Monday, March 21, 2011

New York--Museum of Art and Design (Global Africa Project)

While I was in New York last week, I had the opportunity to go to a few museums--the Museum of Modern Art, The American Folk Art Museum (There are two of them; I visited both.), and the Museum of Art and Design. I will be posting pictures of fiber/textile art (and a bit of other "stuff" I found interesting) over the next week or so. Yet to come...stunning quilts from "The Year of the Quilt" exhibits at the American Folk Art Museum and fabulous tapestries from the Museum of Art and Design.

The following pieces come from an exhibit called “The Global Africa Project.” (You can click on any picture to get a close up.)

For those of you who love beads and beading, these first pieces are a real treat.

Joyce Scott (United States, b. 1948) had several pieces in the exhibit. The first piece is “Voices” created in 1993 from glass beads, thread, chain, and synthetic faceted disks.

“Lovers” (neckpiece) was made in 2002 from glass beads and thread. 
“Red Hot” (2010)—Diagonal bead weaving over teapot form. (Sorry the picture is a bit blurry.)
These two framed pictures are quite substantial in size. They are each made up of thousands and thousands of beads of all shapes, sizes, and colors. I am a beginning beader, so you can only imagine my fascination with them! I think I stood (in awe) and stared at them for at least twenty minutes.

The label by the framed pieces said, “Ubuhle Beads; Artist: Noluvuya Niza (South Africa, b. 1985) under guidance of master beader Mangutshana Nontanga (South Africa, b. 1967).”
I didn't think you could tell the amount of work involved unless you got a couple of close up shots. I'm still amazed when I look at them.

The piece above is called Umontho (Wealth), 2008 and is made of fabric and glass beads. Ubuhle Beads was established in 2000 by Ntombephi Ntombela and Bev Gibson in South Africa who (in 2002) opened a retail outlet and a restaurant in the KwanZulu-Natal Midlands. Ntombela, the chief beader, has taught beading skills to over 200 women, who create beaded pictures as well as jewelry. These skills provide a path to economic independence. In addition, a percentage of the profit from sales is used for community improvements in housing, education, and medical awareness. 
I had to get a couple of close ups of this one too.
The piece above is called “Fame,” 2007; made with fabric and glass beads by artist Bongiswa Ntobela (South Africa 1968-2009).

Nophumzile Mangali of South Africa made this next piece which is “Untitled” in 2003-2004. It is made of glass beads, thread, fabric, stuffing, and wire armature. Mangali is associated with the South African-based collaborative Monkey Biz which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2010. A community of more than 450 bead artists, Monkey Biz focuses on women’s economic empowerment and health development in South Africa. Departing from the culture of mass produced curio craft, each Monkey Biz artwork is unique and is signed by the artists, ensuring that individual artists receive recognition for their work. All of the profits from the sales of artworks are reinvested back into community services, including weekly soup kitchens, yoga and drama, as well as a burial fund for artists and their families.
These two quilt--kawandis--were created by Siddi women for family members from pieces of old clothing collected by the quilters. A cotton sari forms the backing of the kwandis and quilters stitch around the shape of the sari fixing the patches with a running back stitch that eventually covers the entire quilt. The stitches exhibit a distinctive rhythm that is part of the “visual signature” of each quilter. The artist chooses the colors, sizes, shapes, and designs of the cloth patches. (Artists—Ramijab Madarsahib and Kairumbi Karimsahib (India).)
Aren't the colors and designs interesting. They make me smile.
Algernon Miller (United States, b. 1945) in collaboration with Sanaa Gateja (Uganda, b. 1950) and the Kwetu Afrika Womens Association Angels—KAWAA created “Change” in 2010. It is made entirely from beads fabricated from recycled Barack Obama presidential campaign literature. This piece is extremely large and dense. I cannot imagine how long it must have taken to make.
This is a close up of the beads which make up this entire piece. I have made a few paper and fabric beads in my time, and it is no quick task. This piece was spectacular!
This picture is of the fringe at the bottom of the piece. I guess you can tell I was just fascinated with it all!
This is another really large piece—that and the graphic black and white of the piece grabbed my attention first. I thought it had been printed with all these different symbols, but each symbol is appliqued to the background fabric. The piece is called “The Invisible Masters” and was dated 2008. It was made by Rachid Koraichi (France, b. Algeria, 1947). Rachid said, “I want to demonstrate that the world of Islam, in contrast to contemporary perceptions of crisis and violence, has another side entirely, evident in the tolerant, sophisticated writings of the great Muslim thinkers and poets. While these “Masters” may no longer be present, I want to reveal their imprint on succeeding generations. Their message as relevant today as it was when first written down.”
This close up gives you a better idea of the hand work involved in making this large piece.
“Golden Crown” was made in 2010 by Xenobia Bailey (United States, b. 1958). It is made of cotton, acrylic yarn, and metallic thread. I absolutely loved the colors and the whimsical nature of this hat. (I got “yelled at” for taking this picture; I forgot to turn off my flash! Oooops!)
“Tall, Multi-colored Royal Crown for the Urban Wizard”, 2009, was also made by Xenobia Bailey. It is made of cotton and acrylic yarn.
I can't say enough about the exhibits at this museum. If you get a chance to go, definitely do. If you don't, I hope you have enjoyed a little piece of the wonderful works on display there. Let me know what you think. Which piece is your favorite?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Improvisational Stitching

