Monday, October 4, 2010

Beyond Comfort

Yesterday, six days before the deadline (!), I posted my two entries for Beyond Comfort, a SAQA exhibit that calls for entries that push ones own personal artistic envelope. It sounded like a huge leap of members' faith to enter real experiments. It turns out that it is a very interesting that I actually enjoyed.

This first photo is a detail of my first entry "Looking Forward/Looking Back". I was trying to challenge the definition of a quilt. Granted art quilts ARE a challenge in that they are not usually intended to be functional, but rather artful.

So. If you define a quilt as three layers held together by stitches, the implication is that the inside layer is insignificant, however useful a function it might serve. I started with the inside layer, the batting, being the star. I dyed wool batting in a freehand style that, not surprising to me, seemed to yield a landscape form. I layered the batt with cheesecloth, that I had dyed in the same way, on the front and tulle on the back. The whole was machine and hand stitched together. Then later embellished with felted wool, shells, and a few weathered sticks.

This second entry was an experiment several months ago. With a piece of white cotton I rubbed with crayon over the cracks in the cement floor of one of the Guilford Art Center's classrooms. That too yielded a landscape which I dyed by simply pouring dye pots over while holding the cotton in the air. It was later machine stitched.

Postscript added in the middle here: The title of this piece is "Promised Land". I'm not a formally religious person even though I studied religions at length in the long distant past. This Promised Land reference is to a more current place. The landscape that emerged on the cloth reminded me of the foothills of northern California where I was born and my mother's previous three generations hailed from. It was called the Promised Land quite seriously by many of the settlers coming to farm, pan for gold, build railroads and raise their families. I have fond memories there.

I really enjoyed both experiments and was bemused that my subconscious created landscapes. A nice break. I seem to be stuck in the "leaves and trees as metaphors for life" stage. So the bigger picture landscapes is a nice change for me. I guess the challenge to stretch worked....I left the leaves (for the moment) and used cracks in the floor to crawl out of a rut.


  1. Congrats! I'll keep my fingers crossed that you'll get the "you are in!"-notification! That would mean I might get to see your quilt at the Festival of Quilts at Birmingham, UK. Looking forward to it ;-)) I'm still not sure whether I want to try my luck, too ...

  2. Both very cool, Diane. Good luck with the show!

  3. Very nice! I hope to see the crayon one someday, and I know Looking Forward/Looking Back is even more beautiful in person! Best of luck...

  4. What beautiful pieces, Diane -- you look completely comfortable with both of them. Wish I could see them in person. Best of luck on your entries.