Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Art Quilting

Some of you may know that my dream as a child was to move to Paris, live in a flat and create art...paint, draw...roam the streets. While other girls were writing out their name as "Mrs. Jane Smith", I was trying to figure out how I was going to muster up the resources to fly myself to Paris. Doesn't sound like most visions of a young girl, but I can tell you it was heady stuff for me. I am sure I emerged into this world dazed and amazed by the visions of the world around me. Yes, I can even find splendor in the texture of places that most people find distracting. Urban images are very powerful to me.

Recently, our family went to see RENT. I loved it. I squirm in my seat at the thought of the visual and auditory and emotional splash of it all. I am not a linear thinker. My life rarely has gone in a straight direction...more an emergence in multiple directions. So, I think something like RENT fits my brain well. I don't need to know the whole story when the show is done. Don't have a need to have everything resolved, neat or tidy. While I look like I am pretty predictable, those who know me well, know that I am definitely a Bohemian artist in my soul. Not that that should cause anyone to worry. I just want to make sure you understand my next rambling about a new explosion of vision at the store. I loved the texture and color that emerged on the stage, especially of the costuming. I was born to express myself in fabric and thread. It just took me a little longer to embrace that as my medium of choice.

Ashley and I are likely kindred spirits and we have long been talking about venturing more into art quilting. This isn't a linear path and we wanted to make sure we weren't leading people into thinking there were right and wrong answers. After a lot of dreaming and talking, we developed a series of classes that Ashley started presenting recently called Art Quilting 101, 201 and 301. These are classes that are journeys.

Of course, in my job, I must practice some semblance of order which means I get to pay the bills, order the products, keep staff on task and keep our communication with our visitors consistent and fairly reliable. Other than making sure that my shoes are in the right place in my closet, this is about the limit of the organization I can stand.

Then when I am tempted by a class such as I witnessed recently at the store, I just want to escape my little office and go play with the other people who are busy reaching inside their minds for inspiration and expression. We had some very brave and inspired people emerge from the store after our first segment of Art Quilting classes.

Trudy recently returned from a Carribean vacation. She selected fabrics for her vision that represented the sunset and the flora from photographs she brought back with her. This just made me happy to see the fabrics sprayed out on the ironing board. Actually, I think Trudy was so inspired that just selecting and playing with the fabrics was a delight to her. I think Trudy is moving along the ironing board with a hot set of dance steps as she is remembering the waves beating on the beachfront. Take us back with you, Trudy!

Kay was busy interpretting fields from an overhead view of the world. A true gardener and artist of floral and greenery, Kay leans towards landscapes of fields and their subtle but distinct shading. The look on her face speaks volumes.

Valerie joined our Art Quilting class recently and did her own version of an undulating horizon of taupes and grays. Valerie often refers to herself as a novice of sewing. Yet, she constantly dazzles us with her adventuresome spirit. Recently, she purchased camisoles from the intimate apparel department and made them into Cami-totes for her family members. Complete with lace and embellishments, these were stunning versions of art that combined her garment skills with quilted pieces she has been exploring in War of the Scraps. Truly and artist with a new kind of paintbrush.

Mary is always open for a new adventure. While she typically works in structured piecing and is incredibly skilled at taking the tiniest bits and pieces and meshing them together into powerful graphic interpretations, Mary embraced this exercise wholeheartedly and explored the variety of stitch options her machine offers. A close-up of Mary's work introduced this blog.

Thanks ever so much for sharing a bit of your journey with our readers. I hope this is just the beginning of your new journey and anticipate that each of you will have more to share with us as you continue your trek into your own imagination.

All the Best to You,

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