Because Art Quilt Exhibit March 6 - April 30
Sunday, March 26
4 pm - 5:30 pm
Because is an art quilt exhibit featuring 10 quilters, most of whom are nationally known and 3 of whom are part of a 30-year retrospective currently hanging at the Quilt Museum in Lowell. The quilts feature very different styles and techniques, with quilters ranging in age from 30s to 80s.
Since I can remember, I have always loved working with color and fabric. I am a self-taught quilt maker who creates abstract landscapes by piecing and sewing thin strips of cotton fabric through the cotton batting onto the back. My work is in numerous museums, institutions and private collections including the American Museum of Art + Design, the Lodge at Turning Stone in Verona, NY, the Federal District Courthouse in Springfield, MA and Pat Metheny. Publications: 2015 Art Quilting Studio, 2016 Abstracts and Geometry, 2012 Machine Quilting Unlimited, 2012 Quilting Arts
When I first started quilting, my life was full of small children both at home and at work. Within that chaos, quilting provided an ordered universe that I could manipulate and control. Over 40 years have passed, my children are adults, I've retired from teaching, yet I still love to quilt.
My original artist’s statement said that my work was about simple things, events in my life, places I travel. But the world is not simple, nor is any life. While I continued to draw themes from my everyday life, I feel the actual quilts have become more complex.
I started the series called “Fragments” 12 years ago, intending to make 100 of them. To date I am on number 548. Why? If you are approaching your 65th birthday, which I was, you think about the aging process, the discarded, the invisibility. That was the genesis of “Fragments,” incorporating discarded unseen objects into miniature textiles. I think of them as little haiku--random poems expressed in cloth.
I enjoy quilting as a medium for its endless possibilities, in spite of its technical demands. I did not, unlike so many quilters, grow up lovingly making doll clothes and extravagant Halloween costumes. I hated sewing, but was drawn to quilts because of their connection with anonymous women of the past, who produced wonderful works with needle and thread.
After obtaining my BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, I began creating works in fiber in 1968 and have been actively exhibiting them since 1975. I successfully explored the American quilting tradition over the next twenty years, and was included in multiple Quilt Nationals, Quilt Visions, and other national and international venues, including Japan, South America, and Europe. In 1998 I attended a two-week session at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts with Chunghie Lee, a Korean fiber artist. I was ready for a path toward significant change in my work, and had already been studying some fiber construction techniques from Asia. Chunghie introduced me to the construction of silk pojagi, a Korean wrapping cloth, and soon afterwards I began the exclusive use of silk organza in my works. The translucent organza allowed me to explore the layering of various materials including feathers, seeds, and paper between layers of silk. The resultant works are transparent and light, and move in the slightest current of air.
In search of a non-toxic, simple method to imprint my own imagery onto the organza, I attended a second Haystack Session in 2005 to study gelatin plate printmaking with Susan Webster. Later, I added other printing processes including direct printing, the computer and/or copier, and linoleum blocks to obtain the desired imagery on the silk. Most of my work involves pre-printing the organza, layering it, hand or machine stitching it, and cutting it into pieces before composing the larger piece. I have exhibited these pojagi based works nationally and internationally, since 2000 and they have been included in many books including the Lark Publication 500 Art Quilts and Textiles: The Art of Mankind by Mary Schoeser.
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Ms. Grayson studied at the School of Fine Arts, then at the Arts Students League in New York City and Interior Design and Graphic Design at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY.
In the last twenty five years she has worked primarily with fabric, producing a great number of art quilts. She has written articles for fiber arts trade magazines, has taught and lectured to different quilting associations and is currently teaching master classes in Fabric Collage at her home studio.
Her work has been collected nationally and internationally and has been shown in group and solo shows, in private galleries and in museums. The New England Quilt Museum, Lowell, MA, has recently acquired one of her quilts for their permanent contemporary quilt collection.
Carol Anne Grotrian
For over thirty years, I’ve combined traditional American quilting and Japanese shibori dyeing, an ancient form of tie-dye. Shibori’s many techniques, whether stitched, knotted, clamped, pleated or pole wrapped, created organic patterns that helped me find my voice in landscape quilts. Since 1989, landscape has provided abundant inspiration and challenges, giving me more ideas for quilts than I have time to make them. My quilts are usually portraits of specific places and times and often create memories of the “breathing spaces” I’ve experienced.
For me, as a subject, landscape quietly voices layers of meanings.
Like much contemporary art, my quilts are a careful abstract balance of shape and color, which is overlaid with line—the quilted stitches. I'm grateful that the struggle to make art decisions is balanced by the physical labor of fabric dyeing and the calm of stitching.
My quilts begin with white cotton that I dye using fiber reactive dyes. Indigo often colors my work as well. A measured, calm handling of the indigo vat not only prolongs its life, but also helps center me in a meditative way. My indigo quilts are often whole cloth, with the tops made of one piece of dyed fabric. Occasionally a design has me using potato dextrin resist to create crackly patterns reminiscent of waxed batik.
My current work has me shifting from traditionally sewing pieces of fabric together with finished seams Reminiscent of mending and inspired by Japanese boro textiles, I’m using a raw edge approach, where the fabrics are layered and stitched directly to batting and backing. I love stitching and quilting by hand, especially in an era that moves too fast.
My sense of place emerged in the northeastern part of the U.S., where I’ve lived since 1979. My quilts are in corporate, private and museum collections. They have been exhibited nationally and internationally and have appeared in various publications, most recently in Mary Schoesser’s Textiles: The Art of Mankind.
My best critics are my husband of nearly 50 years and members of my crit group, who have given me good advice for over 25 years. I’m a member of the Surface Design Association and the Studio Art Quilt Association. I’ve made my living from my quilts, from shibori dyed wearable art, from teaching and from bookkeeping. My studio is in my home in Cambridge, MA. My quilts can be seen at www.carolannegrotrian.com.
I was first introduced to quilting when my not-yet-husband Eugene, worked for a year in Winooski. There I met the ultimate Vermonter: Susy and her husband built their own house with their own hands. She had a wood stove in the middle of the main room and on it was an always-simmering fabulous stew made of vegetables from her garden. There were sheep in the yard, whose wool would be sheared, carded, spun and knitted. In her free time Susy quilted. By hand. From beginning to end. Before then, the only “quilting” I knew about was on a Sears bedspread. Flash forward to 1990 when one of my Eugene’s ultimate-Frisbee teammates asked if anyone knew anyone who might be interested in learning to quilt. With thoughts of Susy’s incredible tiny scraps delicately pieced and lovingly quilted, I jumped in. Our fearless leader, Jane, led our little group each month with a different block design. I loved my new friends. I hated the quilting. I was the only non-engineer in the group and while they effortlessly counted and measured and precisely cut and sewed pieces together, I grew increasingly frustrated with my inability to make corners meet and edges remain straight. At some point I decided to try to make a picture out of fabric. I used my children’s arts & crafts felt scraps and made a piece that hangs on the back of my studio door to remind me of where I began. I loved the freedom of touching the fabric while moving it around, of cutting shapes that looked like an arm, or a violin, or a mountain and of creating compositions that spoke to me and to viewers of the quilt. Very slowly, with the constant support and encouragement of that early quilting group – which continues to this day - I tried different techniques, read a lot of quilting books, took classes (with Carol Anne Grotrian and Beatriz Grayson most notably) and started shooting photos of everything I thought I might use as a basis for a quilt, or inspiration for one. Coming in to the Mother Brook studios allowed me to practice my art and work consistently. My quilting has changed quite a bit over the years and happily, continues to evolve. Best of all, I never – ever – have to make any corners meet.