Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012

Book review: Colour in Art Quilts by Janet Twinn

For the past two weeks I've been assisting my daughter while she recovered from her surgery.  She was on orders for pretty strict bed rest and, in my naivete, I thought that meant I'd get lots of things done while she lounged around getting better.  I'm such a fool.  No, someone on bed rest needs lots of help.  There's no time to sneak off to the studio for extended periods of time nor can you sit blindfolded, immersed in Dorothy Caldwell's blindfold embroidery task because let me tell you, blindfolds and needles don't mix well with patient needs.

But, a laptop computer makes it possible to snatch a few minutes here and there to shop on-line.... and I enjoyed it immensely.   Look at the lovely stack of books gracing my desktop!

I'd like to introduce you to the first book I finished, Colour in Art Quilts by Janet Twinn.   I read it cover to cover; there wasn't a single section I skimmed or skipped over.

The luscious, almost suede-like feel of the cover hints at how special this book is before you even have a chance to open it.  Colour in Art Quilts spends the first chapter on color theory and briefly describes different methods of dyeing.  In the remainder of the book, Twinn discusses how color is a tool of the artist's personal vocabulary.  There's a chapter on color in context -- about how we each have our own color preferences  -- and a chapter on restricted and monochromatic palettes. There's discussion of how time and place affect our feelings towards and our use of color.  Interspersed throughout are instructions on varying methods of creating color, from the expected (screen printing) to the unexpected  (the use of seams).  Large, full and detail photos of quilts accompany the topics of discussion and, in many cases, Twinn reviews how a particular artist's piece exemplifies the point.

Part of the reason I love this book are Twinn's expertise (she has a BFA in Fine Arts) and her remarkably accessible and readable style throughout the book.  I was very excited to see the works of many artists I'm unfamiliar with used as illustrations.  For me, seeing art that was new to me pulled me in and kept me from skipping over the examples.  (It's also clear I need to pay more attention to what's going on across the Atlantic!)  I don't recall that any of the lessons Twinn suggested were too overwhelming or required an irrational number of supplies, so that was a plus for me.  I also liked that she shared her own experiences and thought processes, making her voice all the more engaging: "I have a collection of old jam jars, which I keep to mix the paint in" and "I always like my fabric much better after I have cut it up."  Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Twinn has some unique and personal things to say about color.  I enjoyed the glimpse into her psyche as an artist and appreciated the lessons learned.

The book is as beautifully bound and printed as a cocktail table art book.  The paper is high quality and the photographs are large and clear.  The artwork within is so lovely that your guests will enjoy it even if they simply look at the pictures.  But I urge you to buy it and read it.   Colour in Art Quilts is a worthwhile purchase.  I know this is a book I will be returning to again and again.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Photo du Jour

Today, I'm dreaming of the ocean....

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

It's Upon Us

My youngest daughter is going in for surgery tomorrow morning to remove a lesion.  The surgery's been scheduled for a couple of weeks and we've been waiting a bit on pins and needles; thankfully, she had a dance competition this weekend to keep her mind occupied.  Here are some photos, taken by Derek Baron, from her solo.  It's hard to imagine a healthy active thirteen year old could have this going on.  I'd so appreciate it if you could send healing thoughts her way.

Surgery's successfully over and she came through beautifully.  Hurray! Here she is in the recovery room, with an Ugly Doll given to her by her dance company mates.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Photo du Jour

Here's my favorite picture from my walk today.  It has such cool focal lighting, don't you think?  I also love the lumpy knots.

Taken in Rockefeller State Park, NY

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Breaking the Rules

Sometimes, someone says something that you have to write down so you'll remember it always.   If you're anything like me, those are the moments when you can't find the notebook you almost always carry in your purse.  So you write the thought on a scrap of paper, sure that you're going to pin it immediately on your inspiration wall the moment you return home.  And then you misplace the scrap of paper....

Well tonight I got into major clean-up and organize mode and found the scrap where I'd scribbled a quotation from the Alexander McQueen retrospective exhibition, "Savage Beauty" held at the Met this past summer.

You've got to know the rules to break them.  That's what I'm here for, to demolish the rules, but keep the tradition.  -- Alexander McQueen

Here's a beautiful example of this, scanned badly from a postcard I purchased in the gift shop:

Dress, Voss, Spring/Summer 2001
Red and black ostrich feathers and glass medical slides painted red
Alexander McQueen, 1969-2010
Photograph © Sølve Sundsbø / Art + Commerce

Do you agree?  What rules should we, as artists, know, then break?  Are they the rules of traditional quilt making?  The rules of design such as composition, line, and color?  When do you feel you've learned enough of the rules? Do you care about rules?