The Past Is Still Relevant

As a comment on my post about painting fabric reminded me, lots of the tools used in art quilts have been around for a while. In fact, art quilts have been around for decades, and much excellent work done more than ten years ago seems to get overlooked now.

I was reintroduced to some older work in a book called Quilting Masterclass by Katharine Guerrier, published in 2000. A longtime fellow guild member gave this to me, with the notion that I was one of the few quilters she knew who might appreciate it.

Quilting Masterclass 2000Subtitled Inspirations and Techniques From The Experts, this book features one work each by 50 contemporary quilters, with discussions of techniques used in each quilt.

Here are the pieces that appealed to me especially.

30 Circles by Carol Schepps

30 Circles by Carol Schepps

All those randomly cut circles are fused, then quilted. Sound familiar?

Bird Study #4 by Joan Colvin

Bird Study #4 by Joan Colvin

The nest is collaged with all sorts of fibers. The rock fabrics were folded and pressed to suggest fissures.

Ginkgo Biloba by Ruth McDowell

Ginkgo Biloba by Ruth McDowell

Ruth makes full sized templates and stitches the seams together. I believe she uses only commercial fabric.

Veiled by Pam Winsen

Veiled by Pam Winsen

The artist made a collage from a picture of her mother’s wedding dress and photo transferred the collage onto tea dyed silk georgette. The pleats, folds, and embroidery enhance the fragile quality. Again, photo transfer techniques are still being used, though usually with more photo editing, thanks to wider availability of  photo editing software home versions.

Umbrella Thorn Tree by Maurine Noble

Umbrella Thorn Tree by Maurine Noble

This textile landscape painting uses a frame on three sides to define and extend the landscape into the distance.

Whirligig by Jane Lloyd

Whirligig by Jane Lloyd

I’m including this (poorly photographed by me) piece because its wedge piecing approach is used by some modern quilters, such as Sherri Lynn Wood. A work by her is below. Created fabric, check; random curved strips, check; irregular edges, check.

a2-daintytime-quilts-1 Sherri Lynn WoodI know many of the artists featured in Guerrier’s book still create. When I looked them up I found some continue to work in the same style while others have developed different approaches. And some, like Maurine Noble, are no longer with us.

Joan Colvin’s work continues to focus on nature. I can’t find any reliable information about Pam Winsen, who may now be a painter. Jane Lloyd has a piece in the 2015 Quilt National show. Carol Schepps still does circles, but works in many other series as well. And Ruth McDowell continues to use and teach her piecing technique, and use only commercial fabrics.

So, if you’re stuck for inspiration do yourself a favor and look to the past for some new ideas and approaches.

9 Comments

Filed under Art quilts, Books, Commentary

9 responses to “The Past Is Still Relevant

  1. I adore this book too. I refer to it frequently, mainly as eye candy but I always learn something from it.

    The late Joan Colvin remains my favourite quilt artist. I would have loved to have been able to take classes with her, but unfortunately it was not to be.

  2. It is neat to see the photos and learn about that book. Thanks for getting me thinking again!

  3. I have this book, too. It’s one of those I use to help understand design principles — how space and line and color and value are used to create an impact. There are several I like, including Period Flair on p. 47, Whirligig on p. 53, Pinwheel Maze on p. 19, and Umbrella Thorn Tree, p. 85. The ones I like less tend to be ones with more muted colors AND less value contrast, though I do enjoy the Regeneration, Mount St. Helens on p. 77.

  4. Everything new is old again? There’s so much inspiration available, in so many places!

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