My goal this year besides relocating to my hometown of Bedford, VA is to set up my quilting studio and my Art Quilt Gallery to support myself. I have been working a lot these past few weeks on producing small works for galleries and shows for the holiday season. Sometimes it can feel like “selling out” that I focus on things only for selling. But isn’t one of the major points of being an artist to produce work that connects to people in such a way that they want to own it, share it, take pride in it, even rejoice that it is unique and something only they have? Therefore it is a good thing for me to do and to be excited about as a means of supporting myself.
At the same time, I get the urge to create things that are different and take up more room in the the room. So when I have a moment’s break I visualize and create larger works (or a series of works that go together) so that I can continue to grow and keep my mind fresh and continue to learn.
In the last few weeks I have created several wall hanging that I am really happy with. They are unexpected things. They grew organically as I played with them. None of them turned out as I had originally visualized them in my head, which to me is always a good thing. I can be such a realist visually at times, and my own idea of Art is not about reproducing an image exactly, a camera can do that, but rather capturing the sense and feel of an objects or landscape.
The Mimosa series was inspired by photographs my husband Michael Putnam took of Mimosa blossoms at their early peak. I struck by the play of light on the long tendrils as well as the sheer beauty of the blossoms. In trying to recreate that sense with thread painting, I had to play with whether to work from the center out or the outside in. Ultimately, working from the outside to the center proved more exciting and allowed me play with depth and focus, but also with color and a sense of transparency.
This wall tapestry was based on one of my older oil paintings. It was a glorified and an abstracted idea of the house and property my parents lived on after I left for college. I had so much fun with this one because of the exaggerated sense of proportions, and because it allowed me to play with my preferred color palette. With this kind of quilting and thread painting, I have to find a real balance between the amount of thread painting I want to use and the weight of the piece. With borders etc, there can be a lot of wavy fabric flow if the balance is not correct. I intentionally carried the thread painting into the borders outside the image to keep a sense of continuity and not make it feel so much like a painting or a set image.
This piece is nothing like what I started working on in my head. I had envisioned a small wall hanging with strips of solid colors and thaws slashed and then reshaped, and hung on an organic shaped background.
This piece, WHO CAME FIRST?, obviously had a mind of its own. The farmyard styled fabrics fell from the shelves into my hand. I sewed a few strips and then wonky cut them and re-pieced them. Since I had a little chicken theme going thought I would quilt the front piece with a string of eggs pattern, (much like a string of pearls but changing the connected shapes.) But the wall hanging was not at all happy with that idea — and forced me, literally to fill in each of the eggs. Then of course the idea of who came first appeared. At the last moment the little chick in the upper right hand corner decided to be hatched. ANd so there it is.
Create Beauty and fill the World with LOVE!