If you are unfamiliar with Wendy's work, you are in for a treat! And if you're familiar with her work, you know this will be an inspiring time as she tells us about her work and techniques.
Photo 1 and 2: Beautiful Nonsense and detail: Fabrics used were African print and black Swiss linen.Work is machine stitched, heavily trapunto’d, and machine quilted.Work is also hand painted and meticulously hand beaded. 34-1/2x53.
Now, here is Wendy Mamattah in her own words. -- Dawn
With a major in journalism and mass communication, the main medium connecting me with the world is news. I have it running all day as I quilt. I love to have the scoop of every thing as it happens right there in the moment. Which is why I happened to be tuned in when the horrific oil spill disaster in the Gulf made headlines. I thought of the lives that were lost, and the grieving families, and how fragile life was. As I slept that night, I dreamed this piece -- an abstract work on this tragedy. That is how 'Beautiful Nonsense' was born.
Every day starts with my creativity kicking in right away, and then I just dance with fabric! and I love that! Creativity is inherent in every individual, you just have to wake it up sometimes, there are lots of people who have let their creativity go to sleep, letting the fire in them die while they are still alive. Creativity in all aspects needs to be stimulated to grow, human beings were not created sedentary, but rather born to evolve.
I have always loved working with fabrics. Even as a child, born in Ghana in West Africa, as early as age five in primary school, I often received prizes for needlework instead of English or Geography, which made me realize that there was a part inside of me that loved to create. My creative side comes from my mother, a bridal dress designer who contributed a great deal to the fashion scene in Ghana in her day.
I have always thought of bringing African inspired quilts, both traditional and art quilts to the table, in a way that will reflect the true African culture and heritage which I so much behold, and which I have in me so strongly instilled, and also present them in a way that will take up the world on a whole new dimension.
I created 'Under the African Waters' after watching a lot of the world geographic channel, I started to imagine what the under water life of the West African coast line might look like with all those exotic fish and under water creatures, so I got to work creating this piece using both African and western fabrics. This art work is the winner of the ‘Sharon Guthrie 2010 Memorial Award for Innovative Arts’ at the ‘2010 Festival of Quilts Expo’ in Portland Oregon in March.
'OH! What a Wonderful' World here)`
This work is hand beaded, painted, machine appliqued, machine stitched and quilted.
Fabrics used are hand dyed cotton and organza fabric. 44 1/2 x 31-inches.
'Walking home from the market' reflects the typical day to day life style in any African village, women going to the river side to fetch water, or to wash clothing, and others returning home from the market to cook the evening meal, since women are more of home makers in Africa by tradition. The clothing the three ladies wear in this art work is pieced using the traditional method of piecing.
Walking Home From the Market
Art work is raw edge machine appliqued and machine quilted.
Hand dyed fabric for the background and a medley of Kente Prints. 28-1/2x35 inches
The expression of traditional drumming and dancing is how Africans connect during festivities, families come together, broken relationships and friendships are mended, and marriages also take place, these two quilts Kpanlogo and Asabone represent how people celebrate in Ghana and all over Africa.
All my current works depict Africa. I love the vibrant colors of African fabrics and how they pop to the eye, most of my quilts tell a story, and a lot of my story’s represent my African heritage which I carry with me every where I go, I feel when a quilt does not tell a story no matter how simple it might be it really does not have value, since quilts of old were sentimental pieces.
The crocodile lives in the water, yet breathes the air, demonstrating an ability to adapt to circumstances. 'Denkyem' the akan name for crocodile is a symbol of adaptability and perseverance, I have fallen many times in my life, and have always found the strength and courage to get up, the strength of this symbol is very dear to my heart. I dreamed this piece in an art work and I came up with this.
My final piece which I want to introduce is 'Faith Hope and Love' which are three tribal mask faces, in Africa tribal masks relating to all the different tribes are commonly seen around every corner. I dreamed this piece in blue.
Faith Hope and Love
Work was raw edge appliqued and satin stitch quilted.
Back ground fabric as batik. 27x33-1/2-inches.
My quilts, people have said, sing and dance to the viewer, and have lots of character and dimension as well as a very unique look which are the differences my choices of fabric make. Beading and painting really accentuate my work.