Sunday, May 2, 2010

Karin attends a Quilt show

Visiting quilts shows is something I wouldn't normally do but hey, beggars can't be choosers.  Living here in relative isolation from the world of progressive stitch (I mean I get my fix of contemporary stitch viewing from off the World Wide Web, normally) I try to soak in all I can from the textile world around me.  This mostly involves scratching around for like-minded folks and attending anything and everything I can (other committments allowing) where fabric thread and alternative resources are used in any form of textile art.
Quilt Canada 2020 
This piece by Donna Clement gives a representation of the period of immigration in Canada when it was thought that there were too many folks coming in from The States and Canada was losing its diversely multicultural identity (reminds one of some people's attitudes today) and so advertisments were taken out in Europe to attract immigrants from there who could come to Canada for only $1.  The little squares represent the different countries people came from.  for more of Donna's work go to.
So the annual Canadian Quilt show - which was located, this year, in the TELUS Convention centre in downtown Calgary got my devoted attention for two days.
I searched through the list of courses and found one that might have offered something to add to my skill base.  Wrinkles and Bubbles tutor - Bonnie Voice.  
This is a work by Bonnie that she is particularly proud of.
This course proved to be a pleasant enough day with fellow stitchers but I learnt very little new... and what I did learn was hardly staggering....1) Use STRETCH interfacing to stabilise textured pieces of fabric. 2) .... erm struggling already... well, I hadn't actually used stretchy thread in my work before... and had little success with it during the course, owing to distractions and socializing!  3).........erm  erm  ....   so I don't think I need workshops any longer... I need Masterclasses. (OK OK big head!)
My output from a day's work.  There were many demonstrations and a quick fly through the various techniques ourselves... the piece middle at right is the most exciting... what I do with plastic in a grid - done with fabric... this certainly has potential.
Bonnie is a lovely teacher who is most generous with her ideas and happy for us to pass them along, so I will introduce this 'texturing fabrics' theme to my Kreative Momentum class.
Well, the most useful thing to come out of the workshop was advice from the volunteer, teaching assistant (Carry Anne) namely, that I ought to meet Anna Herget (who I had corresponded with 18 months previously).  Which I dutifully did and it was a wonderfully motivating meeting.
As to the main body of work at the quilt show.... A lot of it was dismiss-able (Please note the qualifier) by a viewer wishing to view new ideas in dynamic, contemporary, innovative art but when I discovered the works of Articulation and later FAN and SAQA groups I was taken to more diverse and exciting ideas.  I took advantage of the volunteers and members around there (there were many) and enjoyed the pieces very much. 
There is clearly a history to the various groups here in Calgary and it is interesting for me as an outside observer to pick up on the vibes.  However it is also depressing for me as a - want to have like-minded arty friends person - to find hurdles that I consider totally unnecessary and detrimental to all of our developments... 

Articulation is a (currently) closed group of City and Guilds (part 1) graduates, two of whom are now completing their degrees at the Julia Caprara school in London... presumably by correspondence...  I don't approve of exclusivity, yet I do understand that some groups can get too large and unwieldy.  I would be only too happy though if they could open their doors, there being so little opportunity to develop professionally locally.  I wondered also if I could offer workshops in techniques for them too... it is a give and take type of sharing we all benefit from.
The piece above is by Lesley Turner... See  her website for details.
Lesley Turner took plenty of time to show us around the entire displays and this was pure pleasure.  Images on her blog show the artists too.  Photography at the show was clearly signed as "Personal Use Only" and I was happy with that, but Lesley gave me permission to use the images here... and I direct you to their website for more information.
Above, a knitted piece that discusses the life and death of the trees.  Lesley Turner.
People looking around the displays at Articularion (and FAN) were clearly excited by them and I concur.  Some of the work had heavy echoes of Julia Caprara style and methods... who could help but be influenced by such a wonderful teacher.  Many pieces were excellent in design and completion.  The work of Vicky Newington was well represented and illustrated her talents as painterly artist and stitcher.  I love the way she incorporates embellisher work rather more subtly than is often the case by other artists.  Her lines were clear and the pieces uncluttered.
The works were a mixed bag from wholly abstract to more representational

 and Lesley discussed at length connections to the themes of architecture, natural history, conservation and so on.
Here is a piece by Leann Clifford
And Donna Clement

I moved on from there to see GeoPhysical exhibition by FAN.  Photography here was only allowed for personal use.  The work was stunning and I truly believe that in this Oil City of Calgary this exhibition should be shown, if not housed in its entirety, in one of the large oil company offices downtown.  The work of Kristin Rohr, Margie Davidson and Jenny Perry (to name a few artists whose work resonated with me and my geological background and current interests)  should be viewed.
Do check out Arlee's blog she has more photos from the GeoPhysical exhibition  and excellent notes.
The quilts of the show, that is, the juried pieces, I felt had been selected with the views of the majority of Guild members in mind.  It would be difficult for the judges of this organisation to step out of the box  and perhaps because of this some pieces that were submitted to the show were sadly absent from it.  (I know this situation develops in many textile art forums.  And remember only too well the discussions at Art of the Stitch in London many years ago.  (Could it be that the Canadian fibre art scene is at this turning point now?).  However, it was so good that the quilts and other works by Articulation and FAN and SAQA which might be deemed to be rather edgy, were shown and given so much space, that is a good sign.

A stunning piece by..... My Mother Always Wanted me to go to Japan - a Kimono of Japanese silks was absolutely fantastic.  It incorporated some fine shibori which I drank in!!!  I will try to get permission to upload an image.

The main thing about having been at the course and the show is how it has given my (already) creative self a boost and ideas are popping into my head unbidden- they aren't based on anything in particular that happened at the show, but clearly something was awakened.  And I am very excited by the development.  Thank you Canadian Quilters Association.


Unknown said...

Karin - thanks for sharing your thoughts and comments re quilts and quilters. Recently I have been thinking about a move into quilts - my costumes would be hard to exhibit but quilts could work :-) I too am finding a current course (just done session 2 of 3)to be of little value - the first session was on using all those products people collect - pastes and moulding stuff - stuff I am not interested in (but did not realise would be on the agenda), the second part was on texture in sitching and also covered techniques we already use like twin needle!! I have discovered the 3rd session will be on making a book to house the samples from 1 and 2 - Hey really exciting!! :-) I too need a Masterclass!! Love your current works!

Karin Millson said...

There were some jackets submitted to the show, juried and accepted and then they judged winners in that category. I think there may be a slow acceptance of art to wear here.... or maybe they have already done that and moved on. It is difficult for me to comment as I am so new to this location.
Anyway what is a Quilt. 3 layers. That's all.
Thanks for writing, it is nice to know you are out there.

arlee said...

You know what? I saw EVERY part of the exhibit except for ARTiculations--a Freudian response i suppose to not being allowed to "join'! Sorry i did miss it as it does look like i missed out on some fascinating stuff.

Karin Millson said...

I hope my photos helped a little bit. I have more images but if you look at Lesley's website she shows a lot... also I haven't looked at each of their sites but that might be a good thing to do... you know how to do this better than me....

Kitchener Quilter said...

Karin: I too, came away from Quilt Canada with ideas exploding in my head, and see inspiration everywhere at the moment. I think is is my response to being in such an environment of creativity. Seemed sacred or spiritual to me. Anyway, I'm just riding the wave, and sketching out ideas as fast as I can, for later use.

Donna Clement said...

Hi Karin,
thought I'd let you know that the first piece from your Articulation post was mine (immigration) - can add my blog and / or web site to it too.
Donna Clement

glad you got to see the show and too bad Arlee missed us!