Sunday, February 19, 2012

Quiltfest Gallery - part 1

Due to the number of pictures I want to share with you I will need to break up the tour of the gallery into sections. I hope that you will get the feel of walking around the gallery by following through these posts. So grab some refreshments and let me take you on a tour. The gallery is warm and as you walked down the corridor to the gallery you could hear a sewing machine. It's gone quiet now but maybe we can run it again later. Don't forget you can click on the images to get a bigger picture.

As you can see this is quite a large space which plays very well with my large art quilts. Over on the far wall you can see Bad Rain, the poster quilt for this years Quiltfest. It's a shame See Sound isn't lit, I guess it's too quiet at the moment.

On the greeters table you can see a stack of Quilters Desk Diarys. I think Susan still has a few for sale if you want one. It's her table cloth too. Oddly I rather like it. Not my colours but somehow it works, and I do like her quilting on it.
Next to the table is Guide Me. This quilt is really too large for the gallery so it had to go on a quilt stand rather than be mounted on the wall. That's fine as I have stands but it then leave you with the problem of people tripping over the legs of the stand. So we have a donation jar to one side (for the local hospice) and the table to the other. It worked, no one fell over and no one knocked the quilt down.

Guide Me may look like a pieced quilt but it isn't. It is one piece of black cotton sateen with the design being made in coloured threads.  The straight lines of this quilt were marked and then sewn with silver thread, but all the rest of the quilting is freehand.  This is a design I had planned to piece, well actually I still do intend to make it as a pieced quilt but it seemed a lot quicker and easier to make it as a wholecloth. I was almost right. I learned an awful lot from this quilt. I had to make 2 complete quilts and even on the second one I got to do 12 hours unquilting. I got one of the sets of green leaves in to the space for blue waves. it had only taken 12 minutes to quilt it in. I've got better at unpicking since then. I could probably undo it in 8 hours now!

To the other side of the entrance there are two pieced quilts. Despite being better known for my art quilts I love traditional patchwork. Some people seem to find this odd, but I can't see them changing my mind. A few weeks ago I was giving a talk about my quilts when it suddenly hit me that I needed to do some proper patchwork. I've got a Turning Twenty quilt on the go now which if keeping me happy. Yup, not only do I enjoy patchwork I enjoy other peoples patterns and kits. So sue me :)

The first of the pieced quilts is Ferret's Fractal Stars. This is my latest pattern, and I had hoped to be able to launch it at Quiltfest, even though I hadn't intended to hang this quilt. On hanging day we had more space to fill than I had expected to had to rummage through my bags of quilts to choose a couple of extras. This one fitted the space perfectly so got to come and play.
The coloured fabrics in this quilt are Ricky Tims hand dyes. I'd been hoarding them for a while before this idea came to me. I was really busy when the design firmed up in my head so I got one of my students to make it up for me. She was very glad I hadn't told her they were my prized fabric before she started. I can see why Ricky uses them. The patterns they make when you cut them are fantastic. I especially like the red purple one.

The coloured triangles are all quilted with freehand feathers. That seemed like a really easy option when I started, but of course in the biggest triangles I can't see the whole area in one go on the machine. One of those moments where it might have been easier to do on a domestic machine. Oh well it worked out in the end.

Next we have a another quilt I hadn't intended to hang. Susan had to talk me into it, as it really is too big for the wall. I'm glad she did. A lot of people liked it and asked many sensible questions about it.

It is the sample I made for my book Ferreting Around. Well technically it's the sample I made for the classes that became the book. I never intended to get into writing but it happened anyway. The quilt was made to keep my students happy. They asked for a group quilt that everyone could take home at the end. They wanted a lap quilt that would cover a king size bed, and that didn't need them to buy fabric in the first month (it was just after Christmas). When they asked for flying geese, celtic knots and half square triangles I got the idea for a sampler quilt. I really like sampler quilts and having done far too much research, there aren't that many sampler quilt projects out there. Also I wanted one that was designed to be quilt as you go. This one is, and the backs of some of them are stunning. Mine is a bit boring, but then it was the first so I didn't have the others for inspiration did I.

Heat is another quilt filling a tricky space. That is exactly what she was designed for though, so I guess it is appropriate. It was originally made for the gallery exhibition I had in the Dissenters Gallery in Kensal Green cemetary. That gallery was full of odd spaces as it is an old building. I needed a few long skinny pieces and as at the time most of my quilts were cool and subdued colours I thought something a bit more lively was called for. The photograph I worked from was taken by Alex Treacher, and for me fitted the bill perfectly. This dancer is full of life. The fabrics used to produce her are all commercial quilting cottons.

All my art quilts are made with applique and thread. They are not printed or painted. If you look at the larger image you should be able to see the raw edges and stitching. I don't bond most of my quilts so although they are designed as art to hang on the wall they are still soft like bed quilts. This quilts special claim to fame is being the most 3D nipple I've made so far. Someone recently suggested producing a quilt where the nipples follow you around the room. Which, being me, seems like a great idea.

When I'm not quilting, and indeed sometimes when I am, I can be found lurking at drag strips. many of my quilts have been finished in the pits at various tracks. Some even got finished driving between race tracks, what can I say, I tend to be a bit short on time.

For a while I had been thinking of doing some quilts of the cars at the track, but I couldn't decide how. I knew I didn't want to do photo realistic quilts but that doesn't really narrow things down much. Then I saw the Queens of the Stone age video for Go With the Flow.  I loved the way the colours are used in it and that settled how my burnout quilts were going to look. I think I might have to do some red landscapes too at some point.

The first car I chose to do could have been a mistake. There are a lot of rails (long skinny traditional dragsters) in racing and without their livery they all look quite similar. Fortunately (and quite by accident) I managed to pick one with just enough distinctive features that other racers could identify it as Dave Wilson.

My second car was a much safer choice. It's the very distinctive Studebaker of Andy Robinson. No chance of this being mistaken for anyone else. However those flames and the V8 badge on the nose were a pain to cut out. It was worth it, I love this quilt. I do have plans for a few more burnout quilts, including our race car Trogdor. The hard part is getting just the right angle on the photographs and getting enough details to conclusively identify the car.  I will also be starting a new set of wheelie cars. Several of the cars lift their front wheels when they launch at the start of the race, and I think that will give me lots of normally hidden detail to work with. As soon as I have some spare time (does that even exist?) I'll make a start on those. Well, that's it for now. I'll start work on the next section of the tour. Part 2


Sally said...

Ferret--I have been looking at/reading all your posts for a long time. Your work really appeals to me---everything from the nudes to the race cars to the wonderful "design from needle" work you do. Keep on posting!!!

Ferret said...

Your wish is my command. I am working on the next part of this tour right now. Thank you for leaving a comment. It's great to know there is someone reading the posts.