14 May 2018

Gladi Porsche Quilts at the New England Quilt Museum

Whig Rose, 2006.

Award-winning New Hampshire quilter Gladi Porsche's artwork was exhibited at the New England Quilt Museum from January 10, 2018 - April 29, 2018, in the classroom space. Here is her artist's statement; I think many quilters and other fiber artists will find it has elements of many a textile artist's biography:
I fell in love with sewing when I made a skirt in my 7th grade Home Economics class and over the next 10 years I made most of my own clothes and learned to knit and embroider.  Then all needlework ceased as I went to medical school, married, had children, and established my career in college health, specializing in the care of adolescents and young adults.  Then I discovered quilting in 1993 and, after making my first quilt,  I was hooked!

My quilts are mostly traditional in style, but I try to create my own designs as much as possible, often using traditional quilt blocks, color, and nature as inspiration.  I enjoy the tactile pleasures of playing with fabrics and constructing quilts and the creative challenges and visual pleasures of using color and pattern to create designs.  I love the relaxing and meditative aspects of hand work and most of my quilts are hand quilted and appliqued, many with hand embroidered embellishments.

I strive to make quilts that are beautiful and interesting so that viewers want to linger and take in not just the overall design, but the fabrics and stitching details, too.  I strive for excellence in craftsmanship.

My quilts are functional; all beds and most walls in my home have quilt on them.  Those on the walls lend a special feeling of warmth to their spaces and those on the beds provide real warmth!  Some of those quilts on our beds are award winners but I believe in using them and enjoying them.
Here, in no particular order, are some of the quilts which spoke to me in particular. I find Dr. Porsche has a gift for borders and corners, so I have included close-ups of these.

Stella Nova, 2016.

Stella Nova, corner detail.

Keeping Autumn With Me, 2003.

Keeping Autumn With Me, corner detail.

Feathering My Nest (The Right Way), 2012.

Feathering My Nest, corner detail.

Grandmother's Fantasy, 2005.

Grandmother's Fantasy, corner detail.

One traditional pattern which I like but seems rarely used is the block Palm Leaf and Dr. Porsche features it in two quilts.  Due to the layout of the room I was unable to take a picture of the entire quilt below, but you get the idea.

Spring Sonata, partial, 2017.

Spring Sonata, border detail.

Joyful Noise, 2016.

Several of the artworks were inspired by Japanese design and indigo fabrics.

Spirit of Japan #3: Kuruma (the Wheel), 2017

Spirit of Japan #3, detail.

As it takes as long as 3 years for Gladi to make one of her full-size quilts, she began making doll size quilts some years ago, as way to try out ideas and to have the satisfaction of more immediate gratification. Some of these doll quilts are in the case below; I wish they had been on full display but understand the limitations of the exhibit space.

Doll quilts, 2012 - 2017.

Imperfect Beauty, 2013.

One of my favorite quilts in the exhibit is above; in this quilt the solids and near-solid fabrics really allow the applique, embroidery and hand-quilting to shine.

Imperfect Beauty, detail.

30 April 2018

More Knitting at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts

Lydia Crocheting in the Garden at Marly, Mary Cassatt, 1880.

Mary Cassatt's plein-air portrait of her sister doing needlework is part of a wonderful exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York.  In a sort of kindred-spirit tableau vivant, knitting was also on display in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, as part of the Member Make and Mingle program. In this program, free for members and up to four of their guests, about 50 women (and some men) brought yarn and needles into the Shapiro Courtyard.  Beginning at 9 am, an hour before the regular opening schedule, we sat on comfortable chairs, couches and stools and manipulated our needles and yarns. A knitter who also teaches first grade engaged us in a round of brief introductions and descriptions of our projects. The lighting was much better than in an earlier incarnation of this activity.

Busy knitters in the Shapiro Courtyard.

Skilled hands at work.

My friend Robin knits with hand-spun yarn.

Soft mohair yarn spilling out of a bag with matching handles.

When we learn about artwork in reproduction, either in print or online, it's easy to overlook the element of texture - on pages and screens, subtle surface qualities are hard to perceive and appreciate. Moreover, we must interact with artworks in a museum visually - no touching allowed!  So, working with yarn, from smooth worsted to fuzzy angora - reconnects us to the tactile appeal of objects.

Scarf in a sort of sampler style.

Knitter wearing her creations.

Knitting in company.

Dale Chihuly's Lime Green Icicle Tower looms over knitters.

Knitting is also one of the ways folks who think they are not artists nevertheless demonstrate that creativity extends beyond the traditional plastic arts. Conjuring objects from skeins of yarns  requires decisions about color, texture and form, as well as technical mastery.

Sweaters in purple and lime green.

The event was a sort of delightful fashion show as well, as many knitters wore their own beautiful garments, such as the sweater in the image below.

Expert work and great colors.

Coffee and cables.

Finally, another image of a someone engaged in needlework, painted by one of the women artists in the Impressionist movement, Berthe Morisot.  (This painting is also part of the Public Parks, Private Gardens exhibit at the Met.)  I wonder if the young woman's hands were moving as quickly as Morisot's brush, as the painter worked at her easel in the garden capturing the atmosphere and light of the moment.

There are two more Knitting in the Galleries sessions this spring: May 5 and June 2.

Young Woman Knitting, Berthe Morisot, c. 1883

18 March 2018

Quilts Japan at the New England Quilt Museum

Miiko Kuwahara, I want to be a Tree.

In March a friend and I visited the New England Quilt Museum to take in Quilts Japan, on view through April 21, 2018. This exhibit features 35 quilts from the biannual competition sponsored by the Japan Handicraft Instructors' Association (JHIA).  As always, the workmanship is outstanding, and many of the quilts bring an imaginative spin to traditional patterns. Japan has a very large cohort of quilters and a long history of exceptional artistry in textile arts.  To my delight, many of the quilts in the show are hand-quilted.

Here, in no particular order, are some images from the exhibit.

I want to be a Tree, detail.

Ayumi Asano, Good Luck.

Good Luck, detail.

Visitors of all ages enjoy the show.

Miyuki Kuwahara, A Summer Afternoon.

Akiko Sumiyoshi, Round Dance.

Round Dance, detail.

Yuko Maekawa, Ring.

Ring, detail.

Yoko Kagegama, Sparkling until the End.

Takako Kita, Oriental Baltimore.

Oriental Baltimore, detail.

Makiko Nakamura, Under the Eternal Starlit Sky.

Under the Eternal Starlit Sky, detail.

Seiko Hasumoro, Prayer for Peace.

Prayer for Peace, detail.

Takako Iwai, Circulation.

Circulation, corner detail.

Toshii Naoi, A Corridor of Memories, detail.

Meiko Hara, Spinning a Happy Moment.

Toshiko Tanaka, Peony Flower.

Peony Flower, detail.

Hikeko Ozawa, Nostalgia.

Mikiko Narita, Cool Breeze.

Cool Breeze, detail.

Mami Noda, Fragments of Snow.

Fragments of Snow, detail.

Norika Sakurai, Raindrops.

Harue Konishi, SYO #80.

SYO #80, detail.

Takako Oikawa, When Night Melts into Morning.

Keiko Ohno, Triangles to My Heart's Content.

Triangles to My Heart's Content, detail.

Hitsuko Kawano, Endless Waves.

Endless Waves, detail.