professional organization, to help buoy her work and to help them be able to explain it.
Examples from this era: High Tech Tucks #35 by Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry uses two different colors, seamed and pieced together like piping, then twisted, so that it shows different colors from different viewing directions. The artist frequently explores different ideas and techniques like this, and then teaches it to others; Rio Hondo by Katie Pasquini Masopust. Similarly, Katie develops something, makes several pieces, writes a book, teaches it until she gets bored, then tries something new and repeats the process.
Amigos Muertos by Jonathan Shannon - this piece was banned from AQS in Paducah bc people might be upset by skeletons and death and AIDS, starting great conversation about censorship and opening up what an art quilt can be about; Aged: Covered by WIsdom by Kyoung Ae Cho, made with thin pieces of wood; Willow by Jane Sassaman was called one of the hundred best quilts of the previous century; An Orange for Lunch by Barbara Barrick McKie shows early work using photo transfer and applique; Dashboard Saints: In Memory of St. Christopher by Terrie Hancock Mangat; Alphabet by M Joan Lintault; Money for Nothing by John Lefelholcz is made out of sugar packets sandwiched between netting, with flies on the surface, then painted; Hall of Memory #10: Guard Bear by Nancy Erickson.
Recent works to note: Constructions #45 by Nancy Crow uses improvisational cutting; Triptych: A Hill, A Lake; An Island, A Pond; A Lake, A Bowl by Dorothy Caldwell shows the start of the movement toward Slow Quilting; Precious Water by Hollis Chatelain is the first time a painted quilt won a major award in Houston. As a painted whole cloth - not pieced or appliqued! - it caused enough controversy that the Houston Chronicle printed its picture above the fold; Theatre by Izabella Baykova; Angels of Wrath by Ulva Ugerup is whole cloth, featuring all embroidery and embellishments; Slave Ship Henrietta Marie by Michael Cummings explores his heritage; Ice Crack 2 by Clare Plug was born of a residency in Antarctica; A Time to Dance, September 9, 2008 by Karin Franzen features multiple layers that wave in the wind;
Light and Dark, 1-6 by Chiaki Dosho; Mohammed Sa’ad by Jennifer Bowker; No Room at the Table by Annie Helmericks-Louder; Bridge Motel by Lisa Kijak uses raw edge applique only. Now we are seeing many smaller works; Geometric by Fumiko Nakayama uses reverse applique; Box of Delights by Kate Crossley shows how artists are now exploring how to take the quilt off the wall and into sculpture; American Still Life: Weight of the Nation by the Pixeladies uses headlines from newspapers and other media; March by Eszter Bornemisza exemplifies a newer trend of doing installation work; Wyest (Volcano IV) by Jenny Hearn and 20 and Odd by Carolyn Crump also show the rise of three-dimensional works; Round and Round It Goes by Paula Kovarik; American Pie: 6 of Potholders (coins) in the Kitchen Tarot by Susan Shie shows how art quilts are now social, political, and environmental commentary; When Ponies Dream by Susan Else; Double-Edge Love by Victoria Findlay Wolfe is an example of how modern quilting has exploded in the last decade; disruption by Deidre Adams is experimenting with printed paper instead of batting, then cutting part of the top layers; Regeneration by Betty Busby, who is one of the big art quilt influencers right now; Cherry Blossoms and Moon by Noriko Endo;
Color Story: Roofline by Erin Wilson is completely abstract; Home is Where the Army Sends Us by Kristen LaFlamme; Urban Cathedral by Hope Wilmarth uses gradation to create movement;
Indigo Ice by Judith Content; Leonard by Mary Pal uses layers of cheesecloth; A is for Art by Shannon Conley.
Thank you, Martha, for an insightful talk, as well as your excellent work with SAQA.
Fairfield County Local Connection: Just had a fantastic show at the Easton Public Library. Their next meeting is July 10 at Christina Blais’ house.
Lynne Allen and Christina Blais are looking to have a SAQA-CT Open Studios Tour! If you have questions/ideas/want to help, contact Christina.
If anyone is interested in being a newsletter publisher, let Jan know.
Jan Doyle is happy to announce that she just signed a contract to rent a studio space in Branford!
Lisa Walton (SAQA’s current president) will be visiting CT! There will be a potluck open reception at Lynne Allen’s house in Durham on Saturday, July 13. If interested, please RSVP to Lynne (firstname.lastname@example.org).
September’s meeting date and location are still to be determined.
Maureen Lopes and Kathy Bagioni spoke about Local Color :
The main exhibition will be Rail, Roads, and Rivers and the prospectus can be found on the blog. Information about the non-juried portion of the exhibition, Trove of Twelves, can be found on the blog, as well.
Show and Tell:
Margaret Phillips got into Quilt National this year! Then she broke her leg and couldn’t work on her sewing machine so she hand-carved a small printing block and made an abundance of smaller versions of her airplane quilt, which she showed to us.
Mayann Weinberg made a kitchen chair “seatbelt”. She also took her “dream class” w Anne Hesse last year - and made terrific fiber dolls she showed to us.
Carol Vinick got into the SAQA show, Forced to Flee and traveled to the opening in Florida. As one of the artists in attendance, she (and Martha) were interviewed for the video - keep an eye out for it! Also, Carol sold NINE pieces this year! She showed off one of her 12x12 birds, she was an Artisan of the Month in July, and she showed us her portrait of Bubbie Gross (Rebecca Feldman Gross) and portrait of 98yo Margaret Day, who lives in Ireland.
Christina Blais showed us her van Gogh dog, which was a finalist in the Cherrywood fabric challenge. After it came back from touring the world in that exhibition, she entered it in New Canaan - and it won Best in Show!!
Kathy Bagioni showed us her piece, “Gyre” that was juried into the SAQA show, Upcycle!. She utilized paper, plastics, Ikea curtain, and other materials - paper was ironed onto lightweight interfacing and the entire piece was sealed with gel medium over top. She is now working on a series of 12x12s using similar methods.
Lin Olmo showed us a piece “Table for Three” that was in the Fairfield Fiber exhibition, “Garden Party”, and then a work in progress of the same three ladies at the beach.
Laura Lugo showed us her piece from the same “Garden Party” show - the fun is in the embellishment!
Susan Ober showed off her octopus and mermaid piece, “Come Swim with Us” that started with some batik bits at last year’s retreat. She also presented some butterflies she had hand-painted.
Eileen is a first timer to our SAQA regional meeting! She showed us a piece with a series of her initials from “No Rules, No Rulers” group, and a sample of the lingerie bag that she makes for anyone who gets married. She also showed a piece she made that functions as a sampler of a variety of embellishments she uses, and a teaching sampler.
Barbara Dieroff showed us her Garden Party submission, which utilized free motion quilting and template quilting over her own ice-dyed fabric. (She mounted and backed it with foamcore and then signed it on the back.) She is currently working on a new series, “Mother of Pearl”, and showed us some pieces using ruler quilting templates, that are building up to this new series.