Sunday, November 20, 2011

PS Brushes

Let us take a moment to talk about how great Photoshop brushes are.
Check it out. Remember this drawing? Something I did a few weeks back.

After a quick Google search and one tutorial later I learned how to separate my scanned drawings from their backgrounds and create a brush preset.

One stroke of the brush and suddenly I got pattern!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Christmas trees and cinnamon sticks...

... at Circle Craft.
It must be that time of year again!

Why the quilt ?

Why not the quilt!?

The V&A Museum recently published this book called Quilts 1700-2010: Hidden Histories and Stories edited by Sue Prichard. Essentially it's an exhibition catalogue, but it also has one of the best historical overviews written about quilting that I have read so far. I have not got through the whole thing yet, but it seems to raise questions about why quilts have not been accepted as a proper art form. Perhaps not all quilts all gallery-worthy, but certainly not every painting is either. What makes sewing pieces of cloth together any less valuable or interesting then welded metal or other processes typically accepted in fine art circles?

Frankly, I'm surprised this question does not get asked more often. Are quilters just lacking a spokesperson?

Now I know I'm getting into territory where people will disagree with me and say that there have been artists that have broken through like Judy Chicago with her piece "The Dinner Party" from 1979.

But pieces that come directly to mind are generally from the 70's and 80's. Dinosaur stuff. Or they are merely referencing the idea, but not using the actual traditional form of sandwiched and/or pieced cloth. Granted there are contemporary individuals and groups out there doing fine work, and no one can deny the influence that websites like Etsy have had on the ever-growing-in-popularity movement of Handmade Arts and Crafts. But these don't tell me why the actual quilt form is still looked down upon by contemporary curators and overlooked by visual art historians.

As I was flipping though my new book, I fell immediately in love with this silk patchwork quilt that was made somewhere between the years 1690-1750 in Exeter. It's vibrant and surprisingly contemporary looking.

I showed it to my mom and we decided that together we are going to try to replicate it and make it as close to its original as possible. We haven't started yet, although as you can see I have begun figuring out the color palette.

With so much pitted against the quilt form, why would a visual artist like myself decide to focus on textile arts and quilt-making? I am often asked why I made the move from visual art to applied art, but for me there is no separation. It all comes from the same place.

More on throwing caution to the wind later :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Timorous, surely

For quite a while now I've been contemplating designing a signature line of fabric that we can use for Seams French. This seems like it would be a fairly straightforward undertaking; the mere mention brings to mind like a hundred different references all at once.

Since there's a ton of toile de jouey in the Seams French line, I thought how great would it be to put a contemporary spin on the pattern. Low and behold I came across the work of Timorous Beasties, a Glasgow-based design studio who beat me to it.

Having spent some time studying their work the task of creating a line of toile inspired fabric seems completely daunting, so to ease me into that head space I spent some time at the library making notes from books with a slightly broader scope then just French toile. Here's what I got:

I know the honorable thing here would be to cite my references, but today I'm throwing caution to the wind (in other words... I'm lazy) and not including them. These sketches are such vague chicken scratches I'd be surprised if anybody cared, but on the off chance you do let me know and I'll post the titles :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Open flood gates

It used to be that when you looked at my book shelves you would see a bunch of art books and a couple of victorian novels.

Nowadays the old books are still there, but you'll also find new titles like Quiltmaking by Hand, Stitch, and Knit Mittens!

When I see Jonathan Crary's Techniques of the Observer next to Jennifer Chiaverinni's The Lost Quilter my instinct is to cringe in the same way that audiences (were expected) to cringe at the relationship between Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins. There's a class distinction involved here, and at the heart of every class struggle... let's face it... lies Prejudice.

Why do I feel this way? Why do I feel shame in admitting I prefer making quilts to sculpture and designing textiles to putting oil on canvas?

When I think about it there shouldn't be a distinction between them. After all, quilts are constructed objects that effortlessly embody history, memory, beauty and decay; qualities many artists strive to achieve in their art work.

So why Prejudice... hmmm? My first instinct is to blame my formal art school training, but on closer thought I think there are other forces at work and I'd like to discuss them further over time on this blog.

I apologize to those who might find this boring, but for me it's an essential question that needs attention before I can get on with things.

Peace out.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Stars and Stamps

Lately I've been spending a lot of time making brushes (which for some reason I always refer to as stamps) on Photoshop.

I wanted a specific color of quilt in my bedroom. Usually I don't like to decorate my house with my own work, but in this case I just wasn't finding what I needed. Sooo, I whipped out a couple of brushes and was super pleased with the results. The color and everything turned out great (thanks Spoonflower for the wicked printing job). Now I just have to make the quilt. Right.