Art Walk Central wrap-up

Modern Venus - on display at Helios Art Gallery

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!

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Art Walk Central 2016!

My piece, Modern Venus, is on display at Helios Art Gallery as part of this year’s Art Walk Central! I am so geeked and honored to have my art hanging in a bona fide art gallery!

Modern Venus by Anne Heidemann at Art Walk Central 2016 - Helios Gallery

For some reason the pics we took on our first visit didn’t turn out very crisply – I think that the overcast weather outside made the lighting weird or something. I’ll try to get some better ones!

Local folks, you can vote for me in the people’s choice contest! Register to vote at Art Reach or the CMU Art Gallery!

Modern Venus by Anne Heidemann at Art Walk Central 2016 - Helios Gallery

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It’s done! It’s done! It’s done!

FINALLY! I have finished my latest art quilt, Modern Venus.

Modern Venus art quilt by Anne Heidemann

I am so happy to have completed this gigantic project. It’s taken forever, mostly due to its size and the fact that we moved a bunch of times during the making of it. I’m really pleased with how it turned out, too.

As you can probably tell, this piece is a riff on Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, which led to the name I gave it: Modern Venus. I find works by other artists very inspiring, and I find that studying a work in the context of creating something inspired by it helps me to understand the original piece and notice the little details that I might not otherwise.

Modern Venus art quilt by Anne Heidemann

As do my previous art quilts, this one features a main figure inspired by Blythe. I also wanted to give the main figure unruly hair that would overwhelm the rest of her.

Modern Venus art quilt by Anne Heidemann

This figure is also menaced by moths which are swarming toward her, apparently having emerged from the dark side of the moon. One of the construction techniques I use in my art quilts is a blend of traditional patchwork pieces for the background accompanied by a top layer of appliqued figures/objects. I wanted there to be rough edges on this piece, so I left room for a little bit of fraying around the edges of most of the appliques. The moths are cut out from printed cotton fabric and then appliqued on to the background. I didn’t fully adhere all of them to the background so there is some movement in their wings.

Modern Venus art quilt by Anne Heidemann

I like to include details that are specific to my own experience, so the trees I created are White Pines, which are native to my home state (and current home) of Michigan.

Now for a little bit of behind-the-scenes: as I may have mentioned, our home has plaster walls, so hanging things is not as quick and simple as with drywall. This means that I don’t have a ready background for photographing large items like this, so I enlisted K’s help.

Finished a major project today! #annearchy #artquilt

Thanks to K, we have this terrifically handy frame to use for hanging things. It’s meant for use with a green screen, but it works well for a quilt, too!

Karl helping me with the backdrop

K then helped to hold up a temporary background (spare white sheet we normally use as a dust cover for large items in the basement) while I snapped pics.

Modern Venus art quilt by Anne Heidemann

I’m looking forward to finding a spot for this to hang in our home, as well as to entering it in some upcoming local shows.

Modern Venus art quilt by Anne Heidemann

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art quilt WIP: SO CLOSE

I am getting SO CLOSE to finishing this project! I really cannot wait to be done with it. My brain has already moved on to my next project.

Art quilt WIP

I’m actually working on the binding!

via GIPHY

I chose a gold fabric for the binding since I feel like it adds a ‘gold frame’ feel to the piece. Since the quilt is inspired by a grand Renaissance painting, it seems to fit. I am so happy to be in the home stretch of this project. I’m hoping that this coming weekend I can make the time to completely finish this project.

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WIP Wednesday: quilting by hand

I’m making more slow but steady progress hand-quilting my current art quilt WIP. It’s really slow going, but I’m getting there!

Art quilt WIP

As I stitch, I keep asking myself what I was thinking making such a large piece. A learning experience for sure!

Art quilt WIP

I started re-listening to the Harry Potter books for the thousandth time and that is helping the time pass more quickly while I’m stitching. I opted for the Stephen Frye version this time, as I’ve listened to it fewer times than the Jim Dale edition.

Art quilt WIP

Some of the quilting I’m doing is also decorative, but some is just functional to keep everything together. As usual I’m making decisions about what to do as I go along, which is working well for me. I like to have a basic plan in my head but also the flexibility to make changes to that plan on the fly. This is how making art works for me – do you find the same is true for you?

