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Color and Quilts at the Michener with Kaffe Fassett Blanket Statements

Autumn Crosses by Kaffe Fassett
Autumn Crosses by Kaffe Fassett, constructed and quilted by Pauline Smith. James Michener Art Museum. Photo by Margaret Almon.

 

I went on an excursion in the rain to the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown to hear a talk by Kaffe Fassett about color.  The first book I owned about mosaic was by Kaffe Fassett, and I was drawn to his use of color.  Fassett has created art in many mediums from knitting, fabric design, quilting and mosaic.  Someone in the audience asked him if he had a favorite medium, and he said no, that it was all a vehicle for playing with color, that he calls his studio a color laboratory.  He sees color choices as an intuitive process, trying out different combinations of fabric on flannel “audition” boards until the colors vibrate or click.  Fasset’s first medium was painting and painted only in shades of white!  Another audience member asked if this was his preparation for moving to color, and he said yes, it was a kind of palate cleanser.

My first medium was collage, and color was my love.  A friend asked if I had thought of being a painter because of my use of color, and it hadn’t occurred to me.  I just wanted all the color.  Looking at my photo from my previous blog post, Verve Patchwork in Orange, I recognize both a kinship with quilts and with collage, particularly the wood collage from another exhibit at the Michener, Pattern Pieces.

Barn Raze by Laura Petrovich-Cheney
Barn Raze by Laura Petrovich-Cheney, salvaged barn wood, 30×30 inches(2012). James Michener Museum of Art. Photo by Margaret Almon.

 

Look at this quilt-like patchwork of  orange by New Jersey artist Laura Petrovich-Chaney.  She created a series of sculptures using wood salvaged from homes after Superstorm Sandy.  Watch this moving interview with Petrovich-Chaney on the Weather Channel about her project.

 

Verve Pendant in Orange and Coral by Margaret Almon
Verve Pendant in Orange and Coral by Margaret Almon, glass on copper 1.5 inches, $67. Tap photo for purchase information.

For a winter infusion of color and joy, be sure to get to these exhibits.  The Fassett quilts are inspired by historical quilts and are laid side by side to see the new interpretation of amazing quilts from the past.  I had to detour myself around the gift shop, since there were many tempting books by Fassett as well as ribbon from collection with Brandon Mably and Kaffe Fassett Studio.  I was knitting while waiting for the lecture to start and the woman next to me said she wished they were selling yarn as well.  I would’ve bought yarn.

Brandon Mably introduced Kaffe at the beginning of the lecture and told us how he helped yarn store owners learn to pronounce his name, “You have a safe assett with Kaffe Fassett.”

November 14, 2015-February 21, 2016. Blanket Statements: New Quilts by Kaffe Fassett and Historical Quilts from the Collection of the Quilt Museum and Gallery, York, UK, James Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA.

October 30, 2015-January 31, 2016.  Pattern Pieces: Can You Make a Quilt Out of Wood?, James Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA.

Rainbow Log Cabin by Dorothy Fravel

Joyful Rainbow Log Cabin Quilt by Dorothy Fravel

Rainbow Log Cabin by Dorothy Fravel
Rainbow Log Cabin by Dorothy Fravel, Keystone Quilters Show 2015. Photo by Wayne Stratz.

Another pleasure at the Keystone Quilters 2015 Show was coming across a Rainbow Log Cabin made by Dorothy Fravel.  For my kindred spirits in Log Cabin Love, I just finished a Rainbow version of my own the week before, and look forward to sharing it with you.

Rainbow Log Cabin by Dorothy Fravel
Orange Detail of Rainbow Log Cabin by Dorothy Fravel, Keystone Quilters Show 2015. Photo by Wayne Stratz.

Bright Star Quilt by Jamee Pemberton

Shaun - Bright Star Quilt by Jamee Pemberton
Shaun – Bright Star Quilt (detail)by Jamee Pemberton at Keystone Quilters Show 2015. Photo by Wayne Stratz.

 

Driving to the Keystone Quilters Guild 2015 Quilt Show, Stratoz and I got a bit turned around, but the leaves were gorgeous and snuck in when we weren’t looking.  This Bright Star quilt by Jamee Pemberton caught my eye, with its autumn orange, those little sawteeth along the border.  She made it for her nephew Shaun.

