Anti-gerrymandering art quilt is probably not a phrase that too many people have found occasion to utter, but it’s been on my tongue for the last few months as I worked on this piece.
I’m happy to say that you can currently see it in person if you can get to Mount Pleasant this month, as it’s part of the Pop Up Show currently happening at the Morey Gallery at Art Reach.
In this year of What-In-The-World-Is-Happening-Here 2017, politics feel super messed up and there are so many people in power doing terrible things that hurt all of us, but especially the most vulnerable among us. How those politicians can live with themselves, I can’t imagine, except that I guess human brains are pretty good at justifying things that are in one’s own self-interest and the generally Old White Dudes in power have a lot of practice. It feels so overwhelming – how do we fix what’s wrong when many of our elected officials are actively undoing the good we’ve been able to achieve in the past? It can be hard to know what to do or where to even start, but I’ve been trying to identify smallish things that I can actively take part in that might help. Working to end gerrymandering is one of those things and this art quilt is an expression of my frustration with the current system and an attempt to bring attention to this problem. As part of the gallery show, it is, if anyone is interested, for sale. If it does sell I’ll be donating half the proceeds to Voters Not Politicians, an anti-gerrymandering group in Michigan. And I fully encourage y’all to donate to this good cause regardless! Michigandalfs (and everyone) deserve better.
You can also check out a process video of me working on this piece:
It’s called Her Home Apothecary and is an art quilt (my favorite medium) combining traditional quilt piecing techniques with applique and freehand embroidery. The theme, broadly and as usual, is feminism. I’m trying to get better at the promotion side of things, I have a scheduled consultation with Yeah Local, who will try and get my internet game into the future and not the other way around. So here’s my request to you to check it out and, if you like it, vote for it! Register to vote online (requires in-person activation at ArtReach or the CMU Art Gallery) or in person at a variety of local venues. My code is AWC42. I’ll be at the Art Battle and Artist Meet and Greet tonight, August 3rd, so say hi if you see me! And thanks to the library for hosting my piece!
Here’s a much better photo of Modern Venus on display at Helios Art Gallery! I went in with the DSLR and of course managed some higher quality shots.
I am so honored that my art was displayed in this gallery! It made my Art Walk Central experience so much richer this year – big thanks to the folks at Helios for welcoming me, being interested to know more about the piece, and encouraging me in every way during every interaction we had throughout the festival. It was such a pleasure to be involved with such good people.
Overall my experience this year was a bit of an up-and-down. I had received a call from ArtReach informing me that my piece was in the judges’ top ten and I was both stunned and elated! But then when we attended the judges’ round table discussing their top picks, mine was not among them. I felt so embarrassed in that moment, even though as far as I know, K and I were the only ones expecting to see mine in the slide show. I am pretty sure that someone confused my name with the other art quilter from Mount Pleasant (named Ann, oddly enough) on their contact list and called me by mistake. The folks at ArtReach were extremely apologetic about it and really did everything they could to make things right, so I have no ill feelings on that front, just a little residual disappointment and embarrassment that I had to then tell everyone that my big happy announcement was the result of an error.
Listening to the judges discuss their top picks was extremely enlightening. It’s clear that they both appreciate fiber art, which is awesome (the top 10 had two art quilts, which seems unlikely to happen very often). They both also spoke a lot about political art and how much they value pieces that address specific current events (#blacklivesmatter and the Flint water crisis in particular featured in several of the top ten). For me as an artist, I think I’m less likely to address a specific event – I think that my work, so far at least, is less likely to be so direct and specific. I would rather address a theme or idea in less literal ways, I guess. I wonder if this is a current movement among art critics or in the art world in general? Or maybe it’s always a preference some folks have? I should ask the Art Assignment! It was also interesting to note that the judges seemed to be very in sync with one another – I don’t think I heard either of them express an opinion that the other didn’t echo. I wonder if it’s a challenge, when working in that capacity, to keep one’s own voice strong and distinct. It could be that they were just that in tune with each other.
I also quite enjoyed the artist talks that I got to attend. I could have signed up to do one myself, but I was so intimidated that I didn’t. Having seen some others now, I think that I could manage it, though I’m sure I’d still be quite nervous. It was reassuring/notable to me that the artists I heard all took somewhat different approaches to the talk – and all seemed to be equally acceptable. That gives me a bit more confidence for the future as well.
For now, I’m still working on the planning stages of my next piece, so I need to get to the drawing board for that. Once again, big thanks to everyone I worked with this year and big congrats to all the other artists!
