Art Quilt Show

Yesterday my husband and I visited an art quilt show at the Wayne Art Center in Wayne, PA.

As you may expect, this show has been disrupted by the pandemic and I think this is the first time in a couple of years that it has appeared in person. I have never taken classes at this center but I know of it through art friends, and I’ve been on their mailing list for some time. I’m considering taking a class here, and if I don’t sign up this semester, I feel sure someday I will – so this visit also allowed me to check out the facility and get familiar with the location.

Here’s the info on the show. You can visit it online, so I won’t go through all the details. I’ll just give my personal impressions of the exhibit.

As you know, I did a lot of fabric art in the past, but not much since maybe about 2000 or so, with the exception of a few small items. I was interested to see where things stand in the art quilt world and I thought this exhibit would be informative.

The quilts were hung in two large galleries. I’ll show you overviews of each one. Let’s start here, as I sort of pan around the room from the entrance.

And here is the second room:

And here are a few of the details I found of interest. Note: I didn’t record the names of the artists or the quilts, since you can easily find them on the exhibit online page – I just went for photos of details or items that captured my eye.

I noticed that many, if not most, of the quilts utilized a quilting system of straight line stitching. I think this is because most of the quilts relied on their fabrics and colors for their visual impression, and not much for texture, so the stitching did not interfere with that objective.

I found it interesting how the stitching color affected the impression of color that the fabrics made.

I think the effect was even more pronounced in this quilt. Imagine how this detail section would look if the stitching followed the fabric colors in all cases.

Our favorite quilt, however, exploited color in its overall impression as well as employing a lot of texture. I also liked the pictorial nature of the quilt, and the idea that there is a story here. I also really like the construction technique and how it reads differently close up and from across the room.

One other quilt that caught our eye was this one constructed of mesh. It was displayed so that it hung in front of a window and could be viewed from both sides. Though I took photos of just this one piece, the same maker had another one right next to it (you can see a portion of it in the first photo, at the right) that used the same technique in another way.

I found these innovative and fun to look at, and also, I liked the idea that both sides of the art could be viewed.

I enjoyed the exhibit, but overall, I feel like I’ve seen similar work before and with the couple of exceptions I mentioned, nothing felt that fresh or different to me. I guess I have seen many very well-constructed quilts over the years and I now am looking for something that stands out and shouts out to me, commands attention. And something that is maybe coming from an unexpected direction or perspective. These quilts mostly felt pretty impersonal and almost detached to me.

Well, that’s just my opinion. I’m glad to have had the chance to see fiber art in such a setting. It’s important to see fabric work in person if possible as it reads so differently than when it’s photographed. And, it’s another step for me in heading toward my goal of rejoining the fiber art world, even in the small way that I have been contemplating, with my new sewing machine and my small stash of recently collected fabrics.

Art Drop-off 3/25/22

The weather is so fickle right now, some days very mild and others brrrr freezing cold, that my walks outside and consequently my art drop offs have been hit or miss. Here is one from this date, set on the info kiosk at Moredon Road crossing on the Pennypack Trail.

And here it is in place!

Art Drop-off 3/23/22

On a chilly but sunny morning, I headed up the Pennypack Rail Trail for a walk. I had an artwork to leave somewhere along the way, too.

When I came to the first bridge (there are 2) that crosses the Pennypack Creek to the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust (PERT) on the other side, I realized I was very near the beaver pond. I haven’t been there in months – and for good reason – the area was very affected by the floods last fall from Hurricane Ida and has been off limits.

Now it looks like it is open, so I crossed and took a look.

The landscape is quite changed – the area around the pond is bare and clear now. Here is how it looked a couple of years ago:

Here it is now.

Yes, I know it is a different season, but still, it’s quite dramatic, I think. The area was completely flooded and wiped clean. Quite a bit of cleanup has been done to get to this point. Here is a shot from the same location, then and now, to give a comparison. (Though the sign is new – I guess the old one washed away, too.)

I left a painting on one of the (new) benches. You may remember the pond is at at crossroads of trails, and I chose a place along the trail heading back away from the creek into the hills.

I decided to walk along the creekside trail up to the next bridge and cross back over. It’s been rehabbed with new gravel. This is an improvement – the old road/trail was very rough with broken up pavement and washouts and drifts of gravel. You can see they are also replacing what remains of the fence.

I couldn’t go very far, though – the trail closed again where it passed through a short paved residential area. I guess the trail up ahead must still be undergoing repairs.

Well, that’s all right, I just turned around and went back over the same way I came. I’ll have to keep an eye on the place as time goes on and see how things progress.

Art Drop-Off 3/21/22

Here is a little 4″ x 4″ painting I left at the gazebo at Rockledge Park in Rockledge.

