Wednesday, August 24, 2016

No-Colour at the FoQ

I took many photos of pieces exhibited at the recent Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, and I will try to share some of them here.

Sometimes, what won me over was work with little or no colour. I loved the juxtaposition of organic and geometric in the piece below. Heymann used both precise machine quilting and hand stitching in a gorgeous range of grays. Simplicity itself.

Susann Heymann, Germany, Transversal Potato
cotton, acrylic paint, clay paint;
coloured, stenciled, machine sewn, hand- and machine-quilted
Susann Heymann, Transversal Potato (detail)

Even greater simplicity is evident in the work by Niki Chandler below. Her statement said "the wall quilt is informed by the zen-inducing grid paintings of Agnes Martin (1912-2004), an artist whose own inner peace was periodically fractured by schizophrenic episodes." Chandler used no pigment at all in her work, relying on cast shadows from stitched triangular flaps to create interest. The fine cotton she employed is starkly white. Again, precision is critical to the success of this work.

Niki Chandler, Nothing in this Life is Perfect

Niki Chandler, Nothing in this Life is Perfect (detail)

The SAQA exhibit, "Celebrating Silver", was a rich source of achromatic work. This collection was put together on the occasion of SAQA's 25th anniversary. Cynthia St. Charles wrote that she "wanted to express the experience of mining for silver in Montana by printing the quilt surface with writings from early miners and vigilantes."

Cynthia St. Charles, Silver Hills
fused collage of hand-painted cotton broadcloth, acrylic paint
Cynthia St. Charles, Silver Hills (detail)
fused collage of hand-painted cotton broadcloth, acrylic paint

Maria Shell revelled in the opportunity to forego her usual bright colours and rely strictly on value contrast.

Maria Shell, Two-Five
vintage and contemporary commercial cotton textiles,
hand-dyed fabrics

Finally, Mary Pal's work received much attention from the visitors. She skilfully manipulated cheesecloth on a black background to achieve a haunting portrait of two silver miners, based on a 1907 photo.

Mary B. Pal, Precious Time,
cheesecloth, canvas, acrylic paint

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