Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Conceptual Art Challenge

In October, our group decided to explore conceptual art.  We challenged ourselves to create pieces of artwork that were conceptual in nature, but were related in some way to the topic of art quilting.  Without a doubt, the meeting in which we presented our pieces was one of our best ever.  Some of the pieces were incredibly poignant and beautiful, some were clever, and others made us laugh.  All of the pieces made us think.  Enjoy our creations and the accompanying statements.

Martha Buhl:  Discard

I noticed a worn American flag, white stripes shredded to thin air, hanging out of a dumpster in a gas station.

My first impulse was to pull it out and on my way home, drop it in a special drive up box at the American Legion.

My usual station was closed for renovation.  The attendant at the new station was a surly sort.  Dreading any exchange with him, I decided to come back that night and remove the flag.

Upon my return I found that the flag was either gone or buried underneath a new discarded transmission.

My feeling of guilt from allowing my dread of this man to keep me from doing what was right for me to do has fueled me to make this piece.

The flag, discarded the first time, and then essentially a second time by my hesitation, made me focus on all the things we discard so readily – some of them being life, youth, hope, choice, happiness, time, self, food, energy, security, plans, gifts, control, our environment, love future, freedom, and family.

Materials used: paints, found objects, Distress Ink Pad, fabric,
                           Markers, cotton batting, Fast2Fuse

Nike Cutsumpas: A Piece of Fiber Art - an Art Quilt

This piece of work integrates all the materials and tools needed to create a piece of fiber art,
specifically an Art Quilt, with two layers of fabric and the inner layer of batting.  It need not go
any further.

A designer/maker who may inherit this piece has the freedom to plan and devise whatever
intention he may offer.  He may explore his thoughts and feelings and express them.  He may
have a message or may not.  He may also utilize different surface techniques with inks, paints, 
threads and other surface design applications.

He has the freedom to change this piece of work to his own impression.

Barbara Drillick:  "Guilty Squares"

A byproduct of a fiber artist’s work is a large quantity of fabric scraps. Typically these are saved in the hope of using them in future work. In reality, only a few are used and most of them accumulate to the point of creating guilt in the artist.

The guilt from not productively utilizing these scraps causes some fiber artists to make squares from them. Although this is not a difficult endeavor, it is labor intensive. This creates additional guilt as it is not an efficient use of time: the artist should be doing more creative and productive work.

In addition, to feeling guilty for not having the foresight to make a plan to use these squares, some fiber artists take them, stack them, bundle them and assuage their guilt by returning them to the scrap box.

Gail Ellspermann:

"The Un-Quilt" is my version of what a quilt is, but is not.  It is fabric and batting and thread, stitched in layers.  However, the batting is on the outside, nothing is aligned or square, the stitching is willy-nilly, and the holes in the quilt mean that it will not be warm, like a "real quilt".  So here it is....I don't know what you can call it, but is is NOT a "Quilt".

"Potential" is, in theory, a quilt, that is yet to be.  It is a quilt in my mind, isn't that enough?

Detail of "Potential"

Cindy Green:  Essentials

         My conceptual art piece, entitled “essentials” is intended to convey what, to me, are just that:  the essentials of an art quilt.  These are texture, color, layering, contrast, self-expression, and fun.  To express this, I simply went through my stash of commercial fabrics and chose some of my favorite swatches based on texture and color.  I spent quite a bit of time arranging and rearranging the materials, and even considered leaving my piece held together with pins so the viewer could rearrange the pieces according to their own whims.  Placing these was almost like doing a crossword puzzle, as I tried to place swatches with similarities in texture or color next to each other, but the general effect is one of blending as well as contrast.

