The new year brings with it a list of new juried exhibitions. Some I have been thinking about for a couple of months, but most are simple opportunities to share my work with a larger community.
I think about exhibitions from different perspectives. This helps me create work that encourages me to improve technical skills,create work which challenges me to respond to a specific idea and to create a series of quilts that hold together visually and thematically.
Quilt shows offer opportunities for me to improve my technical skills.
I am becoming a skilled quilter. After taking a Handi Quilter workshop I have increased my understanding of how my mid arm machine works. My approach to common issues like thread tension has become systematic. I try to regularly play with quilt motifs that I pick up from books, minute motifs on the Handi Quilter YouTube Channel and from my own doodles. This focus on technical prowess is designed for quilt shows like Houston, Paducah and Road to California.
Exhibition calls for entry from organizations like the Studio Art Quilt Associates have a specific visual prompt.
My quilt “Sky Lanterns” was created as a response to a SAQA call for entry. When I thought about the theme, initially I looked through my photographs that I keep in a file called Future Projects. Nothing seemed to fit. So I turned to the definition of the word “Aloft” which is up into the air or overhead. Then I wrote a mental list of words I associated with things I see as I look up to the sky.
Clouds float in the sky. Astronauts explore space. Balloons fly up until they disappear from view. After several days of tossing ideas around in my head, I decided to use sky lanterns floating through banks of clouds as my vision of being aloft.
This quilt tested me digital skills because it required me to create a digital collage. Creating this quilt has added new possibilities for me to add to my portfolio. I have since made a few other quilts using digital collage.
Having a exhibition of my work is a dream that came true this year.
In the fall of 2019, I was asked by Handi Quilter to display my quilts at their corporate headquarters. Luckily for me I have a stash of quilts. As I sorted through these quilts I gathered 12 quilts that fit into different thematic groups.
One of the groups was of vintage photographs with elaborate or decorative backgrounds. They are quirky and were the first quilts that got me attention on a national scale. It is a group that seem to be my most successful work.
The next group was of landscape quilts. I have quilts depicting the beautiful landscape near my home in Southern Utah including Zion National Park. I also have some quilts from a trip to San Antonio Texas. I am expanding this series with a quilt of the Denver Botanic Gardens and some wonderful scenes from a recent trip to the Baltic and trips to Italy.
In the last couple of years I have extended by portraits to contemporary images of taken on cell phones. One potential series is of my daughter’s selfies. The signature element is of a face and shoulders that take up almost the entire composition. They are larger than life and I am taking some cues from Chuck Close and from advertising.
It was while putting together a show of my own work, I was able to see the possibilities of creating a series of work that could potentially become something to market as an exhibition in a gallery or to a small museum.
2020 is proving to be filled with opportunities!
Until next time.....