Sunday, 18 January 2015

IQF 2014 Part 3: Realistic?

I'm not casting aspersions with that question mark on the skills of the following quilters, but one quilt, while having quite realistic components, does not depict a particularly realistic scenario.

While I know there are discussions afoot about the artistic merit of quilts made to reproduce a photograph (see this blogpost for a summary) and that's something to consider for yourself and if you're in charge of dishing out awards at shows. These quilts blow my mind with the skill they clearly require. Like, how do you even begin?

Alleyway by M. Bunte

This quilt drew me in first, straight from the front of the modern quilt guild's exhibit, it enticed me over. Alleyway by M. Bunte. Lafayette, Indiana is the inspiration and piecing, hand-appliqué, painting, and machine quilting brought the quilt together. The brooding greys, and the stark shadows against the lit buildings caught my attention and imagination. Even months later I love to stare at this quilt and wonder about the rest of this town.

Little Blue Planet by Christine Alexiou is realistic, whimsical, and deep all at once.

Little Blue Planet by Christine Alexiou

The quilt showcases machine piecing, free-motion quilting, hand-appliqué, and painting. The inspiration was a view of Earth from space and I'll quote some of the artist's statement here:

Close up of Little Blue Planet by Christine Alexiou

" the end, Earth is our only real home and we all must live here together. The window represents the idea that, no matter what landscape we see, it is only an aspect of one home. The night sky we see reminds us of the vastness of the universe..."

Three Brains by Laura Espenscheid

I wish I'd had more time to go back and spend it with Laura Espenscheid's Three Brains. This quilt really resounded with me. I think it's incredibly brave to be open with your personal struggles and it's something I admire. That sort of vulnerable honesty is something my too often too independent self aspires toward, and I have a personal quilt idea that has been permanently placed on the back burner for being too personal for me to put out there. So I really loved this quilt on many levels. The techniques used were fusing, trapunto, and machine quilting.

Before the Storm by Ludmila Aristova

Before the Storm by Ludmila Aristova uses metallic fabrics and what I would call fabric origami but I'm sure has an official sewing name. This quilt is part of a series called 'Cityscapes' by the artist in which she interprets New York City through texture and colour in fabric, sequins, ribbons, and metallic thread. I was right there is an official name for the fabric origami, it's listed in the techniques which are many and varied! This quilt uses appliqué, hand and machine piecing, hand quilting, painting, hand-pleated, tucked, and prairie points to translate New York City into fabric. The colours are lovely I think, but I've always liked stormy skies.

Ole' #9 by Donna Severance and British Garden by Anna Maria
Schipper Vermeiren

These next two quilts I've popped in as a pair because I took pretty poor pictures at the time, unfortunately, and I largely took them to show to my parents. On the left is Ole' #9 by Donna Severance with its painted sky background and the freezer paper pieced train that almost pops off the quilt at you. On the right is British Garden by Anna Maria Schipper Vermeiren which placed in the awards somewhere (detailed, right! I know my ribbons) and reminds me of an oil painting.

Beneath My Wing by David Taylor

Finally, we have Beneath My Wing by David Taylor. It's really hard to believe this is made of fabric and thread. The shading and perspectives are so perfect, the time it must take to to find all the right pieces to put this together. It's really jaw-dropping when you start to consider it. This quilt won the the Fairfield Master award for Contemporary Artistry.

Ok, there you have it. Realistic quilts, filled with skill and occasional whimsy. I wonder if you would attempt to make one? I find them daunting, the way I know when I try to sketch something from real life it won't actually look like that thing. But without practice no-one gets better, or something, right? Still not sure if I'm interested, I am into picking up some of those skills though and maybe applying them elsewhere...

A x


  1. Wow, love the little blue planet but the British Garden and Beneath my Wing are amazing.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I don't think I've seen any quilts in person that were this realistic. They are amazing but not something that I think I will ever strive to make.


Thank you so much for commenting! I love hearing your honest thoughts and opinions on whatever I've been harping on about :)

I email replies as soon as I get the chance.