Since at most quilt related events you might as well convert the men’s room to an extra ladies’ room, I was excited to learn about another male quilter – Kent Williams. And he’s an art quilter, too. Now, I can count the number of male quilters I know of on the fingers of one hand – John Flynn, Ricky Tims, and Michael James – and still have some digits left. I just realized that all compose abstract works, though Ricky Tims has tried his hand (or needle) at many different types of quilting.
And Kent Williams is no exception to my male=abstract work generalization. Here’s what Mr. Williams says about his inspiration. “Most of the time, I’m pursuing some kind of patterning idea, repeating elements while varying them slightly to create large, complex compositions. As a structuring device, I like to use algorithm-like operations that send sets of fabrics past one another, forming patterns that owe something to both choice and chance.” He’s not kidding about that math stuff. The quilt below is called “Sine Me Up.”
Apparently he eschews triangles, but what he does with slender bars of fabric works fine without 45 degree angles. In the following piece he made for a church, called “Lift Your Voices,” I love his use of the space between each of the 12 sections.
Here’s a picture of Kent at work, laying out a few thousand small pieces of fabric. To quote from his blog, “My quilts would be pretty easy to draw, especially with a computer, but I don’t use a computer to draw them first. Instead, I come up with an idea I want to pursue, then I choose a set of fabrics, then I cut the fabrics, then I start laying out the pieces. I never quite know what’s going to appear down there on the floor; and … I often have to climb up on a ladder to see what I’ve done.” Hmmm, I can see his quilt workshop supply list – fabric, rotary cutter, sewing machine, stepladder…..
And I think Kent’s intention for his work sums up art quilts well, “My quilts are designed as works of art. They’re meant to be hung on a wall, pored over, reflected upon.” They just happen to use fabric as their medium.