It’s done! I finished it just in time for the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival quilt show competition this weekend. 🙂 Whew!
The challenge was to incorporate their fabric in some way and to use the Fall Frolic theme. I used only a small portion of the fabric, but it fits with the overall vision I had and it counts! 🙂
The challenge fabric is seen here in the two yellow leaves. There are four of these leaves in the quilt (as there were only four in the fabric swatch provided).
I’m happy with my two witchy figures. I used different shapes (cut freehand) for their hair and used different embroidery on each of the two cloaks. Their cauldron is emitting smoke in varying colors which is billowing out between them.
I’m quite pleased with the techniques I used for the background – I think the sunset sky and land work well and the contrast in construction helps achieve the look I was going for.
The deadline for finishing this quilt is looming, so I spent nearly all of my crafting time last weekend working on it. Of course my plans for this quilt mean that there are a TON of leaves to attach, and of course I decided to do them all by hand, which takes longer than if I did them with a fusable product or by machine.
I started out by placing the leaves where I wanted them, just arranging without fastening anything in place.
Then I pinned everything in place. USE ALL THE PINS!
Then I started sewing them on. Thank goodness for the Ott Light I got on a super deal at Joann last year – the light was awful this weekend as it was snowing, sleeting, and raining pretty much the whole time.
Many hours of podcasts later, all the leaves were stitched in place! I finished off the weekend by cutting out the batting and backing fabric. I will hopefully grab a few minutes each weeknight this week to make the quilt sandwich and start quilting!
This weekend I focused a ton of time on my Fall Frolic quilt. The Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival is coming right up so I’ve got to wrap it up!
I cut out the very small pieces for the center of the quilt and decided that I wanted to use free form hand applique to attach them.
I did things one piece at at time for the most part, and just focused on getting things ON – I’m going to add more decorative applique stitches to some bits later on.
All this tiny stitching makes me VERY glad for the table top OTT light I picked up awhile ago. Especially since it was all snowy and gross all weekend and there wasn’t as much natural light as there usually is.
My Fall Frolic quilt is continuing to take shape, slowly but slowly. This past weekend I worked on the witches.
I came up with their robe-shapes and cut those out freehand, and then half-traced half-sketched some Blythe heads for the witches’ heads.
These paper templates are really more to keep me in line while I’m free cutting – it keeps everything in scale – and isn’t a 100% pattern that I’ll follow for sure.
These witches are on a much smaller scale than most things I’ve done before, so the pieces are itty bitty. I kept having to cut them down to be the right size.
Because these pieces are so small, I decided to hand stitch them all in place.
As tedious a task as this could be, I actually really enjoy it! The early morning sun kept my work desk well-lit and I knocked out both faces in not very much time. I don’t know what it is about working with tiny things that is so satisfying for me.
Last week I got a start on cutting out a zillion leaves for my Fall Frolic quilt, and this weekend I continued working on those trees.
I want to provide a background for the trees themselves, since I’m not planning on showing any exposed branches. I didn’t want the edges of this background to show as distinct from the leaves that will go over top, though, so I used my leaf templates to cut out leaf shapes along the edges of the background pieces.
These pieces may very well end up completely covered, but I just wanted to be sure that the foliage seemed solid underneath the individual leaf pieces.
I also started working on the foreground, with this cauldron and flames. I started working on the witches as well, but didn’t get too far yet. Next weekend I hope to get those complete!
It has been pretty busy in CraftyTown lately – I have a lot of things on the work table (and still trying to find a good replacement work table).
This past weekend I started working on the leaves for my fall frolic quilt.
This is the required fabric for this challenge – it must be incorporated in some way into the final product. I decided that I will cut out some individual leaves from this piece and use them as pieces along with a bunch more leaves from other fabrics. I’m not super hot on the green tones in the sample fabric, so this way I can stick with the more traditional fall colors.
I held the fabric up to the window and traced around a few of the leaves to make templates, which I then cut out. This was one of those times when I was very careful to pick up the right pair of scissors so I didn’t accidentally cut paper with my fabric shears (THE HORROR!).
I had already picked out some fabrics from my stash in colors that work with the challenge fabric, and then I used my templates to cut out a ton of these little leaves.
I just did reds at this point, but I may go through and do some oranges as well. I’d like to avoid the golds so they don’t get too confused with the sunset in the background. I also cut out some tree trunks to support all these leaves, but neglected to take a photograph of those. I really need to figure out the witches next!