28 September 2009

Opening of "A World of Stitches"

Well, yesterday was the big day--the opening of A World of Stitches at the Bellefonte Museum--which also happened to be the first show I've participated in. I thought about writing this entry like it was no big deal and I have openings all the time. You know, like I'm so very cool and collected. But who am I kidding, I'm not remotely cool! And to be honest, it was a really big deal and I was very excited.

Kevin and I arrived at the museum in the beautiful Linn House in downtown Bellefonte and were welcomed by museum director and curator, Patricia House. We walked into the first gallery and I was immediately blown away by all the fabulous pieces from Panama and Benin.

Then Pat told me to turn around--both panels of the Early Morning Club flanked the doorway. Oddly enough, even though I was attending my opening, I was surprised to see them. I had worked so hard attaching all 112 pieces to the screening that I never really thought about how they would look displayed in the gallery.

(Kevin took most of the photographs.)

Seeing them all displayed in chronological order was fascinating to me. I could trace my stream of thought and identify shifts in my point of view. But I took just a moment to look at it before I had to check out the rest of the show.

Kevin helped me find Cash's Mountain, which was displayed over the fireplace.

and Fragment #4 and Plastic Grid,
which were displayed next to this fabulous work by Aldeth Spence Christy, who was one of the artists that worked on Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party.

Sue Reno is an award-winning artist whose work I have long admired. So it was absolutely thrilling to have pieces in the show with her. She attended the opening as well, and we had a wonderful conversation about art, process, poison ivy, and Pittsburgh. I don't want to spill her secrets, but I was relieved to learn that she doesn't measure! Nice to meet a quilt artist with similar sensibilities. Here is her Daylilies at Dawn.

The flags from Benin were fantastic. I didn't get a chance to take as many pictures as I would have liked, but I know I'll get a chance again when my mother and grandmother visit.

And the molas were absolutely irresistible. They were framed under glass, so did not photograph particularly well, but there were also vintage molas from the Kuna tribe for sale. I bought three. (I told you I couldn't resist!)

The show was so beautiful. Pat House did a fabulous job in conceiving and executing the show. Even though the work by the different artists were different, the show was amazingly coherent and the pieces were beautifully displayed. I highly recommend checking it out! (I would even if I weren't in it.)

Exhibiting in this show was motivational. One of the best parts of the day, which didn't photograph well at all, was to be able to talk about my work and answer questions about it. It felt good to know that I created work that interested people. So now all I want to do is make more art and get it out in the world!

Indulge me with one last photograph, of Kevin and me. He's believed in me from the beginning and has been telling me for years to get my art out there. And now I am so proud to look at him and know I finally did.

06 September 2009

Bellefonte Museum Exhibit

I am so very pleased to announce that three of my pieces, as well as all 112 pieces from my Early Morning Club, will be exhibited at the Bellefonte Museum of Centre County. Curator Patricia House has put together an exciting exhibit entitled, A World of Stitches: Applique Art from Benin, Panama, and Pennsylvania. She has selected works from three other Pennsylvania-based artists as well as work from Panama and Benin to show cross-cultural differences (and similarities) in applique.

I invite everyone to attend this really interesting and remarkable exhibit. The opening reception is Sunday, September 27th from 1:00-4:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. I can't wait to attend, meet the other artists, and see the other pieces in the show. The exhibit runs from September 27th through December 20th and the museum is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 1:00-4:30 p.m.

One of my pieces, Cash's Mountain, is a raw-edge applique landscape. It's hard to tell from the picture, but I quilted and faced the central landscape and then appliqued it to the brown/teal background so that is serves more as a frame and less as a border.

Fragment #4 is an improvisationally pieced quilt fragment that was quilted, finished and then appliqued to the background brown.

Plastic Grid consists of fifteen mini-quilts that finished and then appliqued to the grid background.

In addition to these three pieces, I have spent the last week attaching (appliquing?) all 112 Early Morning Club pieces to two lengths of fiberglass screening. Back when I was creating the Early Morning Club, I dreamed of having the opportunity to exhibit them as a cohesive whole, and am very excited to now have the chance.