This park is a tiny community site at the start of the Pennypack Rail Trail. It’s not part of the trail but if you go into the park and head for the blue warehouse building at the back of the park, you will find mile marker 0.0 for the trail. So, this little park gets a lot of foot traffic.

I always like to take a look at this sign. I think it is stating the obvious, and I find it a little bit funny.

All right. Here is the artwork in its location in the gazebo, which is very near the park sign.

OK. That is it for today.

Art Drop-Off 3/20/22

On March 20 my husband and I were walking a section of the Perkiomen Trail, up near Schwenksville. For those of you who may remember, the trail passes by Ott’s Exotic Plants, and that’s the section we took. Although we didn’t stop in for any flowers on this trip.

Anyway, I left a couple of the 4″ x 4″ small paintings I am trying out for drop-off suitability. I left one on top of a vehicle barrier on the trail:

… and I left another one at the base of the railroad bridge. I’m sorry I don’t have a larger photo to show of the art – it’s one of the few pictures that got lost in my previous computer’s amnesia and death. I can and will show you a photo of the creek, though – I really think the Perkiomen should be called a river, not a creek, because it is wide and deep all along its length.

I did check the picnic area where I left a piece some weeks ago. It’s gone. That is a good thing.

As far as my auditioning of these small paintings is going, I am leaning toward the 4″ x 4″ being more attractive to passers-by. I think the larger 6″ x 6″ ones give people the idea that they shouldn’t take it because they aren’t sure it’s not meant to be some kind of an exhibit, maybe. I base this feeling on the fact that the 4×4’s have all gone quickly but the 6×6 seem to have lingered (recently I revisit sites often enough to know this). So if I keep making paintings to drop off, I think I will stick with 4×4.

All right! That’s where things stand right now.

Recent Art Drop-Offs

I’ve got a few drop-offs to show you, quick and simple, from the past week or so.

On February 28 I left this piece

at an info kiosk at the Green Ribbon trail, at the parking lot near the country club in Flourtown.

On March 6 I was at the Power Line Trail in Horsham and I left this painting

here at the concession stand at the ballfields at the Cedar Road entrance.

And on March 6 we were in Ardmore, PA, to stop in at my husband’s office and left this image

on a bench on the street that runs along by his building. As you can see it was raining so I put it in a plastic bag.

Now you are all caught up on art drop-offs!

Art Drop-Off and Flowers, 2/26/22

On Saturday February 26, my husband and I made a visit to Ott’s Exotic Flowers, prompted by a visit some friends had made to this same place earlier in the week. Once the idea of seeing a whole lot of greenery in winter is in your head, you have to go and find it, and give yourself a little taste of spring, don’t you?

But before we stopped in, we decided to do an art drop-off in the nearby Plank Road trailhead park area of the Perkiomen Trail. The trail passes by right in front of Ott’s. I decided to leave a flower painting in honor of spring and flowers:

We decided to set it on a picnic table under the shelter.

All right. Let’s hope someone in need of bright colors and a flower burst will come upon it and take it home.

Next, we went right over to visit with the flowers. At this time of year, there isn’t a lot of bright color from spring and summer flowers; we are a little early for that.

We did see this nice display of cyclamens. They are a winter indoor flower and popular for those gray months.

We did see these lemons. Yes, they are lemons, and they are called Ponderosa. Not surprising, that name, is it?

There were a lot of cacti to look at. I think there are no more of these than usual, but without the more showy and colorful summer annuals and perennials to compete with, they really stand out. I like the look of the individual plants and also how the rows of pots made patterns.

I also liked this airy starburst:

And I also enjoyed this display of purply plants. I like their look, and I also like that they remind me of our neighbors in our previous house, who had a plant like this in their kitchen window.

And, to top off the visit, we saw the resident cat!

Art Drop-Off, Pennypack Rail Trail, 2/24/22

Quite a different morning from yesterday’s spring-like weather! On my walk today I was wearing a shirt, two sweatshirts, and my winter coat; tights and sweatpants. It’s cold out there.

Anyway, my husband and I did a few miles on the Pennypack Rail Trail. This is a long-familiar location; I must’ve walked or run hundreds, if thousands, of miles here over the last ten years or so.

I chose a small painting, 6″ x 6″, for today’s drop off. It’s one I did some time back, 2018, I see from my records – I’m going through my inventory and sending these out into the world, as well as new ones that I am making now.

We’re expecting snow/sleet/rain over the next day. I chose a sheltered location – one of the old control boxes from when this was an active rail line. I have left many items in it over the years. Not too long ago, someone added the words you see above the top shelf. I like the message and I hope my painting fits in.

Here is the whole scene as you might come up upon it on the trail.

