I’m reading a book by an author who, at least according to her writing, has an amazing amount of freedom in her life. It’s quite propitious that I’m reading her now, because I entered a couple pieces into a show that didn’t make the cut. However, though my art was not accepted, I am feeling quite accepting of that fact. The book I’m talking about is “A Thousand Names for Joy” by Byron Katie. I first read her “Loving What Is” a few years ago. I am not going to attempt to explain her method for achieving such freedom and joy in her life. You can discover that for yourself, if intrigued, by purchasing or borrowing her books, and visiting her website. I will, however, show you one of the art pieces I am talking about. I call it Lepidoptera (Latin for butterfly). The wings on the butterfly house contain words that have to do with a butterfly’s predators, including humans. This is a mixed media art quilt, and includes such processes as quilting, painted cloth, crochet, beading, stamping (with my own, handmade stamp), and papier mâché.
UPDATE: Both pieces I entered in Grand National: Fantasy were accepted–the email came a day late! However, the curator reserves the right to refuse a piece after it arrives at the gallery (artworks were selected from digital images). I only entered the show because mixed media pieces were eligible (“Quilts of mixed media will be considered though each must have a quilted fabric component.”). Typically, on my mixed media pieces, I use both paper and fabric. My quilts are seldom square or rectangular—I often include wings or other shaped elements. After piecing and appliquéing my design together, I quilt it all with a whipped double running stitch, by hand. I love the solid line this gives me, as opposed to the dotted line that quilts usually have, even when they are machine stitched. Then I add a crocheted edge and beading or any other elements that need to be attached. When the top is complete, I gesso the entire back of the piece to impart stiffness–support for the shape. I papier mâché over the gesso and paint it to finish. My sleeve can be made of papier mâché as well. So . . . . . a soft quilt, it is not. I’m curious how my work will be greeted when seen “in the fabric” at the gallery. I look forward to representing non-traditional quilt forms!
The artist Fran Skiles was/is my inspiration for what she calls “stitched hard surface paper and fabric collages.” She will be teaching her methods at the “Quilt Surface Design Symposium” in Ohio, this coming June. The Quilt Surface Design Symposium has been “critical to the non-traditional quilt movement since 1990 in providing education for all those interested in exploring their own potential in the medium.” Some of Skiles’ pieces can be seen in a FiberArts article (Summer: 2005) or at Thirteen Moons Gallery in New Mexico.