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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Quilts as Art

Summer has been very long and packed full of activity for me and I have slipped behind with my blog posts. Each morning I have to figure out which hat I really must put on for the day: exhibit/challenge leader, quilter or blogger to say nothing of the usual and/or mundane ones that also must be worn like homeowner/domestic toiler, family organizer, friend...

This post will feature something I did wearing firstly my "exhibit chair" hat for Great Falls Studios (GFS) but also my personal quiltmaker personna so I could enter one of my own pieces for the exhibit.

Founded eleven years ago GFS is a group of local artists who all live and/or work at their art in Great Falls. We number just over 100 members who work in a variety of mediums; the majority work with paint or camera but we have a sprinkling of other mediums including fibre, wood, clay. In September we had our first major all-media juried show and it remains on display until the end of September at the USGS in Reston. The show was a huge amount of work for my co-chair Silvia and I but it was very well received.

Thanks to Silvia Gonzalez Roman for the photo above taken at the end of hanging day. Because the exhibit was to hang in the United States Geological Survey building we wanted to give it a theme loosely tied to the mission of that particular Federal agency thus the exhibit title "A Sea of Sticks and Stones".

One challenge that I have personally taken on in recent years is to take quiltmaking out of the craft closet and place it on the art stage where I feel it belongs. This exhibit provided just such an opportunity.

 We had 87 pieces juried into the show but I'm going to give you a quick tour featuring the fiber art while showing you how well the mixed media all hung happily together. For instance, above you can see, starting on the left, one of three pieces by quilter Cindy Grisdela, then an oil painting, two digital photographs, my own quilt piece, a collage with photograph below and finally four lovely pieces by potter Laura Nichols.
 On the left, "Water Lilies II" by Roberta Beasley, which was awarded second prize, "Shades of Autumn" by fiber artist (quilter) Cindy Grisdela which won one of the four honorable mentions and on the right, "In the Attic" a mixed media piece by Jennifer Duncan.
Again starting on the left with "Winter Trees" by acrylic artist MaryEllen Mogee, then "Autumn Forest" by Cindy Grisdela, "My Daughter in Monticello" in oil by Yihan Huff above and "Rosebud"   by photographer Don Fowler below.

And here is a view of my own entry "Sticks Adrift in a Stony Sea".  You'll need to wait until the exhibit is over and my piece is home again so I can take some detail shots to let you see the finer points of my wallquilt.

This is one of the five wall quilts I have stitched up since May so no wonder I have been feeling like I don't have a moment to spare! You should be able to click on the photos to see them at larger scale.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Where Poppies Grow in August

  The block for August is Winged Square and the story that went with it, on the Remembering Almo project, is about the US Field Hospital unit 3 crossing firstly the Moselle River and then the Rhine River. That unit was the first US unit of troops to ever cross the Rhine and it happened on December 11, 1918.

For this block there was a very big challenge with all those tiny squares. There was a fabric sitting patiently waiting to be used and when I measured that flower motif and it fit those tiny squares I decided to go for it and use it. The stripe fabric was also carefully cut and in some areas reminds me of shoulder epaulettes.

Since beginning this project I have been doing some reading about life in the trenches and it was very grim. Many lives were lost, not because of direct wounding by the enemy but by troops succumbing  to typhoid, complications from diarrhea and dysentry and poor diet and living conditions. 

Indeed, in the research done by my sister she comments that Grandpop spent 227 days out sick of the 260 days the ANZACs spent on Gallipoli and this likely saved his life. The last two weeks of August 1915 saw the 8th Company involved in the battle for Hill 60 but by the end of August Grandpop had contracted enteric fever (typhoid) and was evacuated to Malta on September 4, less than a month after his return to Gallipoli.

We now have eight out of the twelve blocks completed for the project. It is time to get serious about creating the setting blocks for I have decided to set my blocks in a style different than the one used by the designer of this Remembering Almo project.