Archive for November, 2010

Pamela Allen – On Making and Collecting Art

Pamela Allen, one of the invited artists for the ONE fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, is well-known throughout the world for her bold and painterly art quilts.  What I love about Pamela’s artwork is that she is not afraid of emotion.  She can make you laugh and she can make you cry; sometimes while looking at the same artwork.  Stop by her website and see what I mean.  She is also highly prized as a teacher and has helped many art quilters to “think like an artist.”

Picasso Revisited by Pamela Allen.  Collage available February 16 during the ONE Fundraiser.

Pamela has donated five collages to ONE and was kind enough to share her thoughts in a little Q&A:

1.  Why are you participating in the ONE fundraiser for the American Cancer Society?
In general, I think this is a worthy cause. But more than that, my own sister has been attacked in the last five years by Lymphoma. She has soldiered on with rather draconian treatment including bone marrow transplant and stem cell treatment. Despite this, she has recently had a recurrence so I am doubly motivated to do anything I can to beat this awful disease.

2.  Tell us a little bit about your collages for ONE.
Mine all begin with a bubble jetted fragment from a painting by an artist I admire like Matisse, Picasso, Miro and even a favorite outsider artist. They are very small. [Note:  All ONE collages will be mounted to 10×8″] I have built a fabric environment for the image,  by completing the implied space or figure with colours and elements that may tell a new story and integrate the fragment into a full composition.  I was particularly interested in NOT trying to camouflage the fragment but rather have it blatantly different from the rest yet still part of the whole.

3.  What are you working on in the studio now?
I am doing a biggish piece about the new kind of zoos I have seen on television. The animals are captive yet they live in very authentic and large environments with other animals. I have chosen to do the savanna but of course MY animals are turquoise zebra and polka dot Antelope.

4.  Where do you find inspiration?
Oh, anywhere really….from my every day life. relationships, things I see on TV, books I’ve read. Among other artists I am inspired by modern Masters such as Picasso, Matisse, Vuillard, Van Gogh, Gaugin. My favorite contemporary artist is David Hockney. And I LOVE a lot of outsider art, not so much for the imagery, but by the way the expression seems to bypass the head and go directly from the heart to the hand.

Wanna Bite? by Pamela Allen.  46×48″  More information here.

5.  Do you collect art?  If so, how do you know a piece is right for your collection?
Yes and it’s very eclectic as I just buy whatever I like with no regard to what our “style” is in the house.I have a collection of folk/outsider art. We collect the work of contemporary painters, sculptors and printmakers as well. I have a website page that shows what I collect.

6.  What advice do you have for artists who are seeking their unique voice or direction in their own artwork?
Now there’s the rub!  My main caveat is it takes a long time! But the journey should be a pleasure. I sort of ruined my first years as an independent artist because I was always looking at my work in relation to others….was it as meaningful, important,relevant as what I was seeing?  That will kill your soul. Once I simply decided to do what I wanted, depict the subjects that interested me and in a style that may at first have been derivative but slowly evolved into ME I became eager every day to go to work!

7.  What would you do with a year free to do what you wanted with no responsibilities or financial concerns?
For much of the time I would travel. I would go to Italy, see the great ruins and Museums. Go to India and sample a whole other culture. Then come back and work every day to translate the experience into art.

8.  Any upcoming exhibits, new artwork, books, etc. we should know about?
Well, not upcoming, but recently opened is Quilt Visions which I was delighted to get into FINALLY this year. I have also written a book! The working title is FABRIC AS A FINE ART MEDIUM or maybe THINK LIKE AN ARTIST. Anyway the gist of it explores in depth the principles and elements of making good art and the special qualities of fabric to make that art unique. Lots of exercises and projects to help the student along.  I feel almost like a bona fide author as so far I have had three rejections from various publishers!  I have not lost hope though!


11 2010

New Artwork – The Mystery of a Good Story

Folio 1, page 1

The best books I read are somewhat ambiguous.  They force readers to add their own interpretation to the story being told. I am currently very interested in exploring the limits of ambiguity in my art. See all the artwork here.  This series is a folio of “pages” based on ten-word poem. Sometimes the word is visible on the page; sometimes layers have obscured it. I’m not divulging the poem as I wanted you to be able to imagine your own story.  But if you want to know the word on a particular “page,” I would, of course, share. And I can tell you that the poem is entitled Threads.