All right, that is it for today! Happy Thursday.

Art Drop-Off: Victory Field, 2/22/22

So many reasons to do an art drop-off today:

a mild morning

another chance to try out a category of new objects to drop off

this wonderful date, all 2’s of it!

So early this morning my husband and I went to Victory Field in Plymouth Meeting, about 15 or 20 minutes from home, to walk around the perimeter trail. Rain was threatening, so we wanted a spot where we could get back to the car quickly if need be (though I had my raincoat, so that I could just slip it on and keep going if we wanted to).

Victory Field is a complex of sports fields adjacent to Plymouth-Whitemarsh HS (my husband is an alum, but this field did not exist back in his day). The path is a paved one mile circuit, not very interesting, but easy to walk along.

Lots of groups use these fields besides the school students – when we arrived the Chestnut Hill College women’s lacross team was practicing as the sun came up.

I had chosen this 4″ x 4″ “portrait” done on 3/8″ masonite for today’s drop-off.

I realized it might get wet in the rain and I wondered if I could do anything about that. Yes. I have some plastic art bags left from other projects. This little guy fit inside. I put a tag in there with him with my standard line: Take me with you if you want to. So I was prepared before we left home for any location we might choose.

I set him on a bench in this small memorial garden.

I feel that I would rather just put the art outside with no coverings, but I realize there will not always be a good place to set a small painting where it will be protected. I think this solution does not take away from the experience of a person who might find it.

All right, that’s it for today!

Art Drop-Off, Slaughter Beach, DE; 2/21/22

Since my husband had the day off for the Presidents’ Day holiday, we decided to take a tiny trip to the Delaware Bay beach of Slaughter Beach, about 2 hours from home. I’ve written about this place before. We came here a couple of times last summer, so I won’t go into much detail – take a look at the earlier post if you want to know more.

I also decided that it was time for me to get back to doing some art drop-offs. I haven’t done any for quite a few months. My eyesight issues have gotten in the way. Now that they have improved and healed so much, I am more able to think beyond the next doctor appointment.

I’m also testing out new items to drop off. I gave my kiln away recently, having decided I did not want to do clay at home anymore. (If I get the urge, there are plenty of art centers with studio time for me to choose). Clay tiles and figurines have been the backbone of my art drop-off routine for some time, because they hold up to the weather. This feature is important in case the item lingers before someone picks it up.

I’ve decided one item I will offer out to the world is small paintings on board. True, they will not last forever outside, but usually these items get taken home pretty quickly, and I figured I’d look for sheltered spots to leave them in.

I chose this one for today. I thought the marsh-like scene would fit in well with this location, which is a narrow sand beach backed by miles of marshes.

All right. We got on the road early and arrived at the beach about 9:45 AM. We parked right across the street from the firehouse, as usual.

This beach is quiet even in mid-summer – the street has virtually no traffic. Same thing today.

We crossed the street over to the pavilion, where I set the painting on the info kiosk. You can see it on the ledge on the left side of the bulletin board.

Then we headed to the beach, just a few steps away. As you can see, it is quiet and peaceful here.

The waves are big enough to make a muted surf sound, but not to chase you up and down the beach.

The beach does not offer many shells but is instead pebbly, with water-worn stones scattered all over in different colors and shapes.

I collected some stones and shells to take home, but mostly, we just walked. I guess we were out there about 2 hours or maybe a little more.

We returned to the car, changed our shoes, and took our lunch over to the pavilion to eat.

As we were eating, a couple came around looking over the pavilion as a site for a gathering in July. We fell into conversation and learned that they were planning a celebration of life party for their young adult son, who had died recently. His mother walks here on this beach a lot and thought her son would have liked a beach party.

When they told us the party was to be in July near his birthday, I asked what date it was. It turns out that it is the same day that my granddaughter will turn two. I know on that day we will be thinking of this young man who we never met, and his parents who loved him so much.

Our conversation returned to such mundane things as to whether the pavilion has electrical outlets or not (yes, it does); they left, and we finished our lunch.

I found this day very emotional and meaningful. I am grateful for my eyesight which is so much better than the last time we were here. And for my husband and all the enjoyment we have in doing outings like this one. I note the warm (for February) weather and the sunshine. I am pleased by the fact that I resumed the activity of art drop-offs (not just the drop off itself but the planning and the creating something I hope others will like). I feel for the parents who have lost their child and I am grateful for my family and especially for my little granddaughter.

*********

My husband took a couple of photos of me doing the Polar Bear toes in the water event – a toned-down version of the Polar Bear plunge events done at the beach in winter. The water was not that cold, really, which is why I look perfectly cheerful.

And here I go back up the beach to see what I can see!

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