Monday, March 31, 2014

"The CQA Collection" and StashFest in pictures

CQA was one of a select number of vendors at the highly successful 2014 StashFest event in La Conner, WA on March 29-30. Now in its second year, StashFest is a fund-raiser for the La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum--as well as an opportunity for area quilt and fiber artists to purchase unique materials for their work.

All of the offerings in "The CQA Collection" were either created by or donated by CQA members. The fabrics ranged from hand-dyed, ice-dyed, hand-painted, silk-screened and otherwise embellished fabrics to vintage materials and pieces from international sources. "Just like last year," says Carla DiPietro, CQA's StashFest coordinator, "we started with tables full of materials but sold well over half of our stock in the first hour!"

Enjoy this photo gallery of the 2014 StashFest!

All quiet, before the doors open...
Our beginning inventory covered 4 long tables. By the end of the first day, our offerings covered less than 2 tables. Background: CQA volunteers prepare for the sale to open.
(Above and below) This vendor offered gorgeous hand-painted silk scarves and materials
The kitchen of the StashFest venue was turned into a shop of yukata cottons from Okanarts
Vendor Peggy Juel showed a variety of hand-painted pieces
Vendor Melanie Hopkins' sweater was as colorful as her ice-dyed fabrics!
Kimono and Asian materials and garments from vendor Ann Darling were popular.
Clean, modern designs on silk-screened fabrics from vendor Annie Lewis...
...even included covered buttons.
CQA volunteer Patti Bleifuss arranges three large panels of ethnic fabrics that were part of our offerings.
Following images are from "The CQA Collection." Some of the fabrics were donated by members from their own stashes.

Other fabrics were specially dyed or painted for the StashFest event.

Silks were  included along with cottons.
We had ethnic fabrics (top), batiks with coordinating die-cut elements (middle) and silk-screened designs (bottom).

We offered a lot of variety in color and design....

...not to mention different scales!
Something for everyone!
We had some embroidered pieces...and whole stacks of die-cut, fusible-backed elements that sold like the proverbial hotcakes!

Our supply of fabric postcards, created by CQA members, were also hot-selling items.
When the doors opened, the event was quickly jammed with eager buyers. Our CQA fabrics were being snatched up at once! (Photo by Christina Fairley Erickson)
Very happy with the progress of the sale are, from left, Carla DiPietro, CQA's coordinator for StashFest, and Patricia Belyea, organizer of the event for the La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum. (Photo by Christina Fairley Erickson)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Burr, Remick pieces included in Art Quilt Elements 2014

Marianne Burr brings us this report from the opening weekend of the 2014 Art Quilt Elements exhibit in Pennsylvania, where both Burr and Helen Remick had pieces on display:
Marianne Burr with "Eleven 3 Thirteen" at AQE

"The Wayne Art Center, which presents Art Quilt Elements in Wayne, Pennsylvania, is out on the Main Line from Philadelphia.  Helen Remick and I have our art quilts in this exhibition and were excited to make the trip for the opening weekend.  Only 43 quilts were selected from about 600 entries, and we both felt honored to be included.
Helen Remick with "Les Fleurs de la Maladie 4" at AQE

"We enjoyed every quilt in the show, and especially appreciated hearing critiques from two of the artists who juried the show. In a walk-around with visitors and the artists who were present, the jurors made comments and interesting suggestions in discussions with the artists. 

"Jurors Gerhardt Knodel, former Director of the prestigious Cranbrook Academy of Art, and Susie Brandt, on the faculty of the Maryland Institute College of Art, had not juried quilts previously, although each has a long career in various aspects of the textile art world and each has created art using the quilt technique.  Juror Jan Myers-Newbury, who has been part of the art quilt world as an exhibitor and teacher for many years, was unable to attend the opening..

"It was very instructive to hear critiques which centered on the message and meaning of the pieces and not the technique.
Part of the 2014 AQE exhibit in Wayne, PA, with Burr's piece at the left and Remick's second from right

"Helen and I stayed at the Wayne Hotel, which is a sponsor of AQE, and enjoyed everything about it.  Its location was perfect for us because when we arrived on the train, we had only a one-block walk to the hotel.  When we went to the Wayne Art Center, the walk from the hotel was only about 10 minutes.  This hotel is an elegant establishment and is a National Historic Landmark.  It shares the block with the Wayne Presbyterian Church, a complex of beautiful old stone buildings.

"Art Quilt Elements is a top international art quilt event, and both Helen and I will continue to enter with the hope of returning to Wayne."

Saturday, March 15, 2014

"The Thread's theThing," for artist Patricia Resseguie

Patricia Resseguie

CQA's March 8 guest speaker, artist Patricia Resseguie of Camano Island, may have had no formal art training before entering the field in 1990…but she's surely made up for that in the 15 years since! In her talk, "Material Risks," Resseguie described her willingness to try every type of material that she came across as she let her creativity come forth.

Often, Resseguie will start a piece doing something she's never done before: "Everything that happens in my pathway always moves the work forward," she said. In her earliest work—done at a community arts center workshop—she experienced working with clay sculpture and was hooked. "This was the first art I'd done since elementary school," she said with a laugh.

(Clockwise from upper left) Pieces in plaster, felt, sisal
The clay soon gave way to other materials, including plaster, sisal, felt, etc. Once she had created a body of work she applied to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago…and was accepted, finally earning an MFA. Here she experimented with an even wider variety of materials including, in several pieces, stretched hog gut! 

The red is stretched hog gut!