Folio 1, Page 10
Each artwork is 4×6″ mounted to Bristol Board paper and ready for framing.

UPDATE:  Stop by my Fan Page if you would like to follow the progress of Folio 2.


11 2010

What’s new in the studio this week

1.  This artwork is finished and I need to put it up on my website:

Photo by Deidre Adams

The center of the artwork is based on a photo from The Garbage Day Project and is an ironic comment about making beauty from garbage.

2.  Work continues on my Merge and Flow piece for the Surface Design Associate’s member show in 2011.

This is Layer 6, but really more like 6 – 9 as it is layer upon layer of stitching.

This is Layer 8 which is screenprinted and painted tissue paper applied with gel medium.  If you would like to see more photos of Layers 7 and 9, please visit my Facebook Fan Page.  You don’t need to join Facebook to visit the page; I do tend to post their a bit more frequently.

3.  I have started  new artwork for an invitational juried exhibition.  I can’t say too much about it, but I can say that my theme is the difference between life lived online and offline.

I touched this piece of mystery fabric (purchased at the Textile Garage Sale in MN a couple of years ago) and, to be honest, it felt a little bit like skin.  Sort of soft and malleable.  This is just laying down what I call a natural grid.  A grid, but not too rigid or regular.  Next up will be some lettering (the heart of the piece).


11 2010

ONE Cause, ONE Wednesday, ONE hundred collages

One Cause
– The Fight Against Cancer.

One Wednesday – February 16, 2011.

One Hundred Collages – Created for this event by an all-star lineup of artists:

Natalya Aikens
Pamela Allen
Laura Ann Beehler
Liz Berg
Pokey Bolton
Laura Cater-Woods
Jette Clover
Jane Davila
Jane Dunnewold
Jamie Fingal
Gloria Hansen
Leslie Tucker Jenison
Lyric Kinard
Jeanelle McCall
Linda Teddlie Minton
Karen Stiehl Osborn
BJ Parady
Judy Perez
Cynthia St. Charles
Virginia A. Spiegel

The goal – Raise $8,000 for the American Cancer Society in just one day.

More details and a preview of artwork here.

Fiberart For A Cause has already donated over $205,000 to the American Cancer Society through the generosity of fiber artists and their patrons.

Logo by Jeanelle McCall.


11 2010

See my artwork this week at the “Olympics of the Quilt World”

International Quilt Festival – Houston
November 4-7, 2010

It’s the Olympics of the quilt world with over 50,000 people attending each year. I’m honored to have my artwork showing in these exhibits:

1. Studio Art Quilt Associates’ Creative Force 2010
Supported by a National Endowment for the Arts grant.

Boundary Waters 50
Photo by Deidre Adams
Catalog available from the SAQA Store

2. Beneath The Surface –  Juried Invitational

Boundary Waters 52 (Knowing)
Photo by Deidre Adams
Catalog available.

3. 500 Art Quilts – Featuring artwork from the book 500 Art Quilts

Boundary Waters 21 from the Collection of Carol J. Moore

4.  Eye of the Quilter:  Inspiration – A photography exhibit with the theme of reflections.

This is a sister photo to the one accepted to the exhibit.

5.  Sightlines

I happily served as juror for Sightlines and was honored to choose the fourteen artists.  Each artist was invited to create an installation of artworks featuring a sightline linking all the artwork in the exhibit.  Each artist chose her own themes and created five to eight artworks, including four 8×8″ linking pieces, covering a ten foot wide space. Perhaps the required continuous line provided provocation, both conscious and unconscious, to the artists to focus on time, personal history, and memory.

Hardcover catalog with six-page gatefold showcasing the exhibit as it will be shown is available.

Please note that Clairan Ferrano is the Managing Curator of the exhibit.  The tACTile group of Australia introduced this concept to SAQA with an exhibit entitled eyeline.


11 2010