Sunday, August 14, 2011

Surface Design at the FoQ

Well, back home again from Birmingham. It is always a pleasure to visit the Festival of Quilts. Lots to see as usual. Unfortunately I could only visit for a day and a half: to see it all I would have needed the whole 4 days. So many quilts.....overwhelming.  Below I will highlight a few artists/groups whose work I found interesting.

My first meeting at the FoQ was with SDA member and full time studio artist Regina Benson (USA): her exhibition "Personal Landscapes" showcased her own surface designed cloth, with her signature rusting, burning and discharge techniques. Excellent work, some of which I already saw in the US but their was also new inspiring work
Next I visited Jette Clover, an old time friend, SDA and SAQA member - born and raised in Copenhagen (Denmark) but who has lived for many years in the Netherlands. Before she became an artist, Jette was a journalist, owned a gallery, a jazz club and worked for the Dutch Textile Museum in Tilburg,  where she curated the very first European Art Quilt Exhibition (1997). Her quilts are collage constructions, exploring physical and mental layering and she uses a variety of surface design techniques on both paper and cloth.
TeXui - one of the outstanding Fiber Art Groups in the Netherlands - also had a wonderful exhibition, showing recent work of all 10 members. Unfortunately it was not allowed to take pictures of their work, so I have to refer you to their website.

Studio 21 - Continuum - a Sense of Place -showed beautiful artwork, a continuing story made by all members. They collaborated together to create a continuous work of 30 metres long,  which explores each members' approach and connection to their personal Sense of Place. Visitors were encouraged to step into the gallery and connect with the work by contributing their own memories ad stories.
Sandra Meech - who taught a class at my studio -  was present, as well as Jill Flower, who will come to Tilburg to teach a class next year. I wish I could invite the whole group but that unfortunately is not an option. Below 4 Show pieces:

Michel Garcia and Yoshiko Wada were demonstrating at the Virtual Studio, where Michel also gave a 3day class in natural dyeing, called Quick Organic Indigo Vats.
I was able to see some sample work and watched his demo.
For those of you who are interested I have some hot news: I brought back several copies of the new DVD Yoshiko has produced featuring Michel Garcia's natural dye workshop AND Michel has agreed to come and teach a Masterclass next summer @ my studio in Tilburg.
I am thrilled and already looking forward to host him.

Grietje van der Veen
also had a show @ the FoQ. I already met Grietje (Dutch born but living in Switzerland) when she attended the first SDA EU conference, called Crossing Borders in Tilburg (2009). So it was nice to see her work now. Her quilts reflect the visual aspects of nature. Trees, flowers, rocks and water are recurring themes in her artwork.

The Graduate Showcase
For me this is always the most exciting and interesting exhibition.
Ten graduates from colleges around the UK displayed their innovative and stunning work.
I cannot mention all of them but I was very impressed by:

Victoria Johnson -
ceramic artist, designer and maker who almost fooled my eyes since I was sure she used felt for her work, which in fact appeared to be ceramics
Rose Wood - she showed beautiful pleated work:
as a shibori afficionada I am very pleased to see this.

Alice Fox -
presented great woolen felt pieces, cut, printed, manipulated..
Jillian Hurst -
with fake leather and shiny plastic table cloth, beautiful adorned and embroidered:
Of course there was more!
I was also impressed by
the Textiles of the Islamic World, a magnificent overview of  beautiful textiles from three continents - put together by John Gillow, renowned author of many seminal books on folk textiles from accross the Globe.
Padmaja Krishnann showing traditional Kantha work, a recycled hand quilting craft of Bengal (Eastern India)
Mohamed Dendon - the Tentmakers of Old Islamic Cairo -  a disappearing craft.

To conclude: One could spend easily more time (and money) to explore the full potential of this yearly event. And I am not even a quilter...

Hope you enjoyed my report!

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