Today we should make it around the last few quilts. It's been a long tour, and I am not really surprised to have heard from several people who were there that they are getting a better look at the quilts now. Seeing them in the flesh is great, but so is having time to really absorb what you are seeing without feeling you need to move on. Standing in front of 'Dragon' we can turn around to see into the second 'hidden' area of the gallery. When I was told about the gallery it was suggested that I play with the space and provide hidden areas. I really liked that idea and really played with it a lot. On the light side of the gallery (with 'Phoenix Rising') it just gave people a gentle tour, on the dark side where we are now it had a lot more effect. Many people were startled by one quilt only to back away from it and turn to find another startling piece. It worked far better than I could have hoped, and with the multitude of routes through the gallery I couldn't predict which area people would encounter first. The downside was that a significant number of viewers didn't realise all the work was by one person (well except for two of the book quilts). Should I have made a more obvious single space....nah! I would rather have the quilts play with the viewer then have it obviously one gallery. It was fun and I think the visitors enjoyed it too.
Now back to these quilts. I think we have to start tonight with 'Bad Rain'. The making of this quilt can be found on this blog. The quilt is a double page spread from a graphic novel called Cancertown. The cover describes the story as,
Vince Morley is a man with big problems and a brain tumour like a baby's fist, living with one foot in a monstrous alternate world he calls Cancertown. When the lost and dispossessed of London start tripping over the same cracks in reality he spends his life avoiding, Morley realises he must confront the residents of Cancertown - and risk finding his place among them.The whole quilt was assembled directly on the longarm and quilted as it was put together. Fortunately the style of the original artwork made it quite simple to work on small areas that still made sense when seen out of context. Unfortunately the colouring has an amazing luminosity which is hard to achieve in fabric. Ombre to the rescue. Without a good selection of shaded fabrics there is no way I could have achieved this effect. I was especially pleased with the largest lamppost while I was making the quilt. As it is higher up on the quilt (I work from the top down on the frame) it was the first on I had to try and may look lit. I was surprised by how well it went. When I saw the pictures after the show I realised how much the whole quilt glows and shines in different areas. When you are up close you really can't see it, but in photographs it is very clear.
If you step right back against the leather quilts you can just see the small blue quilt in the fourth entrance to the gallery. This piece 'A Brief Moment of Clarity' is the author of Cancertown, Cy Dethan. Having known him rather a long time he gets roped into all kinds of dumb plans (other than helping man a stand at the Festival of Quilts). This picture came from one of those ideas. I talked him into modeling for a quilt which meant he had to have his photo taken. He like this about as much as I do and we decided to kill two birds with one stone. After I had got the pictures I wanted we took some for him to use for publicity photos. When I had a look at the pictures I had taken this one just demanded to be made into a quilt. I'm glad he agreed to it, as I think it is a really striking portrait, and it was great to be able to hang it with 'Bad Rain'. Annoyingly I forgot to get a picture of him with the tattoo showing on the other side of 'Bad Rain' to complete the set.
Moving into the alcove there are a set of three car quilts. The top one I started a couple of years ago and has been waiting patiently to be finished. I hadn't intended to ever show this one, it was just for me. K.I.T.T was my teenage pinup, well him and the Millennium Falcon. I still have the theme tune as my ring tone, and one day I will be able to justify owning a Pontiac Transam. Still for the moment this is the closest I am going to get to having my very own K.I.T.T.
The next two quilts were inspired by too much singing. Yes that is what I said. I got hooked on playing a game called Singstar, it's karaoke essentially. On one of them it the track, Go with the flow, by Queens of the stone age. The video for that track gave me the inspiration for these (and hopefully more) drag racing quilts. I loved how little detail they used to convey the story, and I was sure I could use the same idea with race cars. My goal was to present as little information as possible but still have the cars be instantly recognisable by race fans.
The middle quilt shows Andy Robinson's Studebaker Commander. I think this car is very distinctive and there weren't too many details I had to have to be sure people would recognise it. Cutting the flames was a horrible job, one which I know will come up again as it is a very popular paint job on drag cars. I am very grateful to Richard Stirling for allowing me to use his image for this quilt.
The bottom quilt I was less convinced people would be able to identify. It's much harder to tell rails (the name given to all these long skinny cars) apart than door cars. Still I was up for giving it a go and I had a good photograph I had taken a few years ago, just waiting for me to do something with it. These quilts are not processed by computer except to enlarge the original image. I think that picking out the key details requires a human to make the selections, which means there is a lot more of me in these than most of my quilts. When Tet came home and saw the pattern for the quilt it didn't take him long to identify not only the car but roughly when the picture was taken! Good enough. This is Dave 'Grumpy' Wilson in his blown top methanol dragster. When I get a chance there will be several more cars in this series.
Next to the cars is the last quilt in the show, 'Perttu'. This is a portrait of a Finnish cello player. He used to play with the Helsinki Philharmomic orchestra but gave that up when the band he plays with now, a heavy metal cello quartet, Apocalyptica took off. I would love to get a chance to do a nude of him with his cello, he has a fantastic body and the cello would be perfect to protect his modesty. I can't see it happening, but well, a girl can dream right?
I don't know if I will get a chance to post tomorrow, but if not on Monday I will finally get to the longarm. Who knows we might have worked out video editing by then too. I would love to be able to show you the longarm in action, and I know we have some quite nice footage of the quilts as well. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.
The next part of the tour is the longarm.