Here is a beautiful piece by pianist Catherine Marie Charlton called Stars Awaken from her Riversong album.  I imagine an awakening star to look something like Jamee Pemberton’s Bright Star.

For Roger: Quilt by Julie LaRiviere

Spiral in both Quilt and Shell

For Roger: Quilt by Julie LaRiviere
For Roger: Quilt by Julie LaRiviere. Pennsylvania Quilt Extravaganza, 2013. Photo by by Wayne Stratz.

Julie LaRiviere created this quilt is for Roger Beatty, educator at the Cape Cod National Sea Shore, who brought a love of the sea to many children.  The nautilus spiral was my first spiral love.

Sea Spiral by Margaret Almon
Sea Spiral by Margaret Almon. Glass, gold smalti, dichroic, and abalone shell on slate, 7 inches.

 

Commission a Spiral Mosaic

Free Form 2 Quilt ©Sherry Pryor

Spirals in Free Form with an Art Quilt from Sherry Pryor

Free Form 2 Quilt ©Sherry Pryor
Free Form 2 Quilt ©Sherry Pryor at the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza. Photo by Wayne Stratz.

Pieces that are spiral shaped, fabric with spiral prints and overall quilting in spirals ~ layers of spirals.  Quilting allows for the imprint of spirals that create texture and flow.  So cool.

Life Spiral Mandala by Suzanne Halstead.
Life Spiral Mandala by Suzanne Halstead, mosaic frame by Margaret Almon.

 

When I went looking for the quilt photo, the Life Spiral Mandala came up on the screen.  My friend Suzanne Halstead created this with crayon, over a chafing dish, so it melted as she swirled.  This technique leaves it’s own imprint as well. I created a mosaic frame to go with it.

In the Fabric’s Path: Orna Shahar’s Spiral Quilt

In the Fabric's Path Quilt by Orna Shahar
In the Fabric’s Path Quilt by Orna Shahar, Pennsylvania Quilt Extravaganza, XXI, 2014. Photo by Wayne Stratz.

In the Fabric’s Path was one of my favorites at the 2014 Pennsylvania Quilt Extravaganza.  Orna Shahar belongs to the Israel Quilters Association, and also to Encounters Art Quilt Group, with 16 Israeli quilters who meet to learn from each other, and learn from other art forms such as origami, ceramic, metal, papercutting, and glass. Quilting has been an inspiration to me as a mosaic artist, so it is cool to find quilt artists who explore other art forms.

Red Tail Rainbow Mosaic by Margaret Almon, glass on slate, 8 inches.
Red Tail Rainbow Mosaic by Margaret Almon, glass on slate, 8 inches, ©2011

My mind is percolating on how to make a spiral with bundles of vertical lines.  The Red Tail Rainbow Mandala I made in 2011 has a black background.  I just had to look up what the name of the shapes I used ~ apparently I am partial to scalene and right-angled triangles and quadrilateral polygons of the kite and trapezoid shapes.  In the process I found Paul Calter’s Squaring the Circle: Geometry in Art & Architecture, the chapter on Polygons, Tilings and Sacred Geometry.

Looking at the etymology of geometry, it originates from “measurement of earth, ” or Old English “earth-craft.”  I imagine the idea of surveying the land in the service of beauty.

Miyabi Quilt by Matsuko Shiraishi

Miyabi Quilt by Matsuko Shiraishi: Elegance in Orange

Miyabi Quilt by Matsuko Shiraishi
Miyabi Quilt by Matsuko Shiraishi at the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza, 2014. Photo by Wayne Stratz.

This quilt introduced me to the concept of Miyabi, a traditional Japanese aesthetic combining elegance and sorrow.  Matsuko Shiraishi describes how the quilt is made of wedding Kimono fabric, and that wedding ceremonies are a combination of those two emotions.  To see the whole quilt, which takes on the shape of a Kimono, there’s a great photo of Matsuko Shiraishi’s work on the gladiquilts site.

Having words to describe different forms of beauty helps me look at things more closely and contemplatively.  I have written about Wabi Sabi and Hozho, and the beauty of imperfection,  but Miyabi was new to me.  The Kimono fabric is definitely elegant, with metallic thread and a silky sheen.

What defines elegant for you?