Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Quilt National 6 -- drawing with the quilting line

If I had to tell you about "trends" that I saw at Quilt National, I would immediately come up with two.  First, there were very few really large quilts on display; even artists who in the past have worked huge, such as Bonnie Bucknam, went a size or two smaller this time.  Are huge quilts getting too difficult for aging artists to wrestle with, or are people tired of the hassles and expense of shipping them?  (I cop to a bit of both in my own work.)

Second, there was a lot of drawing with the quilting line, not just as an adjunct to the main composition, but as the primary method of achieving the design.

I have to start with Paula Kovarik, whose previous QN appearances have all featured detailed quilted drawings.  Her pair of pillowcases presents a wonderland of doodles and doodads, on a tiny scale; you have to get up close to appreciate the complexity and wit.

Paula Kovarik, Insomnia: His and Hers (detail below)

Cécile Trentini, C5 -- Red Circonvolutions (detail below)

In her gallery talk, Trentini explained that inspired by the "automatic writing" of the surrealists, she made random patterns without advance planning, changing to a different weight of thread whenever the bobbin ran out. The entire design is a single line, thus avoiding the pesky chore of sinking thread ends.

Brienne Brown, Moonrise Study (detail below)

Here's a small quilt (25 x 40") that packs a big punch if you get close enough to appreciate it.  The moon rises from a galaxy populated with strange tiny creatures, with weird appendages and curly tails -- who knew space was so densely inhabited?

Brigitte Kopp, On Her Road To... (detail below)

There's hand stitching in this quilt too, but the drawing is the focus.

Finally, one of several little bits of drawing almost hidden in a large quilt:

Sandra Poteet, Open Spaces (detail below)

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