Thursday, January 6, 2011

Beyond Cotton: Using Unusual Materials in Art Quilts

The general wisdom is that quilts need to be made from 100% cotton fabrics. While this may be good advice for a bed quilt that will need to be washed frequently, quilts for the wall can incorporate a wide range of fabrics and other materials.

One of our Gallery members, Lynda Prioleau, has used unusual items in her quilts to make her point. One example is Are We There Yet? This piece is her tribute to some of the travel that she has taken over the years. It's composed of a worn out inner sole, photo transfers of subway tickets, maps and tokens. Also included are upholstery fabrics, old ties and hand-dyed fabrics.

Lynda incorporated her love of unusual materials in her Shack series. This grouping reflects her love of old, dilapidated buildings. They were created with a photo transfer to fabric of a shack that used to sit where the Gaylord National Hotel is now. She climbed a fence to take the shot and the next day the shack was flattened. These quilts incorporate roofing tiles as well as more common materials such as upholstery fabrics, old ties, hand-dyed fabrics, and buttons. Here is Shack 1:

Another Gallery member, Eileen Doughty, used painted organza woven into hardware cloth in Element. This detail shows her use of these materials:

In Meteor Shower, Eileen used curtain lining material with colored pencil for the umbrellas. Each umbrella is from a country's flag that has a star in the design. She used Angelina, a very fine reflective fiber, to create the sparkle of the meteors.

Another material that can be used on quilts for special effect is painted fusible web (Wonder Under is a common product). In Zen Garden, I used this for the rock at the far left and for the wispy area at the lower right.

This has just scratched the surface of the materials one can find used in art quilts today, but I hope it gives you an idea of the range of possibilities.

This week marks the end of the holiday show at the Gallery. Next Monday, we will jury our new show, Hot Tropics: Warmth in Winter's Freeze. I'll be back with photos after that. In the meantime, stay warm.

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