Saturday, October 3, 2009

More Experiments and Preparing for The Artist as Quiltmaker IV

Unopened piles of entries for The Artist as Quiltmaker IV

This week, my role as curator of The Artist as Quiltmaker exhibition kicked into high gear. The second oldest, longest running venue for viewing art quilts in the world, this exhibition was conceived of in 1979 by quilt historian Ricky Clark. She had gone to see the very first Quilt National in Athens, Ohio, and was inspired by what she saw. As one of a group of people working to create an arts center in Oberlin, Ohio, Ricky knew immediately that she wanted to create a high quality exhibition that would occur in the off-years of Quilt National. Thus, both the Firelands Association for the Visual Arts (FAVA) and The Artist as Quiltmaker were born, and the first exhibition opened in 1981. Since that time, every year a major art quilt exhibition is on view in Ohio.

It was in creating a symposium to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the exhibition that I was inspired to write my book, Uncommon Threads: Ohio's Art Quilt Revolution, to outline the untold story of Ohio's role in the now worldwide art quilt movement. We are now in our 28th year, and The Artist as Quiltmaker IV exhibition that opens next spring promises to be another wonderful exhibition. This year's juror, Carolyn Mazloomi, arrives next Saturday to view the entries, and make her initial selections. I'll keep you posted!

In a brief aside, I mentioned in my last blog posting, at the end, that I would be writing next about my participation in Compositional Conversation, an artists project conceived by Terry Jarrard Dimond. I had my weeks mixed up, so will be working on the project now in my possession, and writing about it in the weeks to come. Check out the video of the project thus far, and feel free to add your comments at the link above.

As time presses in around me, I continue to experiment with my Magic Baby reversible overalls design. I finished my second prototype this week. This time I altered a pattern that had no separate bodice, so I was able to applique my desired designs directly onto the body of the overalls. For the outside, I used a brightly colored denim twill with some cotton scraps in soft colors, and for the reverse, a matching and very soft cotton knit.

Other than applying one section of the snap tape backwards, this cute prototype was fun to make. I tried a different solution for the shoulder closures than I have used for my Magic Baby Dresses, because I want to come up with a closure that will work for little boys.

Using twill tape covered with stitched ribbon, I altered the shape of the shoulder pieces, and inserted the strap into the top front. I made it long enough to loop through the back strap, added two button holes to the twill tape, and sewed four buttons in place, two on the front and two on the reverse.
I was worried that the snap tape would not reverse properly. That did not end up being my problem, backward snap tape aside. The thickness of the doubled twill tape gave good body, but there are two things I don't like about the button closure. Number one, I don't like the buttons. The whole design is so soft and cuddly, that I don't like the idea of a hard button on the inside up against a baby or toddler. Secondly, by sewing two buttons in essentially the same location, one on the outside and one on the inside, it is very hard to button the strap in place. Yes, I considered adding some space under the button by either wrapping cording to raise it off the surface, or by using a shank button. Neither of these solve the problem, and, if anything, would exacerbate the problem by making the buttons even more prominently sticking out. I could use my "soft" button idea, but two together is too think. So, for now, it's back to the drawing board.


  1. I sooooo should have made something to submit to FAVA.
    Please kick me.
    HARD......... <:(
    The baby garments are darling! Don't know how you do it...


    P.S. Don't work too hard.

  2. I am amazed that you give and dedicate your words to the ever evolving role of the quiltmaker as an artist in the new millenium. I am working steadily for my pieces for next May. Your little ones are so fortunate to have an artist make one of a kind designs to wear and enjoy. I think that two button situation might want to consider the velcro process and maybe have a soft bow swen on top of your ribbon straps. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

  3. Well, Anne, it's not like you haven't had anything else going on in your life!
    Mary Helen, thanks for your thoughts. I love your work, and yours, as well, Anne. We are all so lucky to be surrounded by people who create.
    Regarding the velcro suggestion, I have, of course thought of that, and even bought some very soft "baby" velcro. Since the overalls (and the dresses) are reversible AND adjustable, the problem is how to keep the velcro hidden when not in use; visually covered when reversed would work, I think, but how about when the strap is lengthened? I don't want even a circle of visible velcro showing?

  4. Hiding the old velcro...such a problem. I thought of soft loopy ribbons/bows but after wrestling with my Miss Morgan this just poses another thing to grab onto. I will keep cooking this on the back burner. Imagine and Live in Peace, dream on it...Mary Helen

  5. Yes, the velcro, if it's strong enough, works great, but is ugly to look at! Anyway, after brainstorming with another friend, I have come up with a new solution to try...I'll keep you posted.