Art and quilts

Linda's taped a really interesting short series for DMTV, all about how it's possible to find inspiration for quiltmaking from fine art painting. I've just re-watched the first episode which'll go live on the website tomorrow and I have to say, I'm itching to start something new now! I hope you'll all feel the same.

Preparing for these videos raised an interesting conversation, I wondered if, generally, art quilts are about a generation or two behind fine art painting. Controversial? Maybe. I think though, as an artist who works primarily in stitched textiles that it's important to consider one's place in the grand scheme of art, right across genre, media and method. When I look at my own work, and that of other quilters, I do tend to find myself measuring it against traditional 'fine art'. I ask myself, 'if that was a painting would I be impressed?'. Sometimes I think it's easier, because we know that such a lot of time and often difficult techniques are employed by quilters in their work, to afford an art quilt more than it deserves when often composition and concept is tired, or too predictable or just not there.

I've walked into galleries in the past and seen paintings and installations and those moments have literally changed me, how I work and how I view other's work. I've had goosebumps and the hairs on the back of my neck have stood up. There are pieces I've seen both by recognised masters and contemporary artists that will stick with me forever, that I'll never forget and who's impact doesn't fade over time. If you've ever been in a gallery painted blood red with the immensely powerful sculptures by Pacheco then maybe you felt the same. That's the wonder of art, that it can affect a person so deeply, that it can resonate on a level that nothing else can.

So are art quilts merely following in the wake of other genres? Have painters already been there, done that? Look at this one by Vieira Da Silva:

The Theatre of Gerard Philipe, painted in 1975.

Nearly 40 years old, and there are other examples in a similar vein that take us even further back. Have to say I think it's a wonderful piece with a certain timeless quality. It could quite easily be a quilt made in 2014 don't you think?

So what am I getting at? What's the point of all this rambling? Well, just to tell myself really to never be satisfied with the predictable and the tried and tested. There's a need to always try harder and do more.

Better do some work!


  1. What a thought provoking post!!! Very good!!! And look forward to you creating that quilt based on the inspiration from Philipe's work!!


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