         Because this is a conceptual art piece, I put less emphasis on shape and chose to work mostly with squares and rectangles.  These shapes refer back to more traditional patchwork quilting, and how art quilting is similar, but also very different.  The placement and layering of the swatches also resembles weaving, the fundamental basis of all fabric.  Although the piece is quite abstract, the textures and colors of the chosen fabrics and embellishments may bring to mind elements of nature such as sand, sunlight, sky, spring, autumn, water, and trees.  I kept the stitching simple, using only basic machine and hand stitching, decorative but whose primary function is holding the pieces together. 
         Embellishments are some of the best things about art quilting, so I had to include some in my piece.  I have included buttons (many of them square rather than the traditional round), beads, ribbons, copper mesh, copper foil, safety pins and various natural objects.
         Because my chosen medium is fabric (not paper, paint, pencil or photograph), I wanted to distill this piece down to the very basic qualities that distinguish art quilting from other forms of art.  Fabric is something we all touch every day and I wanted the viewer to see art in fabric, to feel the allure of color and texture in my piece, to want to reach out and touch it.  I wanted them to see the challenge and fun in choosing and placing these fabrics, how a fabric may look different placed over, under, or next to another one, and make them want to try it themselves, to express their own ideas.  I also wanted to make art quilting seem accessible to everyone, not just those who can measure, cut, sew and draw accurately or who have a lot of expensive equipment.   Texture, color, layering, contrast, fun, self-expression:  to me, the essentials of an art quilt.

Jamie Horikawa:  Not Yet Sewn

Materials:                         Commercial Wood Ruler, Paper, Quilting Pins
Poem Entitled:             Vivienne by Kei Horikawa is: Measured, Cut and Pinned

I have not drunk from that glass since I was a child

It seemed to grow bigger with each year

The rims gleams, pins upon the cushion

Buttons and thread across the floor

A family occupation

Women busy with their hands

Until old age seized them

Stilling the machine

Singing Hebrew prayers

Roasting bones

Four generations held in one woman

Swallowed beneath the cover

Of a throw quilt.

Cecelia Leiseroff: "Process"

Print 4 black & white skeleton pictures onto paper. Cut each to size 6" x 3".  Fuse each piece to blue felt material. Iron to set fuse.  Make an open rectangular box by attaching each side to another by using scotch tape.  Cut a 3 1/2" x 3 1/2 bottom out of heavy fusible & glue to bottom of box.  Use blue sharpie to decorate bottom & top edges.

Ann Louise Lyman: Paradox in a Bubble

I enjoy the solitude and the peacefulness of working on art quilts in my studio.  This is my escape from the world of clocks, time pressures, to-do lists, and a myriad of daily challenges.

When I work, I create this bubble where I experience harmony, relaxation and timelessness.  This space brings out my creative energy.

However,  even in my bubble, the world of art quilting presents a paradox.  While peaceful, I am also confronted with deadlines, multiple email messages and the challenges in learning to use the latest technology.

Here is the paradox in art quilting:

While the complicated and highly technological world of computers seems a contradiction to the work of creating art with fabric and thread; by contrast, it is exactly this equipment that enables me to produce exciting new effects and share images of my art.

My glass bubble is my escape from the collage of fast-paced daily life in 2010.    The iPod Nano symbolizes the paradox of technology inside my glass bubble.

Nancy Mirman:

Conceptual Art

Nancy Mirman

I like fabric.

Barbara Sferra: Tangled, Surrounded, Inspired by Fiber

I have been working and creating with fiber in one way or another for many years.   Although the term fiber wasn’t in use when I started, over the years fabric, embroidery floss, ribbons, threads and stitching have all gone into my art. 
 This piece is a 3-dimensional self-portrait composed of photos I took of myself and then manipulated in Photoshop.  It shows some of my reactions to always being tangled, surrounded and inspired by Fiber!

Kendell Storm:  Empty Nest

Reverse side of Feathered Nest

Joyce Sullivan:

Imagine that you cannot see and therefore color
has no impact.
Fiberart can still be SENSE-ational because of it’s

Vivien Zepf:  What My Teacher Made Me Do
   (Performance "art")