15 June 2015

Art I like - Mike McNamara

Seeing the energetic, individualist quilts of Mike McNamara takes me back to what first drew me to quilting - a secret desire to, as I think of it now, make chaos out of order (though at the time it was the other way round). Perhaps chaos is the wrong word, but it'll have to do for now.
Bluangle, for instance, takes the block/grid format and then subverts it with a seemingly unrelated selection of blocks, the use of a variety of fabric for sashing, and the addition of an "interesting" border. It can be found in the Thank You Blocks section of his website, as can Bluwite -
which further expands the block-quilt format into fields of four(?)-patch, interspersed with assembled elements and changes of scale. Both are held together by the colour scheme, which is saved from monotony by a knowing use of tone and colour dis-harmony.

"Sometimes I like using the block design.  Sometime I layer fabric, and just cut out the block and mix the layers to recreate the blocks - no measuring"

If these seem tame, be assured that Mike McNamara makes other quilts, really wild quilts, using fabrics that would never be found in the stash of a timid quilter - feed sacks and hawaiian prints and selvedges among them. The Double Wedding Ring section of his gallery has some close-ups.

Here are a couple of his Double Wedding Ring quilts - #10 (my favourite -- the sheer verve of it) -
and #8 -
Wild! Wonderful! They really push the tighly-folded edges of the envelope, and makes me itch to move bits of fabric around.

Mac grew up on New England and now lives in San Francisco. He made his first quilt in 1976.

"In college, my English degree gave me a love of the metaphor, symbolic irony, the zeugma, and other writing tools that I translate into imagery, visual puns, ironic  humor, and other poetic expressions.  My second degree is in Art History and it gave me the appreciation for iconic imagery, signs and signets that represent an emotion, a person, or a place, a person, or an emotion"
A few more from elsewhere -
Quilt for the latest sexagenarian (via)
Two from a talk he gave to scvqa in 2012 -

He talks about his experience in the traditional quilt world here.

Nearly missed out another favourite from Mac's website, Holy Scissors! -
It's a bit edgy, don't you think?

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