Monday, October 1, 2012

Art with Needle and Thread

 

     This was definitely a challenging challenge!  When I first started thinking about "maverick" (and got past the James Garner/Mel Gibson image of a gambler in a black cowboy hat) I found myself thinking about mavericks in the art world.  There are plenty of examples we could all name, I'm sure.  But my pondering led me to think about the place that art quilting has in the traditional art world -- and it seems to me that it is not a comfortable one.  We've all read the discussions about whether galleries should hang fiber art, what IS fiber art, what IS quilt art, can a piece of quilt art be treated as a painting, etc.  It's an ongoing discussion where ever people are talking about art quilting.

   So my response to "maverick" comes down to this: a very simple representation (drawn, not made of fabric) of traditional art tools (ink pens, pencil, paint brushes, palette knife) with a needle and spools of thread included -- because while "traditional" artists might not see spools of thread as art media, we do.  They are among our most important art tools.  


  Along the way, I also thought about this: isn't there something "maverick" in responding to a quilting challenge with imagery that isn't sewn, but is drawn with pen and pencil?  (Which led me to contemplate whether one can intentionally be a maverick, or whether it comes from doing one's own thing regardless of what anyone else is doing.)  Ah.  The Philosophy of the Maverick.

   I have to confess that after I had this idea and was mulling it around in my mind, I had another idea about homeschoolers being education mavericks.  I went off with great excitement and made what is surely my worst, most disastrous piece ever.  (I kept hearing Tim Gunn's voice in my head saying sternly, Edit! Edit! and then hearing Michael Kors say "That is a HOT MESS."  It was.)  I'll probably post about it later in the week.  But trust me, it was an absolutely Epic Fail.

  And that brought my back to my first, and simplest idea.  I wanted it to be drawn in sketchbook style (because really, that's pretty much all I can do anyway) and have a sense of lightness to it.  So I drew  on plain muslin and used inktense colored pencils for color.  After the big fussy complicated mess I'd worked on for a few weeks, it was a relief to do something so... plain.  

 
  I've finished it with a simple facing. It makes me happy to look at it and know that those little spools of thread hanging out with the "real art" supplies are subversive and "maverick" in their own quiet way.

13 comments:

Gerrie said...

This is lovely! I love how you have quilted around the drawings. An absolutely mavericky thing to do - draw your images on fabric!!

beth said...

My favorite piece so far! Love it.

kirsty said...

My favourite 'Diane' quilt! Yes, the simple ideas are usually best and I wish that I had had this one!

Brenda Gael Smith said...

I love the palette you have chosen for this piece. It reminds me of some of the older style story book illustrations I read as a child. And the needle and thread fits right in with the other tools - it is not so very subversive. It's just a matter of perception.

Kristin L said...

I like the concept of needle and thread being just as valid art supplies as pen or brush. I hadn't really thought of what we do as very maverick, but I suppose in a much broader context than our intimate community here, it is. Thanks for teh very thoughtful piece.

Deborah Boschert said...

So great, Diane! It's funny how this idea keeps repeating -- if you are intentionally trying to be a maverick, are you really a maverick? Needle and thread seem so simple to us, but in a different context... totally out-of-the-box!

I love how your sketching and drawing is informing and blending with your quilting.

Robin said...

Great piece and the 'lightness' of the drawn tools is what makes it work!

Terri Stegmiller said...

Your maverick interpretation really does make one think. Your choice of imagery to interpret the theme and then your thoughts about it along the way are very interesting. Great idea!

Karen said...

Beautiful Diane, your drawings just keep getting better and better.

Nikki said...

I love your illustrations! They are so soft and beautiful.

In my early morning stupor, I first thought the palette knife was a garden trowel. I kept thinking, "Gardening as fine art seems even more maverick." Sometimes I'm a little slow. Or maybe being a little off is what helps us to come up with different interpretations.

I really hope you share with us your Epic Fail. That might be a fun little series -- our worst failures at interpreting a theme.

Terry Grant said...

So cool and clean! I love the graphic presentation of the tools and, of course, love the statement it makes!

Helen Conway said...

This quilt has a certain clarity to it which is interesting given that I know you are seraching for that in other areas. It has a peacefulness to it.

Françoise said...

Love your drawings Diane, especially the spools of course.
I'm very curious to see your other quilt. It's very courageous to keep it... I usually just throw away my disasters!