Nellie"s Needles

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

In the Spirit of Gee's Bend Quilts

There are three pieces in my Gee's Bend series that was inspired by the utilitarian quilts made by the ladies in that area of Alabama. I emphasized the irregular shapes and assymmetry that gave drama and energy to those quilts with curved piecing as well as through the distortion caused by my quilting technique.

"In the Spirit of Gee's Bend" - 26"x30" - 2005
Exhibited at 2005 Dogwood Arts Art Show (juried) - Knoxville, Tenn

The colors symbolize the aspects of these women's lives that I perceived by studying their quilts at the Milwaukee Art Museum exhibit as well as hearing and reading their stories. Blue denotes the freedom of their creativity. Orange stands for the joy in their singing and quilting together. Red signifies the intensity of their lives. Purple and black alludes to the harshness and sorrows they suffered.

"Magic Carpet" is the second of this series. Mystery, levitation, soaring ... be ready to take a flight of your imagination.

Magic Carpet - 16"x19" - 2005

The last one of this series is the "Spirit of Africa." The energy and essence of Africa radiates from within this piece.

The Spirit of Africa - 16"x19" - 2005

Technique: Made in the "crinkle quilting" technique I developed. It involves setting wrinkles into the surface fabric. This wrinkled fabric is layered with batting and flat backing fabric. Hand-quilting between the wrinkles with two-ply strands of cotton floss creates the "crinkled" texture. The threads that frame the piece are the beginning and ends of my stitching lines. Paint and oil pastels are applied to emphasize, mask, or accent elements within the compostion. An acrylic matt medium is appied as a finish to protect the quilted surface.

Material: Cotton fabric, marbled fabric, cotton thread, paint, oil pastels, acrylic medium

All three framed pieces will be exhibited next week at the "Festival of Quilts 2006" - Folklife Museum here in Farragut, Tennessee as part of a special exhibit, "Nellie's Needles" (comprised of 21 quilts).

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