Have you ever watched one of those cooking shows on late night TV when the contestants are given a list of seemingly unrelated ingredients (like chocolate, cabbage, and pickles) and then are sent to the kitchen with the expectation that they will create an unforgettable meal? Who doesn’t love that kind of challenge?
I think there are many art quilters who could give those chefs a run for their money… and we are featuring a handful of them in this issue of Quilting Arts.
Painted cheesecloth; sticks and stones; metal washers; discarded fabric scraps; lightweight interfacing; couched yarn; colored tulle; dyed wool batting… the list could go on, but this is just a selection of the unusual materials used by the artists who have taken the challenge to let go of preconceptions about their materials and let their imagination take over.
Push Those Boundaries!
Art quilters are known for pushing the boundaries with innovative techniques and unusual materials, yet I am continually astounded with the variations they can uncover when testing the limits of materials – some that are in nearly every studio – in new ways. Have you considered using wool batting on the outside of your quilt? Maybe so, but I’ll bet you haven’t dyed, stuffed, manipulated, stitched, or embellished it in the same ways Susan Brubaker Knapp did in her article, Experiments with Wool Felt and Batting. Just seeing the ripples, bubbles, and bumps on her samplers makes me want to lock myself in my studio and start stitching.
In addition to the techniques, you’ll find artwork that also pushes the limits. We’re fortunate to feature Margaret Abramshe and Jill Kerttula as they talk about their inspiration and approach to making art quilts. Both start with a photo printed on fabric, but then move in different directions as their pieces progress. It is interesting to see the same media in the hands of two masterful artists who have a firm understanding of its limits and its possibilities. Each has found a way to make art that is elevated beyond the materials and techniques and stand out in a crowd.
Shifting Tides, the gallery of art from seven SAQA Pacific regions, is another example of gorgeous work that tests the limits of fabric and thread. I’m sure you’ll enjoy all of the quilts, and even spot a few unusual uses of embellishments along the way. I hope the February/March 2020 issue of Quilting Arts inspires you to take a personal challenge and push your own artistic abilities just a little bit further every day. Best,
Vivika Hansen DeNegre
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