Archive for the ‘Essays/Interviews’Category

I Feel A Chill: The Tip of the Iceberg

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Artwork by Kathy Nida

Could we have one more chat about Kathy Nida’s two artworks being pulled from a Studio Art Quilt Associates’ exhibit showing at an American Quilter’s Society Quilt Week before I return to our regularly scheduled programming?  Thanks!  (Please read more about the artwork and the kerfuffle on Kathy’s blog.).

You may be thinking that I and other artists and those who love art quilts are over-reacting.  What’s the big deal?  It’s just two art quilts that won’t be shown at what are considered to be quite traditional quilt venues.

But I’m very worried that the removal of Kathy’s artwork is just the tip of an iceberg that will quietly and surely threaten the gains art quilts have made to be accepted in the art world and the freedom we have as artists to talk about, in our art quilts, what’s important to us.

I’m going to say “Kathy’s art quilts” in the following scenarios, but substitute in your mind your or anyone else’s artwork that might contain something. anything that might offend someone, somewhere.

What about the next time Kathy’s art quilts comes up for jurying? Jurying is blind, but Kathy’s artwork is very distinctive (that’s one of the things I most love about it!)  The juror (admittedly a poor specimen) hesitates for just a moment and thinks,”Oh, no, I’ve spent so much time thinking about and jurying this exhibit. If there’s controversy over this artwork, that’s all anyone is going to remember about it.”

A board is considering booking an exhibit in which Kathy’s art quilts are included. They hesitate,   “Could someone be offended?  Will there be controversy? Will that controversy drive away (paying) visitors?”

An artist thinks to herself, ” Will this artwork be difficult to exhibit because of . . .” I’m pretty sure the rest of the art world has accepted the human figure, male or female, clothed or not, as acceptable for general viewing for quite some time now. Ditto on myriad other non-issues in the art world. We shouldn’t be fighting these battles again unless we’re not really talking about art.

A more traditional quilt venue is considering booking a Studio Art Quilt Associates’ exhibit,  “Let’s think a minute about that, remember what happened with that People and Portraits exhibit?”

Do you feel a chill?

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I do. I have one foot in the lifeboat already and I’m thinking there is not going to be room for my beloved Bernina aboard our little rubber boat.

It’s art if it challenges and invites us to look at the world in new ways.  We don’t have to accept or embrace the artist’s vision, but we should be able to appreciate that the artist is thinking about issues (race, gender, the environment, politics, etc., etc.) which really, truly matter or sharing a unique perspective on the world in which we all live.

Individual artist’s visions and how she/he expresses those visions might be controversial.  That’s OK.  In fact, it’s great.  Art is, and has been for centuries, one of the best vehicles to engender conversation.  Let’s keep art quilts in the conversation.

UPDATE: You could still protest per below, but I’m pretty sure AQS is not budging from their position. Here is something positive you can do – become more aware of artists’ rights.  Leonie Hartley- Hoover shared these two very useful sites:

http://www.artistrights.info/

Know Your Rights: A Tool for Artists

What YOU Can Do:  Use the addresses for the American Quilter’s Society provided in this well-reasoned and effective letter of protest written by Mary Beth Frezon.  And don’t forget the power of social media by posting on FB: “American Quilter’s Society – Please reinstate Kathy Nida’s artworks to the Studio Art Quilt Associates’ exhibit “People and Portraits” currently showing at the AQS Quilt Weeks. #aqs

 

 

 

 

24

08 2016

Censorship is never good nor right

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Artwork by Kathy Nida

Who knew art quilts could be so subversive that they would need to be banned?  That’s just what happened to artist Kathy Nida.  Kathy’s work has naked people, so don’t click the link if that bothers you. Kathy’s post has all the details of what this situation is all about.  Except for the fact that both of her works have now been shipped back so no one on the American Quilter’s Society Quilt Week circuit will ever see them.  All because one person complained.

I want to speak out against the removal of her artwork for two reasons.  The organization refusing to show Kathy’s artwork is the American Quilter’s Society. This is also the organization through which the National Quilt Museum has chosen to tour the Gala of the Unexpected exhibit of which my artwork is part. I am embarrassed that my artwork is being shown by an organization that is willing to remove artwork rather than try to make a complaint into a teachable moment about the power and value of art.

