Wednesday, May 20, 2015

FNF 4 -- Award of excellence

The fourth-place winner at Form, Not Function was Gay Lasher of Denver for her digitally printed whole-cloth quilt.

Gay Lasher, No Exit (detail below)

I like the design, a complicated mix of dense areas with open space, with curves and stripes placed with a sure hand.  Digital printing allows  quiltmakers to use complex images, impossible with traditional piecing or applique, and this is an excellent example of what can be done.

But what I find particularly stunning is the quilting.  The printed image, looked at up close, has irregular lines between the different colors, and Lasher has quilted precisely along the boundaries, preserving every wave and wobble.

With no knots or thread ends visible, I can only imagine the painstaking work that went into the finishing.  I might have wished for a bit more quilting in the open areas, where the fullness will no doubt droop over time as the piece is displayed -- which I hope it will be!

This award of excellence is given by River City Fiber Artists, a small group of six to which I have belonged for getting on twenty years; I'm proud that we helped start the FNF show and that we are still supporting it through our sponsorship.  Providing an award at an art show is a gratifying experience, and I'll write more on that subject tomorrow.  But meanwhile, hats off to Gay Lasher.


  1. I have such mixed emotions about this piece. It grabbed me when I first saw it, then my second thought was - oh...I know just how she did this. I recognize some of the shapes that get generated when one runs a photo through a software filter. I've done this probably thousands of times, enough that those shapes appear often enough to be disappointing to me now, no longer fresh and exciting. A quick trip to the artist's website confirmed my suspicions of how she works.

    But beyond that, I always questioned my using the designs generated this way. Yes, the computer and software are just another design tool, but using these filters, particularly if you are using the random button, feels like I have removed myself from the design process except for being able to recognize when a manipulation is interesting and worth saving. Like tossing down a group of sticks and deciding that the random arrangement has artistic merit.

    My next conundrum has always been a feeling of guilt or a bit of cheating if I merely print out the image and add some stitching (although I've done that for padfolios and as accent to a larger pieced or appliqued design). I'm not sure I agree with you that this would be impossible to piece or applique (I've done just that with some of my complicated photo manipulations, and then there are the Japanese quilters...). I know I'd be more impressed with the artist and her skills.

    So as I say, my emotions are quite mixed since this brings front and center these issues I've been dealing with for years in my own work. It is my own bias and my own unease which drives how I personally approach my work, and I've already heard the arguments against my point of view. I'm not saying it's rational or right, I'm just saying! And wondering how many other people might be in my camp.

  2. Thank you for the extreme close-up of Gay Lasher's piece. Nose to quilt tells the story, and No Exit is delightful up close, no matter the forboding title.