But Why Art Quilts?
I used to get this question a lot. Mostly from people who are very comfortable making traditional quilts. While I thoroughly respect all the technique, tradition and creativity that has gone into traditional quilting I find it doesn’t scratch the itch that art quilts do.
If you’d known me much of my life you’d already know that I seldom do the “expected”. It seems all my life I have asked the next question… what if? It got me in lots of trouble as a teen. As a scout leader I was quickly reminded that I had young minds to properly shape. As an employee I always thought I knew better. ( I learned a different view as I became an employer.)
I’ve always thought of myself as an adaptive creator rather than a true innovator. I look at what works and then figure out what would keep me interested. It’s a curiosity thing.
As I never got to attend art school I never had much training in drawing. In fact, my strongest training in anything like that was drafting in high school. So I didn’t lean towards fine art on my own. But I did have a strong background in sewing. In fact, my first sewing project was sitting in a babysitter’s lap making an apron for my doll—on the sewing machine. I was 5. Hand sewing never appealed to me. My big game was to figure out how to do as few hand stitches as possible. I’m over that now.
But with art quilts I was given the freedom to explore. All those fussy rules, while respected, were no longer mandatory. I also got to try out different techniques without having to make a commitment to any of them. As time went by and we moved to an area where the closest real fabric store was over 2 hours away, I decided that dyeing my own fabrics was the way to go. I fell in love with creating blends and morphs. I also got more involved in creating images. These utilized stencils, or stamps or silkscreens that I created.
Some day I’ll be done with those darn circles. Right now I find they still tantalize me. I love seeing what happens when the colors move or twist and blend. I could do that faster with paint… but then I’d lose the textures. The textures have a lot to do with my working with silks and my mixing up the rhythms.
Mostly I love the freedom to play and see…what if?