• Carol Wiebe

More “Avant Garde” Quilters

Deidre Adams, as we are told at art Strings, “likes to experiment with new ways of combining process and techniques, from the traditional to the avant-garde.” I saw her work in Quilting Arts Magazine Issue 24 (Winter 2006) and was immediately impressed by her designs, but captivated by her process. As she explains on her own site,

“I start each piece by making a heavily-stitched canvas from fabric and batting to provide surface texture for the painting. Sometimes I add extra dimension by including cast-off trimmings from previous works. Then, with paint, I begin a process of creation and destruction, of an evolving image that may change several times before I consider it finished. Colors are built up in many layers, and a complex surface texture is the result. “

Sandra Meech‘s quilts are really large transfers. “Transferring photographs onto cotton using an acrylic medium, has been my favoured technique over the years,” she informs us. This imparts a “hard” surface to the quilts that is still amenable to machine stitching.

Like Adams, I have found I love to paint on quilts, to add both color and texture. I have tried gesso, an array of acrylic mediums, fluid acrylics, and watercolors. As far as other materials go (materials that are not paint), markers, pencil crayons, pastels, ink, and foil come to mind. I also collage paper, interfacing, and various papier mache objects I have designed and made to the surface. Like Meech, I employ transfers with acrylic medium when I feel it is suitable for a piece. I also cover the entire surface of my quilt with acrylic medium when I have deemed it “finished.” Later I gesso and/or add medium to the back, and even papier mache it. Somehow, it excites me to ultimately harden what starts out as a soft textile, especially because the process enables me to make any shape of quilt I like, without supports. My quilts can also be wiped off. They are rendered impermeable, strong–they will not deteriorate like the quilts of old.

Beryl Taylor is not a quilter, but her mixed-media work really inspired me to go way beyond the quilted fabric tradition. See entries from other fans, at “And Sew On,” “Altered Antiquity,” “Arte Es Vida,” “Quilting and Patchwork,” “A Little Imagination,” and “Layers upon Layers,” just to name a few! Obviously, Taylor has struck a chord with creative people who want to try different ways of putting artwork together. I think her modular approach, as previously exemplified for me by Maggie Grey, of “Workshop on the Web” fame, has great appeal. I love the open-endedness of it, and the serendipity! You make all these wonderful little jewels, and then have the fun of seeing what goes together!

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