31 August 2006

Stamps (postal)

Now the Gee's Bend quilts are on US stamps. As the blogger on whipup.net commented, "This is poetic justice to me - women of color in one of the most economically depressed areas of our country get their craft on postage stamps. Best news I’ve heard all day."

I've been hoarding some geographical, historical - even cosmic - UK stamps. Too good to use!
That gridded quilt thing, cumulation, happens in sheets of stamps -- more is so much more.

30 August 2006

Dyeing surprise

All this, with one colour -- Procion MX609 black. Left to right, in order of going into the dyebath, are: cotton, laid flat; cotton, twisted and knotted, wet; cotton, twisted and knotted, dry; calico, folded but not clamped; linen; silk organdie, folded and sewn shibori; silk organdie, scrunched. Such a variation! The only piece with actual black on it is the scrunched silk organdie.

Apparently the way to get a good black is with Dylon cold-water dye.

26 August 2006

On the way home from FoQ

An opportunity for "drive-by shooting" from the rail replacement bus --The rain on the train is quickly gone again --
When I got home I laid out my purchases - Tanne threads and shibori made by a Japanese master craftsman.Here, at last, endeth the posts about the Festival of Quilts 2006. Back to "real life".

Quilts from India and Pakistan at FoQ

More favourites

An astonishing collection from Sweden -- Asa Wettre's friend has collected 110 doll beds; so far, 55 have quilts, made in antique fabrics."Homage to Gee's Bend" by Janet Bolton --
Clyde Oliver's stitched slate --
Detail of work by Diana Harrison --Two pieces from Judith James's exhibition --Lovely rhythms of colours, by Christine Restall --
Margaret Anderson's quilt incorporates various non-fabric materials --


So much to see, so little time, and so hard to keep accurate records. The temptation with a digital camera is to point, shoot, and ask questions later. I apologize for not putting names of makers to these -- they are a sampler of what's possible in the quilt medium.In the "quilts from Turkey" exhibit --

25 August 2006


Quite a few of these came home with me
but elsewhere they kept their threads behind bars.And now that I have lots of thread, something's gone wrong with the sewing machine.

24 August 2006

Other happy bunnies

That's Mai-Britt's quilt on the cover!Bailey spotted the tripod, and the woman with the camera is Bonnie Lyn McCaffrey, over from the States and recording the show (she's the pioneer of quilting video podcasts). Bailey's latest book is "Inspiration Plus" - just out, it's not on Bailey's website yet.
Susan has been monoprinting over tiles, a technique from Sue Dove's workshop at the Contemporary Quilt summer school.Sandy finished her C&G in fashion, and then won the student category. Her other work in the show included the Tudor gown she made during the course.

23 August 2006

Three talks

The Gala Dinner: 800 people in a room, the tables reflected amidst chandeliers on the mirrored ceiling -- and an oscar-style jazzy presentation of prizes. But the after-dinner speaker was Michael James, and he said four things:
1. Learn to draw and use sketchbooks
2. Don't feed only at the quilt trough. Other arts offer a rich smorgasbord
3. something about working at the right scale, and giving the work room to breathe
4. Use your eyes.

Among his slides was one of Mbuti bark cloth (my quilt was based on an Mbuti bark cloth!); he commented: If you're interested in line, look at these drawings on bark cloth from the Congo.

Michael James was one of the speakers at the symposium, Why Quilts?, that ran alongside the Festival of Quilts, in the mornings (people who attended the symposium said it was a real eye-opener). His lecture the next day was sold out, but others were interesting.

Diana Harrison spoke about her wholecloth quilts, her career, influences - and collections, which include squashed tin cans, disintegrating lost footballs, and old shoes she finds on her walks over Wandsworth Common. She started out spray painting with disperse dyes, masking and remasking the fabric, has moved on to splattering and flicking dye mixed with flour and water, which acts as a resist for the next layer, and now works in a different way, using a discharge paste she mixes fresh each time. She stitches backwards and forwards across the quilts to avoid having to darn in the thread ends. Her main inspiration is architecture but the titles of her pieces show a certain influence of life events.Her show within the show had pieces of various sizes, in her characteristic muted colours.

Yoshiko Wada, author of Memory on Cloth, defined the process of shibori as manipulating a two-dimensional plane into three dimensions, compressing it and dyeing it - when you open it up, it reveals the pattern and the pattern is a record of the process. She showed slides of how various designers (Issey Miyake, Yoshiki Hishinuma, Yohji Yamamoto, Hiroko Koshino) had used this process in their collections, and of artists who used it. And she passed samples around; the next day they were heaped up in her booth.

Workshop with Jo Budd

Here's Jo with her sublime work in her show within the show -- another of my favourites this year.And here we are in our windowless room, ready to go with lovely new Berninas, irons, and baking parchment.
Our materials -- plastic bags!
One of the big lessons of this workshop, for me, is the importance of light. At the end of the first morning, we had a look at what everyone had done -- out in the concourse, where natural light streamed in and the sunshine lit up the work -- what a difference!