I am doing some "improvisational stitching" that I'm really enjoying. I'm not sure exactly where I will go with it, but I can "lose myself" when I stitch on it. I'm sure I will be adding this piece (probably along with some others) to a larger piece of fabric. I may even audition some of my discharge shibori pieces--not sure yet. Suggestions?
The background fabric comes from Home Depot. There were two HUGE pieces (approximately 96" X 134") in the package for $9 (on sale). It was sold for use as a "canvas" drop cloth. It is a primitive looking cloth--a rough linen(ish) fabric. It is fairly soft to the feel, though, after washing and drying. I have added some beads, wool, silk, dryer sheets, and rubber shelf liner along with some hand stitching. I have also "wrapped" a pipe cleaner (on the left) with hand-dyed embroidery floss. The circle holds the rubber shelf liner. The dryer sheet covers the wool on the middle square on the right. You can click on the picture once; then, click that picture again to get a close up shot.

Check back next week. I have some great pictures from The American Folk Art Museum and the Museum of Art and Design that I'll be sharing--beautiful quilts, beaded works of art, hats, tapestries, etc. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

...and Just What Did I Do at the Retreat?

My guild's 2011 retreat was held at the end of February. We got to spend time at Spring Mill State Park in Mitchell, IN.

I spend most of the time working on this table runner. I quilted on it for over a day, sewed the binding on, and hand stitched it to finish it up. It went on my dining room table as soon as I got home. I'm really happy with how it looks on my table.
I did A LOT of quilting on this piece. I REALLY needed to practice my machine quilting. Remember, I think most of you can click in the pictures to get a bigger/better picture.

 Here are a couple of close ups. I used a variegated thread.

It was nice to have a bit of "concentrated" time to work on this piece. I thoroughly enjoyed the retreat. There is nothing like getting away with friends who love the same thing you do.

I spent most of the first day copying a big design onto a foundation fabric. The design is quite large (37" X 67"), so I took advantage of the huge windows in the room. I taped my design onto the window, taped my foundation fabric over the design, and traced it using permanent Sharpie markers. The window worked like a giant light box. I'm still not sure how I'm going to add the color to it--maybe applique, some beading, textile paints, some of each--I'm just not sure. (If you have any ideas, be sure to leave a comment; I'd love to hear from you.)
Right now, I'm working on hand quilting the shibori background for my painted and beaded piece ( I chose the background in Picture 3; working on this piece will just have to wait.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

2011 Patoka Valley Quilt Guild Winter Retreat

I just got back from my latest quilt guild (Patoka Valley Quilt Guild) retreat. It was held at the inn at Spring Mill State Park in Mitchell, IN. We had a wonderful time. It is always fun to work on projects while getting to visit with friends.

I didn't get pictures of nearly everything that was done at the retreat, but I have several pictures. People worked on a wide variety of things (as you will see). I really enjoy seeing what everyone is working on; I hope you do too.

Jane Horney worked on a T-shirt quilt. Didn't the red set it off beautifully?
                Ann Dixon worked on a sweet baby quilt.
Ann Jorden satin stitched around these fusible appliqued pumpkins and added the borders on this wall hanging.
 She also worked on a tote/purse.
 Ann Primus marked a quilt; and in the background, Barb Miller worked on one of her quilts.
 Barb also worked on a quilt top for a lucky little one.
Jane Potter finished this quilt top...
 and this quilt top (among other things).
Mary Lou Luebbehusen worked on a jelly roll quilt. You can find instructions for a quilt similar to this at It is a really fast and easy quilt to make (and makes good use of those jelly rolls you've been "collecting").
She also made a snowman wall hanging.
Jane Heichelbech worked on this quilt top; she added the borders after I snapped the picture.
She also made this quilt top.
The students in Terri Gunderman's class made these blocks; she put them together.
Darlene McNelis designed this quilt while she was at the retreat.
Dee Woodham completed this autumn wall hanging.
Kathy Weyer finished a quilt top made from batik fabrics.
Mary Alice Zink made this log cabin quilt from scraps she collected.
The sewing room set up at Spring Mill is great. We each have an entire table to ourselves. The room has HUGE windows that allow us to see the beautiful park while we sew.
One of the nice things about a retreat is getting to visit with everyone. I spent my fair share of socializing during this retreat, but I actually did finish a table runner--quilting and binding included. I have it on my dining room table; you'll see that in my next post.