Continuing in the graduate program at the School, Resseguie had a studio that featured a large window overlooking Lake Michigan. One day while looking at the view, she focused in on the smudged glass itself and noticed a liberal sprinkling of fingerprints there and on the windowsill.

Resseguie began to collect fingerprints...
"I became fascinated with fingerprints and how these tiny fragments of human identity look like topographical maps," she related,
"and with fingerprint dust, just like 'CSI,' I lifted some prints and began a series of collaged prints."

...ultimately turning the prints into collages.

Some of these pieces feature details filled in with a Sharpie on a panel of organza floating in front of the original print, to produce desired depth and shadow.

Detail of a piece with organza overlay to create shadows

 Later pieces in this series have physical "wrinkles" that resemble physical landscapes; she achieves this effect with thread that, once woven into the work, will shrink with heat.

Heat-shrinkable thread creates topographic relief

Another unusual material caught Resseguie's attention as well. "I was unpacking some delivered furniture and became fascinated with the packing materials--corrugated cardboard with a hexagonal, honeycomb structure." Combining the cardboard with beeswax and paraffin, she created two large-scale pieces, the first representing the life of a queen bee: "Maiden Flight to Killing Drone." Another piece, "Losing You," was created at a time of personal loss.

Honeycomb corrugated cardboard in a large sculptural piece
"Losing You"...created with corrugated cardboard, beeswax and paraffin
Labels from consumer products provided the raw materials for a wall hanging now on display at the Schack Art Center in Everett as part of the NW Designer Craftsman exhibit "Tangible Evidence." Resseguie used the labels to create a sort of net, but then found that the piece sagged too much to be properly displayed. The solution turned out to be ironing the net onto a piece of Pellon interfacing, then painstakingly cutting away the Pellon to open up the "holes" in the piece.

Piece created from consumer labels, once stabilized for hanging
Detail of labels piece
Next, Resseguie began with the material that now marks the majority of her work: thread, of all kinds. Beginning with an old, second-hand sewing machine (since replaced with a modern home-sewing machine), she started experimenting with free-motion embroidery of thumbprints on silk fabrics. Her series "Of Eyes" ranges from those of humans to those of birds, done with dense threadwork on fabric, measuring either 4x4 inches or 2x2 inches: large-scale eyes in small-scale pieces. Her "Lichen" series, where the sizes are 3x3 inches, also features dense threadwork. 

"Wind," thread piece that led to the "Of Eyes" series

"Crawl," in the "Of Eyes" series

"Squawk," left, and "Startle" in the "Of Eyes" series

Two pieces from the "Lichens" series, each 3" square
Soon she began experimenting with the available varieties of dissolve-away stabilizing materials and bobbin threads, with the result that much of her current work consists primarily of thread—lots and lots of thread! Resseguie attends classes at the North Cascades Institute each year, fascinated with the mosses, lichens and other natural elements of the Institute's forest/mountain-foothills setting.
With this inspiration she has created a number of complex, delicate, hanging installations that are created entirely of thread once the supporting dissolvable "stabilizer" material has been washed away. Some of the current pieces in this genre are what Resseguie calls her "hobbit holes," spongy-looking masses of silk threads (7.5 miles in some cases!) over an armature.

Time-consuming? Yes, and then some…anywhere from 150 to 300 hours of stitching can go into these works. Yet viewer reaction to her pieces means a lot to Resseguie, and she tells of what she calls her "hubris piece"—11 feet tall, created with 69.8 miles of thread. But when she found that "viewers were looking at this from the head and not the heart," she related, "I took it down and took it apart." (This elicited a few gasps from the listeners!)

Resseguie has survived two major life events where "all moorings were cut." She had open-heart surgery six years ago, then, three years later, literally dropped dead during an exercise class and was rescued by the use of a defibrillator. It took her a year to return to health. She was just starting on her art again when the Bellevue Arts Museum issued the call for entries for its 2012 Biennial "High Fiber Diet" exhibit. She decided to enter, and was accepted.
"Finding Home" as displayed at BAM "High Fiber Diet" exhibit

After experiencing her own "rebirth," Resseguie wanted her BAM piece to feature a lot of lightness as well as some shadows. The result, "Finding Home," is 10 feet tall and features stitched contour lines and threadwork lichens—all done on tulle, a fabric notorious for being slippery as well as delicate.

"Finding Home" closeup

Detail of lichen element in "Finding Home"
She first created a paper tracing of the contour lines with a tissue overlay for placement of the "patches" of lichen. 

Contour-line drawing (right) and overlay for lichen placement (left)
Then, after stabilizing the tulle with wash-away thread and dissolvable material, she stitched in the contour lines.
Stitching contour lines (left); closeup of lichen placement overlay (right)
She "hooped" and embroidered the lichen pieces separately, then affixed them to the panel of tulle.

Stitching lichen elements in embroidery hoops
Hooped lichen element (left); affixed elements (right)
In the shower, left, before wash-away materials removed; right, finished piece.

 "I had spent 250 hours on the piece before reaching the final step—putting it in the shower to dissolve the stabilizer and wash-away thread," she said, adding "I felt I was recolonizing my life." The piece will be featured in the indoor portion of the Anacortes Arts Festival later this year.

What's next? Among the classes Resseguie has taken at the North Cascades Institute is one on "Personal Mapping" as a way of preserving one's personal history in the form of maps. For this she is thinking of creating a bit of nostalgia by putting her maps on yet another unusual material—vintage handkerchiefs.

Resseguie's work has been widely exhibited both nationally and internationally. For more information on the artist and her work, go to