I took a break from my reporting on Art Quilt Elements, the show at the Wayne Art Center in Philadelphia, but last week I was out and about and was confronted in person by a faithful blog reader who demanded that I get back to unfinished business and show something besides pieced quilts! I will do my best, although as I reviewed my images I realize that I did a lousy job of documenting the show. We arrived late, thanks to a transportation mishap, then too busy talking with people instead of practicing photojournalism, and then my camera ran out of juice as I was making one last pass around the room to get photos. So if you need more info you'll have to buy the catalog. You can also see the quilts here; the images are small but the color is excellent.
But today, here are two quilts that were complementary of each other, both of them maps with a body of water as the focal point.
I've always had a thing for maps, both real and artistic. Last week while I was visiting a friend I had the chance to look at not one but two books about maps made by artists, and was reminded of the vast range of approaches that can be used and still clearly be mapmaking.
I believe this gorgeous quilt has no machine piecing, just applique and reverse applique, plus paint and hand stitching and a wide range of fabrics. It's rich in texture (by contrast to the much flatter effect in Merrett's quilt) and more subdued in palette.
I admit that my eye is usually drawn first to the machine piecing, since that's my personal style, but more and more I admire hand stitching and enjoy seeing the ways it is integrated with machine stitching. For instance, check out the long horizontal gray embroidery threads in the detail shot above. They were laid down in long lines, interrupted by some fancy counted-thread work that made little crosses, then stitched over with machine quilting, which held the threads somewhat in place. A surprisingly complex effect that rewards close viewing.