Other works in the exhibit include:

Pennsylvania and environs appliqué artists,

  • Bonnie Buckwalter, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania
  • Aldeth Spence Christy, 1939- 2001, Maryland
  • Kimberly Davis, State College, Pennsylvania
  • Sue Reno, Columbia, (Lancaster), Pennsylvania

Panama, Kuna Indians appliqué work by several Kuna community members

Benin (West Africa), Brice Abraham Yemadje, textile artist, Fon Community

Here is the press release for the show:

“A World of Stitches: appliqué art from Benin, Panama and Pennsylvania” is a show of the particular craft of appliqué with examples from three very different cultures. The variety of design, motif and theme afford contrast while the basic craft demonstrates the universality of appliqué. The works in the exhibition are original creations by the artists and include images from the natural world, cultural themes and symbols from holidays and celebrations.

Appliqué needlework is an international craft; from American homes to tribal ceremonies, appliqué has been around a long time and continues to be popular. Remnants of clothing decorated with pieces of fabric to form designs have been found in the tombs of persons from ancient cultures. The technique has been used to create colorful flags for royalty throughout Europe and Africa. Appliqué designs on quilts and dance costumes were very popular in the Americas during the 18th and 19th Centuries. It is assumed that appliqué owes part of its origin to supply. When fabrics were all made by hand on simple looms or imported at great expense every scrap of material was valuable.

This exhibition includes examples of appliqué used to create decorative pieces and useful objects including coverlets, wall hangings, patches for quilt making, flags and clothing. Appliqué', which is a French term, is a type of decorative needlework that involves cutting pieces of one fabric and sewing or otherwise applying them to the surface of another. An image or design is obtained by superposing patches of colored material on a basic cloth.

In our country, women have been the appliqué artists and quilters but in other cultures men created the textiles and made the textile crafts. This continues to be true in Benin (West Africa), one of the three countries featured in this exhibition. In the Kuna culture of Panama women are the textile artists. Their designs are made using many layers of fabric.

The Kuna people live on the San Blas Islands off the northern coast of Panama. Kuna women make a unique kind of appliqué work called Molas. Images in the Molas are very detailed and depict every aspect of their lives. The fabric designs are done in bright colors on dark (usually red) background. Molas range in sizes but are usually made to fit on a shirt or dress bodice.

Works in this show by Brice Abraham Yemadie are done in rich colors using fabrics and sequins. These pieces demonstrate the appliqué tradition as it has evolved in Benin, West Africa. Y. Brice was born in Benin to a family of textile artisans whose roots go back to the Fon Kingdom of Dahomey (now Benin). The French artist Matisse admired this appliqué tradition and the influence can be seen in some of his works. Fon artists sold into slavery brought the appliqué tradition to the Americas.

By exhibiting examples from Benin (West Africa), Panama and our own community, we display contrasts and similarities and suggest possible origins of craftwork. Most importantly, the show demonstrates shared creativity of people from a wide variety of cultures and traditions. The exhibition curator is Patricia House.

Special appreciation is extended to Peggy Sloves and Maya Spence for lending art to the show and to the artists who loaned their works.

The exhibition is partially funded by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Borough of Bellefonte.

Accompanying programs will include craft classes for children and adults and on site activities for families visiting the show.

Early Morning Club Review

A year ago, I embarked on a four-month exploration (from July to November 2008) of early morning creativity. Each day I would awaken, drink a glass of water, and head to my studio where I would create and finish a 6" x 9" vertical quilt. Over the course of the sixteen weeks, I amassed 112 different compositions, but the personal lessons I learned about art, creativity, design, persistence, and improvisation were more valuable. My work in the Early Morning Club helped me define myself as an artist and begin to discover my vision and point-of-view.

Here are links to an overview and all sixteen weeks worth of pieces.

Week One
Week Two
Week Three
Week Four
Week Five
Week Six
Week Seven
Week Eight
Week Nine
Week Ten
Week Eleven
Week Twelve
Week Thirteen
Week Fourteen
Week Fifteen
Week Sixteen