Monday, January 21, 2008

MAGnificent Inspiration: The Art Quilt

This is a picture of me and Marcia with Michael James. Marcia had taken a class with him a couple of years ago in New Mexico and I took a class with him 8 years ago at QBL (my first time at QBL).

Yesterday was quite a busy day! The Memorial Art Gallery here in Rochester is hosting an exhibit called Wild by Design (there is a book out by the same title). The exhibit includes many quilts from the magnificent collection at the University of Nebraska. There is also a small exhibit of Michael James art quilts. The opening reception was Saturday night and was sold out! They had to turn away people and 1800 attended. As an auxiliary to this exhibit, they called for quilters to come to the museum and develop a small art quilt in response to one or two of the pieces there. 30 quilters made 36 quilts which they artfully displayed next to the pieces which inspired the quilters. 10 of those small quilts were sold the night of the opening reception!! The best part is I think I know all of the quilters except for one or two as they are members of the art quilt group I belong to (RAFA). I was away when they called for people to participate and would not have had enough time as it turned out anyway -- what a wonderful opportunity for those who did make the small quilts.

A real treat was hearing Michael James speak for almost an hour and a half. He was downright charming! I took a class from him right at QBL before I retired. He is a gifted teacher (IMHO) and very passionate about his art. He was not very social back then but then the temps were in the mid 90's with the sun pouring into the room we were in most of that four days!! His color class was a real boost to my ability to assess what dyes would make what colors and how close so many colors were.

We couldn't take pictures of the Nebraska exhibit or Michael James' quilts but I did take pictures of almost all of the art quilts and the paintings that inspired them. I will put up a couple that were some of my favorites. You can look at Marcia DeCamp's blog ( or Jeanne Beck's blog( to see their quilts (they were also among my favorites as well).

This piece is by Pat Berardi and is called Reaching Out. It was inspired by a piece of Wendell Castle's wooden sculpture of a hand.

This is The Meanderer by Jeanne Simpson and is based on The Wanderer by George Grosz.

This is called What Would Jesus Wear and is by Pat Pauly inspired by Madonna and Child with Saints.

To see all the quilts, go to my Picasa site

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