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WIP Wednesday: still stitching

I’m still steadily stitching away on the hand quilting of my current art quilt.

Hand stitching

I’m using relatively large stitches for a couple of reasons. 1.) I’m stitching in the ditch, so it’s all straight lines at this point, and 2.) I want it to go at least a little bit quickly.

Reverse side

Here’s what it looks like on the reverse side. I’m not being very picky about accuracy, since I want it to be clear that it’s hand quilted. I’m still figuring out what I want to do when I’m done stitching in all the ditches. I may do some decorative stitching on the figure, but I’m still thinking about what exactly. Maybe just something in her hair?

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WIP Wednesday: more moths and actual progress

I am making more progress on the seemingly endless process of making my latest art quilt.

Art quilt WIP Sunday

After sewing on all the moths, I decided to tack their wings so they don’t flop around so much. I was on the fence about this but went with my gut, which said that they should not be floppy.

This art quilt wants to be hand-quilted. I may be at this for awhile. #artquilt #handsewing

I also spent some time thinking about how I wanted to quilt this piece, and came to the conclusion that hand quilting is the way to go. It will probably take me forever, but I’ve got to go with what feels right. Right now I’m stitching in the ditch, and will add some other quilting when that’s done.

As usually happens when I’m in the home stretch of a big project, I’m getting serious ants in the pants to start the next one. Must wait until this one is complete!

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WIP Wednesday: moths en route

I finally made some more time for my art quilt project this past weekend! It seems like I spend about 90% of my art quilt time thinking about/wishing I was working on it, and only 10% actually getting to work on it. It’s been a busy season and there’s just too many things to do for the number of non-work hours I have in the day.

My idea for this part of the quilt is to have moths flying at the figure, approaching her from the direction of the moon. I did some preliminary placement of the moths this weekend, though I’m not totally wed to this placement yet.

Art quilt WIP

I may play around with it some more before I start sewing them on.

Art quilt WIP

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WIP Wednesday: hair we are

More slow progress this week!

At last post I had arranged and pinned into place the main figure and her hair.

Art quilt WIP

Now she is sewed into place. I have only outlined the locks of hair at this point, so they’re stitched in place but not yet embellished much.

Art quilt WIP

I will be doing more stitching on her hair to give it more texture and life. The idea is that she looks somewhat maddened, and I want her hair to reflect that madness.

I’m also pretty pleased with the effect of the fabrics I chose for her eyes.

Art quilt WIP

The tiny constellations in her pupils are a nice touch, eh?

Art quilt WIP

Slowly but slowly, this piece is coming along. I would really like to be able to make more time for it, but hobbies and, you know, having to earn a living. I’ll continue with the work on her hair soon!

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WIP Wednesday: trees and locks

A long, long time ago I started working on a larger art quilt, and then realized at a certain point that the apartment we were living in felt too small for me to work on this project. Last I checked in with this piece was almost a year ago (!) and I was starting the righthand side section of trees.

I sorted through all my stuff this past weekend, found all the existing pieces for this project, and actually got quite a bit of work done!

Art quilt WIP (Modern Venus)

The seven tree trunks were already in place and this weekend I freehand cut out the foliage, pinned it in place, and sewed it on. I was inspired by Michigan’s state tree, the White Pine, and tried to emulate the spindly look that many of them have.

After completing those, I started cutting out some locks of hair for the figure at the center of the quilt.

Art quilt WIP (Modern Venus)

I wanted her to be mostly covered, overwhelmed even, by the hair, so I wanted to make it big and layered. I think that the combination of orange and red toned fabrics I used was quite effective! I also cut out her eyes and pinned all of this into place. I haven’t 100% confirmed that I’m happy with where everything is yet, so I’ll wait a few days before sewing.

Because I decided to wait, I wanted to put the WIP up and out of the way so I would have my cutting table free for other small projects in the meantime. I haven’t really identified a good place to tack quilts up on the wall yet, so I improvised with the existing and as-yet unused curtain rod that came with CraftyTown. I didn’t get any pics of it happening, but Coraline was entranced by it after I hung it up! She kept approaching it, looking at the figure and slowly walking toward it while barooing her head. I wonder what she sees.

Art quilt WIP (Modern Venus)

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