The second reason is that censorship is never good nor right.  Here’s a great general description of what censorship is from the American Civil Liberties Union.

Thank you, Kathy Loomis, for pointing out that censorship is unconstitutional only when carried out by the government.  But as the ACLU page notes, private censorship is “best countered by groups and individuals speaking out and organizing in defense of the threatened expression.”  That’s us!

Kathy Nida’s graphic rendition of the human condition may not be for everyone, but to me it seems that artwork engendering discussion should be given a place of honor, rather than removed.

Please contact the American Quilter’s Society today from this page and let them know politely that the removal of Kathy Nida’s artwork should be re-considered and reversed.. Or use the addresses provided in this well-reasoned and effective letter of protest written by Mary Beth Frezon.  And don’t forget the power of social media by posting on FB and your own blog.

18

08 2016

Mary Ann Van Soest: Immersed in Nature

VSoest400Mary Ann Van Soest

Mary Ann Van Soest is a prolific exhibiting artist, especially since becoming a fulltime artist upon her retirement from a career as a successful real estate agent.  She lives in rural Indiana and her artwork (art quilts, paintings, and photographs) frequently feature the scenery she sees and, obviously, loves.  Visit Mary Ann’s blog for inspiring photos of her surroundings and her art.  Mary Ann has donated a multi-part prize to the Fiber 5K to Fight Cancer – it’s amazing!  Read on for more details.

 1.  What made you decide to Sponsor the Fiber 5K to Fight Cancer?
My family’s experiences with cancer is the reason I continue to support the fight against cancer.

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Mary Ann has covered a box with her own nature-inspired altered fabrics and embellishments.
Inside are 3 half yards, 3 quarter yards and an eighth yard of her nature-inspired altered fabics
as well as muslin and PFD fabric.

2.  What are you working on in your studio?
I have some very big projects going on in the studio. I am doing a 12 foot wide by 6 foot tall landscape art quilt in 5 panels. I also want to have something to enter in Quilt Nationals.

EcoColourbookMary Ann is also including this book, Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles by India Flint

3.  What is one of your goals for 2014?
My goal is to enjoy the year and enjoy fiber art. Spending time in the studio doing what I love.

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Left:  Fabrics  Right:  Top of the box.  Mary Ann’s prize will be up for a drawing when we have reached the 2K ($2000 raised for the American Cancer Society) mark on the Fiber 5K to Fight Cancer.

4.  What big trend do you see in the fiber/textile world in 2014?
It seems like there are lots of sparkles on quilts something I am not inclined to try.

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Fabric detail.

 5. What advice do you have for new artists?
For a new artist( I was just 5 years ago) is to try everything and to ask questions. You never know what you may like and your art will evolve as you grow. Enjoy what you are doing. Don’t make art for entries make art you love and the work will find acceptance.

VSoestfabric2400 Fabric detail.

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The Fiber 5K to Fight Cancer opens January 15 at 10 a.m. Central with a goal of $5000 donated directly to the American Cancer Society through Fiberart For A Cause.  Fiberart For A Cause, through the generosity of fiber patrons, artists, and businesses, has already donated more than $230,000.

10

01 2014

Deborah Boschert: Art to Make You Happy

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Deborah Boschert

Deborah Boschert’s art always make me happy.  There is a joie de vivre about it that is irresistable with houses, stones, leaves and handwriting frequently appearing in her artwork.  Stop by her website and you will see that the creative spirit is alive and well in Deborah’s world. Her art quilts and fabric collages have been exhibited all over the world as well as published in books and magazines. Her award-winning artwork can be seen through February 21 at the Visual Arts Society of Texas exhibition at the Gough Gallery in Denton, TX.

1.  What made you decide to Sponsor the Fiber 5K to Fight Cancer?
I’ve long admired Virginia’s Fiberart For A Cause and this year cancer struck our family in an entirely unexpected and devastating way. We are full of hope and healing. I am motivated to do what I can to help raise awareness about cancers of all kinds and and generate funds that will help cancer patients in any way possible.

2.  What are you working on in your studio or what’s new in your biz?
I’ve been thinking about creating a new art quilt made of materials that I’ve never used before. On a recent trip to the Dallas Museum of Art, I saw several pieces of art that helped me focus my idea. I’m still in the pondering state, but I’ll move to the design wall soon. I recently released an online fabric collage workshop and I’m preparing more for 2014.

