Friday, September 30, 2011

Seasonal Palette

Just found out that I have been selected to participate in an exhibit sponsored by Studio Art Quilt Associates that will debut at the Houston show next fall and then tour for two years.  The theme and the process are kind of interesting, so I'll share it with you.

The exhibit is called "Seasonal Palette," and the concept is that each artist chooses a season, then makes a quilt of uniform size (32" wide x 78" tall).  We were asked to submit a portfolio of quilts we have made, say which season we wanted to do, and explain what palette we would use. 

My theory on making work for challenges or theme shows is that I don't do it unless the piece is something already on my to-do list or would fit into an existing body of work.  Much as I love the intellectual challenge of working to a theme or specifications, it can become a distraction and keep you away from doing something that advances your artistic vision.  But this challenge appealed to me and I sent in an entry.

I knew immediately what I wanted to do.  My statement read:  "Winter!  This year I sailed to Antarctica and was enthralled by the icebergs.  The palette:  brilliant white, many shades of blue, and the unexpected black and gray of dirt and stones picked up by the glaciers.  The fracture pattern of my recent quilts will perfectly depict the fractured ice."

I was pleased but not really surprised to be chosen for the exhibit.  Since my vacation I've learned that Antarctica trumps most other cards in the deck, and indeed, my preexisting technique is pretty well suited to this subject.  Ever since I got home I have been toying with the idea of making a fractured ice quilt anyway, so it seemed as though this particular challenge was a no-brainer (for me, at least, if not the juror/curator).

But here was a real surprise:  it seems that more than half of the 38 people selected for the show also wanted to do winter!  Who knew that is such a popular season?  My experience is that for every person who loves winter, there are a dozen or more who hate it.   But apparently quilt artists are different from the run-of-the-mill population.

I was happy to be one of the people who got to do winter; others were reassigned to other seasons.  I was asked to make my new quilt specifically using the style and techniques of one of the quilts in my portfolio:

Fault Lines 1

I'm excited about this project and after the brutally hot summer, am particularly looking forward to working in ice colors.  My husband, however, had to be a party pooper.  He pointed out that it wasn't winter in Antarctica, it was summer.  But I hope this won't get in the way of making a wintry-looking quilt for Seasonal Palette.


  1. yeah, like there will trees and flowers in Antarctica in the summer. LOL

    anyway, even if you did summer in Antarctica, we wouldn't be able to spot the difference.

    well done, and looking forward to seeing the result.
    Sandy in the UK

  2. So, change your season to SUMMER, but do the same work--since it is Antarctica.

  3. Can't wait to see what you do. I'm sure it will be stunning. Actually it looks like your Fault Lines 1 would fit the bill, but I know you have to do something new.

  4. Grats Kathy and especially nice that you got your choice of season. I'm still pondering about the workability of the new deadline.

  5. I think your Antarctica piece should be Summer - because there isn't enough light there in winter.

    They get a couple of hours of sort of twilight each day only.

    IF you look at the Antarctic research stations' webcams you can get a vague idea of the lack of light in winter.

    Even now - spring coming into summer - there is precious little light.

    Your photos are definitely Summer in Antarctica.

    Helen from Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
    Home of the Australian Antarctic Division

    PS The ice crack idea as in your Fault Lines has been used here in Hobart at the Museum for the Islands to Ice gallery.

  6. Helen -- you're right, of course -- but somehow I didn't think I could persuade them to accept this concept as a "summer" quilt. It would certainly have stood out among the flowers and beach themes of the other summers.

    I think I will suppress the mention of Antarctica in my finished materials and just keep the concept of big ice.

  7. Congratulations Kathy. This challenge sounds like it is right up your creative alley.

  8. Congratulations, Kathy. You've got a big job to do! I saw your piece in Quilt National at the Foundry yesterday. It looks great. I also saw Jill, who was your hostess 2 years ago. She spoke about you, and pointed out your quilt. I would have recognized it, as you have a strong style. I was with a number of Missouri Fiber Artists, touring the Innovations in Fiber exhibits. I saw 4 exhibits, including QN. Keep up the excellent work!