Sunday, 25 August 2013

Out & About: Fine Art Quilt Masters at the Festival of Quilts

Although I said I hadn’t done any work in the holidays, it wasn’t quite true.  A few weekends ago I went to the Festival of Quilts.  After all the discussion on this blog about last year’s Best in Show, this year there was a new competition/invitational category called Fine Art Quilt Masters.  I was very keen to see it, partly to see what would be included and also excited because it should have been full of ‘my kind of artwork’ as my Dad puts it.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Yes, there was still quite a variance in standard and I may have chosen a few different ones (but of course, it depends on who puts their work forward).  The lighting was truly atrocious (hence limited photos), but the organisers were well aware of this and promised they would sort it for next year.

Dorothy Caldwell, detail of How do we know when it's night

Dorothy Caldwell, detail of How do we know when it's night
 So what about the quilts?  The winner was Dorothy Caldwell with ‘How Do We Know When It’s Night’.  Her piece (actually comprising of two hangings) was monumental, measuring approx 3m in each direction.  From a distance, personally, it was almost too much, especially given the walls weren’t really high enough and the lighting.  However, when I got close up and started photographing the details, I felt it revealed its beauty.  Personally, I would love any of the details as a complete piece.

Sandra Meech, The Last Silence
At the other end of the scale was ‘The Last Silence’ by Sandra Meech, measuring 35cm square.  It was a very different piece from the work I normally associate with Sandra, although still on the same theme.  I loved the way it was contained within the frame, setting boundaries for the work, which had to be concertina-ed to fit inside.  Again like Dorothy’s hanging, the mark-making was amazing.

Sandra Meech, detail of The Last Silence
Elizabeth Brimelow, detail of Round Meadow

Elizabeth Brimelow, detail of Round Meadow
I am obviously drawn to works which are less quilt-like as two more I liked were Elizabeth Brimelow’s ‘Round Meadow’, which snaked across a plinth in a spiral form, full of little notes and annotations and hints at larger pieces. 
Christine Chester, Portraits of a Memory
Secondly, ‘Portraits of a Memory’ by Christine Chester comprised nine panels of industrial felt pinned to the wall, with paper and voile on top carrying slightly scorched images.  The starkness of the piece was very appealing with its monochromatic colour range and it has a sobering subject matter of memory loss due to dementia.  On a frivolous note,I have to admit part of the draw for me is that industrial felt is one of my favourite fabrics to look at, even if it is something I haven’t used in my own work yet.

Christine Chester, detail of Portraits of a Memory
This is just a small selection of what was on show.  I found these pieces rather thought-provoking and very inspirational.  I hope the organisers get good feedback on this category and that they continue with it.  Also I hope as it gains momentum, more textile artists at the top of the game apply to have their work included to keep adding to this valued dimension to the Festival of Quilts.
Did you go to the Festival of Quilts?  If so, what did you think of this category?


Maggi said...

Like you I was keen to see the Masters category and was not disappointed, except for the lighting. You have also mentioned three of my favourite pieces although Elizabeth Brimelow's was not one of them.

Gillian Cooper said...

What other pieces did you like?

carrie said...

If you are up on a hill on a clear night looking at the stars and feeling as though you are going to fall over with the dizziness of it all - I started from the far side of the 'room' with Dorothy Caldwell's entry and as I crossed the room there was a point where I felt as though I was going to fall into the work. A disconcerting but familiar feeling and for me, it was the whole thing rather than the details

Gillian Cooper said...

What a great way of explaining the overall effect Carrie. It makes me want to see it again! I think for me it was spoilt by the hanging and lighting.

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