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One lucky donor during the Fiber 5K will win a copy of Deborah’s DVD,
Quilting Arts Workshop: Contemporary Fabric Collage.

3.  What is one of your goals for 2014?
To actually read the magazines I subscribe to!

4.  What big trend do you see in the fiber/textile world in 2014?
Hand embroidery, digital fabric printing, recycled materials.

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The same lucky winner will also receive a copy of the book:
Twelve x Twelve: The International Quilt Challenge.
(My review of this book was summed up in two words, Buy It.)
The 2012 Series and the Colorplay Series of art quilts from
Twelve by Twelve: The International Art Quilt Challenge can be seen on exhibit in 2014. See schedule here.

 5.  What advice do you have for new artists?
Always make time to create new, personal artwork that you love!

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The Fiber 5K to Fight Cancer opens January 15 at 10 a.m. Central with a goal of $5000 donated directly to the American Cancer Society through Fiberart For A Cause.  Fiberart For A Cause, through the generosity of fiber patrons, artists, and businesses, has already donated more than $230,000.

 

09

01 2014

Fiber On a Whim – Designed to Inspire

 

FiberWhimPhotoKristin Rodriguez and Jan Girod of Fiber on a Whim

Jan Girod and Kristin Rodrigues are a dynamic mother/daughter team.  Their goal is to inspire artists to try new surface design and embellishment techniques or expand their current use by providing fabric, paints, dyes, threads, beads, buttons, and more.  You have to love a fiber biz that states on their website: We hope to bring a smile to your day through the website or through use of our products. As everyone knows, we take life way too seriously, this is no dress rehearsal. So have fun and enjoy yourself!

Read more about FOAW’s adventures in the fiber world and products (the world’s biggest stack of hand-dyed burlap) on their blog.

One lucky donor to the American Cancer Society through the Fiber 5K to Fight Cancer opening January 15 will win both of the beautiful Fiber On a Whim collections shown below.

1.  What made you decide to Sponsor the Fiber 5K to Fight Cancer?
Many friends and a few family members have battled cancer over the years so it is a cause close to our hearts.  The fact that you started these fundraisers out of Minnesota really made it feel even closer to home as we are from there.  The efforts you have made to bring awareness and raise money to fight this battle is something we are happy to support.

BriarPatchTexture200Briar Patch Texture Pack  ($24.95 value)
Burlap 14.5″ x 18″, Cheesecloth Gradation,
Carrier Rod Mix, Cocoon Mix and Perle Cotton Sz 5

2.  What’s new in your biz?
2014 is bringing many changes to Fiber on a Whim.  One part of our hand-dyed line has been picked up by a distributor and we are looking forward to managing this new challenge.  We are also hoping to develop more patterns that encourage artists to try the new and different.

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Marigolds Fiber Play Pack ($34.95 value)
Fat quarter of hand-dyed organdy, a silk hankie matching the colorway name, a half yard of hand-dyed cheesecloth,
perle cotton, 3yds of variegated silk ribbon, 3 silk cocoons, 3 silk carrier rods,
a packet of beads, and a spool of Sulky Blendables.

3.  What is one of your goals for 2014?
Our goal is to survive 2014!  We know this sounds like a strange answer but with the new dynamics of our business we will be making a lot of changes and just hope to make it to the end retaining some sanity.

4.  What big trend do you see in the fiber/textile world in 2014?
We’ve seen a move towards artists accepting of doing what moves them at the time.  If that means stepping outside of the traditional box, they are doing it and quite willingly.  We didn’t hear “I’m just not that creative” as much this year.

5.  What advice do you have for new artists?
Our advice to new artists is to play and experiment with techniques to build your toolbox. New ways to piece or new art techniques…..whatever moves you try it out without fear. Start small and you won’t have the worry of wasting supplies if you don’t like the result.

Fiber5Kroute400The Fiber 5K to Fight Cancer opens January 15 at 10 a.m. Central with a goal of $5000 donated directly to the American Cancer Society through Fiberart For A Cause.
Fiberart For A Cause, through the generosity of fiber patrons, artists, and businesses, has already donated more than $230,000.

 

09

01 2014