Artist As Quiltmaker Show

Last weekend I met up with other Ohio SAQA members in Oberlin, Ohio, to see Artist as Quiltmaker XVIII.  The show, hosted every two years by the Firelands Association for the Visual Arts (FAVA,) presented a good overview of styles in art quilting.

FAVA’s banner promises it’s not your grandmother’s quilt show and the show delivers. Some of the pieces are exquisitely crafted and would please the most demanding of show judges. Others are more, er, experimental, in nature.

I noticed more use of digital images this year, usually highly edited and blended seamlessly with other elements.

Jill Kerttula’s “Boundless” combines an edited digital photo with various commercial fabrics, couching, slashing, and hand and machine quilting.

Anna Chupa’s “Pieces Petals Leaves and Eaves: Bellevue Park” blends layers of digital house photos with kaleidoscope like repeating images of some architectural features like windows. You could take it as a fireworks display above rows of houses.

Wen Redmond’s “Cormorant’s Perch” melds different interpretations of one photo with different fabrics.

Margaret Abramshe’s “Nan” is based on a photo of the artist’s mother taken in the late 1950s-early 1960s. After manipulation, the photo was digitally printed on whole cloth and painted with various media.

There were several abstract pieces, such as Gerry Spilka’s “Red Jive,” one of the larger pieces at 91 by 49 inches.

I don’t know whether to consider Liz Kuny’s “Troublemaker” as abstract or as an errant strip falling off an ironing board or shelf. As always, Kuny’s workmanship is impeccable.

“Two Quilts” by MJ Daines is just that, separated by about four feet. It took me a while to figure out how to view this work. They are meant to go with each other.

On a more whimsical note, Holly Cole’s “Warthog Memory” (detail) commemorates a troupe of warthogs that cut through the artist’s campsite in Africa. They are drawn on organza and layered over hand dyed fabric. The only quilting I could find was in the ditch stitching around the organza panel.

Susan Fletcher Conaway’s “I Felt A Connection” obviously references a traditional quilt block, but she chose to outline the block with string, raveled threads and strips from tee shirts, for the most part. A few of the diamonds are carefully hand appliqued. Most of the fabrics are cut up old textiles.

Maggie Dillon’s “Poppy Picnic” is based on a vintage image and uses batiks in a fabric collage. The technique appears popular in art quilting circles, and several teachers offer courses.

One final note about the show – the prices the artists placed on their work. They ranged from $450 to $14,000.

If you’re in the area and want to see the show you have until July 29. There’s lots more to see beyond what I’ve shown.



Filed under Art quilts, Quilt Shows

6 responses to “Artist As Quiltmaker Show

  1. What a great exhibit. It would be fun to see the rest and see them all in person. I find art (and other personal) quilts more intriguing all the time. “Two Quilts,” “Nan,” and “Red Jive” are my favorites of what you’ve shown, and all quite different.

    • I’m intrigued by the different works that appeal to my commenters. It makes me wish I had taken more photos. I think the jurors for this show did a good job of choosing a diverse selection of art quilts.

  2. Rosemaryflower

    Wow. WOW wow.
    Thank you for sharing some of the examples here. Very incredibly well executed ideas. I am absolutely amazed with the abstract pieces,
    I am very much attracted to Nan and the Poppy Picnic. …people.
    “two quilts” is interesting. is that on the center left another art piece showing through?
    Were the artists in attendance? …probably not. I would ask way too many questions, but I am sure you received some sort of little bio on each artist
    I like the use of different materials. I went to university to become an RN but filled as many spaces as possible with world history and art history as those were my true passions. My dad would not fund (college was much cheaper in the olden days) a art degree bc my older sister became an alcoholic in college majoring in art and never graduated. So, I became an RN…. later I forced my sister to recover and she also became an RN. she was always much more focused than me and even got her BSN
    Life is good. I love learning the person behind the works
    I am sure this was an enjoyable day

    • Glad you enjoyed what I photographed of the show. The piece that shows to the left in my photo of “Two Quilts” is another, separate quilt. I couldn’t back up enough without running into other quilts to get it out of the frame. No, unfortunately none of the artists were there. Some may have been at the opening reception in May. You could always e-mail an artist and ask questions about a work. The worst they can do is ignore you. How strange life is, given the history of you and your sister. Right now I’m reading a memoir called “Old in Art School” by Nell Painter (really) where the author, a highly respected academic historian, returns to art school when she is 64. She spends a fair amount of time unlearning things.

  3. It looks like a fascinating collection of styles! I like the abstract quilts best, I think, and the one based on the traditional star design.

    • There were lots more abstract quilts than I showed. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a website that shows all the quilts on display. I think you need to buy the catalog for that. Yes, that traditionally based quilt was intriguing for how the artist hollowed out the pattern.

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