Saturday, January 1, 2011

Art Quilt Inspirations

Hello, I am Floris Flam, our Gallery's blogger for the month of January. I am an art quilter specializing in small wall hangings. I dye most of the fabrics used in my quilts and also dye and paint silk scarves. This month, I plan to have several discussions of current art quilt trends and techniques as exemplified by the work of our Gallery members.

We are often asked about our inspiration, the source of the idea or image behind a quilt. Often a quilt is inspired by a photograph taken by the artist. The photo may be translated into fabric following the original very closely, as seen in a quilt I based on a photo I took of an art nouveau doorway in Palermo, Sicily.

Sometimes a quilt may start with a photo inspiration, but look nothing like the original photo. I took a photo on the campus of the University of St. Thomas in Houston because I liked the angles of the buildings. I traced my photo, sliced the tracing into vertical segments, rearranged them, then based my quilt on a section of the new drawing.

On the other hand, a quilt may be based on something as commonplace as the pattern on the bottom of a foam hamburger container. Several years ago, I did a series of quilts using the geometric shapes on one of these for a series of quilts. Here's one of these:

Sometimes a quilt may be entirely nonrepresentational, with the artist working from a group of fabrics she has chosen and without a plan. I often work this way. Here's an example of this kind of quilt:

Betty Ford, another quilter in our Gallery, says that her inspiration usually springs from nature, especially remembered images from early childhood on their farm in Kentucky. Her quilts begin with a sketch, photo — her own or others' — or a painting. She collects art and photography books for this purpose and has shoe boxes full of postcards from art museums and galleries. She also makes thumbnail sketches while watching TV, clips ads that she glues in a sketch book, saves any image that appeals to her, such as napkins and greeting cards. She constantly reviews this material because some appeal one day and others another. She uses primarily hand-dyed fabric, her own and those of some other dyers. Frequently ideas come from the fabrics themselves. This quilt, Winter, was inspired by the photo of a shower curtain Betty saw in a home furnishings catalog.

1 comment:

Patricia said...

This is a great post! I really enjoyed your method of explaining how ideas come about and your illustrations are excellent.