Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Heading to Houston

I'm heading off to Houston tomorrow for the annual Quilt Festival.

I have mixed feelings about where I belong in this show.

It is predominantly a traditional quilt show, and the majority of attendees appear to be looking for quilts recognizable for use on a bed, and they're looking for fabrics, threads, patterns, and gadgets that they may not have seen at their local quilt shops. That's not to say that art quilts are not represented. SAQA always has a large exhibit space and at least one more special exhibit has art quilts for inspiration. But it's a quilt show, and that's very different than a museum or gallery show. That's not a bad thing, it's just that as I personally see my work fitting in to more of the latter, I wonder why I'm so attracted to the former.

As I move beyond just looking at the exhibits to hoping to have work in them, or maybe even to finding other textile-related ways to share my talents, I see many of my peers gravitating less towards the Festival, but to the Quilt Market where new fabrics and other products are introduced to shop owners and the like. It seems more and more to me that's where the real networking and opportunities happen. But I don't think it's where networking for textile art exhibits like I imagine for my work happens.

So what am I looking forward to this weekend? Inspiration! I love a good quilt. I love to see what people do with fabric. This year I have a quilt in the annual Dinner@8 exhibit. That's reason enough to go, as I like to see my work "in situ." I thoroughly enjoyed the year the Twelve by Twelve group I belonged to had an exhibit (photo above). It was great to see our work together and it was fantastic to get to know these internet friends in real life! I'm looking forward to the socializing. I get to spend time with a good friend and experience the show with her. I also enjoy meeting other enthusiasts who I may only know from our mutual blog reading or work admired in other shows. Shows like this one in Houston are also a good chance to volunteer for the organizations we benefit from. I always spend some time at the SAQA table where I not only get to meet other SAQA members, but I get to share it's benefits with potential new members or simply those who admire the variety in SAQA's exhibits.

Even though a quilt show may not be the best venue for my own work, I hope to return energized about textiles in general. And I hope to have made some new connections because you never know what might lead to something interesting.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Experiments in Minimalism

I just finished up a class in Minimalism/Reductive art. It is quite fascinating and much more difficult than it looks. You can find minimalism in all forms of art expression from traditional painting to contemporary film, video and music.

5 Red Squares by Liz Kettle

Minimalism began as a reaction to abstract expressionism. Basically a bunch of artists got together and wrote out the manifesto or rule book for Minimalism. These artists, Donald Judd, Dan Flavin and Sol LeWitt among others decided that they wanted to create an art movement that embraced an absence of expression and create art that was objective, non-referential, and kept the hand of the artist to an absolute minimum. 

The characteristics of Minimalism include:
1. Simplicity of form

2. use of monochromatic palette or primary colors
3. an emphasis on pure shape
4. removal of any appearance of composition
5. keeping true to the materials and often employing industrial materials or mass produced supplies rather than 'art' materials.

We had lots of great discussion in class if true Minimalist art is even possible to achieve. We all worked hard to question where the fine line was between abstract and minimalism. At what point was there that one thing too much. Everyone in the class produced great work from a variety of mediums including a couple videos. We all felt that the most difficult part was to create something minimalist while avoiding boring! 

If you would like to learn more there is a great abstract on Minimalism here.

I have a lot more ideas for exploring minimalism in stitch. Do you like it? Hate it? Want to try it? Let me know.

"A shape, a volume, a color, a surface is something itself. It shouldn't be concealed as part of a fairly different whole."
Donald Judd