Monday, June 1, 2015

Quilt National 5 -- representational motifs

When many people talk about "representational" quilts they mean those that are relatively accurate pictures of people, places or things.  But I also would define it to include pieces with identifiable pictures embedded in a nonrepresentational background.  And defining it that way allows me to show you some quilts that I found particularly appealing at Quilt National.

Lorie McCown, The Story Cloth Vol. 1-4 (details below)

I don't know what the story is, but there are clues -- several beautiful dresses, a couple of guys smoking cigars.  It's one of those quilts that makes you keep looking, trying to identify more of the little pictures.

The more I looked, the more I loved this quilt.  I could even make a case for it to receive a big award.

Shelley Brenner Baird, Spellbinder

I've known Shelley's work for a lot longer than I have known her in person, and this is a little different from most of the pieces she's made in recent years -- darker, smaller, but equally mysterious.  Like Lorie, she tells stories whose meaning the viewer can only guess at.  Here the hands, the child's silhouette, the suns, emerge from the abstract background to tease us.

In many ways I find these quilts with just a bit of representation more intriguing than those where the narrative is plonked out there for everybody to see.  What do you think?


  1. Wow~Kathleen thanks so much for this. I really appreciate the kind words~everyone has a story, don't they. Mine different from yours..but I hope that the art draws us together ~whatever our stories maybe. I enjoyed your talk at the SAQA symposium, and great to see every one's quilts and the artists together. Many happy stitches to you.

  2. Wow! These are great. Thanks for showing them.

  3. I've been following your musings about representational v. non-representational. I find myself sometimes tending towards representation but trying to pull myself away from it, as I contemplate quilting projects. This story quilt, and Spellbinder are equally fascinating on their own, aside from being quilts, and to me they have the hallmarks of "art" though I am not sure I can articulate what I think those are! At any rate, they are authentic and unique to their makers, maybe those would be two attributes I'd look for in an art piece. Thank you for sharing the quilts from this show, and your opinions about them, it has been quite interesting. If I every get up the gumption to put my own stuff out there, I suppose I'll quickly find out who else besides me things I'm an artist!