Friday, August 22, 2008

Ohio Stars in my eyes and in Quilters World

Tropical Storm Fay rained on us nonstop for three days and continues to drizzle, but I sneaked out to the mailbox around midnight when the winds died down and retrieved my latest copy of Quilters World Magazine. My article about Ohio Star quilt design variations is featured and as usual editors Sandra Hatch and Sue Harvey did a 'stellar' job.

It was a fun article to research and write and I'm still fascinated by the way people can look at the same pattern and turn it into something amazingly unique and totally different.

I find it difficult to name my first choice of all of the quilts I viewed, but Maria Elkins' Ohio Dreaming stays with me. She painted the likeness of her daughter on the quilt shaped like Ohio and the use of the Ohio star quilt at the bottom couldn't be more perfect. Its folds remind me of the waves of the Ohio River and the red, white and blue -- Ohio's innate patriotism. What a talent! And what a touching quilt.

I so enjoy researching these quilt articles, interviewing quilters, artists and designers and learning more about them and the quilting arts. There are so many I admire, hopefully I can bring them to the pages of this blog for you to admire, too.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Laurel Burch: Gone but never forgotten...

Where have I been that I haven't encountered or realized the exquisite art of Laurel Burch? Sadly this icon has died, Sept. 13, 2007 at her home in Novato, Calif. She was 61.

But her art continues to speak of her loves and reflect the woman as she described herself on her website: “I live within the vivid colors of my imagination ... soaring with rainbow feathered birds, racing the desert winds on horseback, wrapped in ancient tribal jewels, dancing with mythical tigers in steamy jungles.”

A self-taught artist, her creations combine whimsy, vibrant colors, quirky personalities, and a deep love of nature and animals into scenes that draw me in. I love her fantastic felines and mythical horses. I want to surround myself with the world she has created. No harm can get through to this world she has created.

From what I've read, she has battled pain and degenerative osteopetrosis her entire life. Perhaps because of the limitations she felt in the 'real world,' she drew within to find or create her own where she felt no pain and was surrounded by the most carefree, outrageous array of animals. Handicaps are only limiting to those who think they are handicaps, I suppose. She certainly didn't let hers stop her as she found a niche for her various lines of jewelry and products between high priced designs like those designed for Tiffany's, and the readily available low priced costume jewelry.

For a visit to her work, stop by her gallery online. Or to see the line of Laurel Burch fabrics, here's a site with a selection. Or check out her Kindred Creatures quilt book with 12 projects to make using her designs.

And, a special tribute to this 'artist hero' demonstrates what her life's work means to others.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Beauty in numbers

Caryl Bryer Fallert got miffed the last time I included her quilt in one of my blogs, mostly because I misspelled her name just a bit. I double checked to make sure its right this time.

I try to not always refer to the same artists. But Caryl is one of those gifted subversive stitchers who needles us with color and beauty and makes us see things from a different perspective.

Her series of Fibonacci quilts certainly make me look at math with new eyes. Her Fibonacci 4, shown here definitely departs from any concept I had about Fibonacci and his series of numbers.

I thought of her work and a Zen quilt I featured previously on this blog when trying to figure out what I wanted to hang between the two mirrors in my newly remodeled bathroom. I wanted something to hang from the high ceiling that would cascade down like a waterfall, but more abstract. I might applique some tropical leaves to it, but something that hints of Asian misty rivers and brings calm to the area. In my searching for the right quilt, I stumbled across Fibonacci, Phi and the golden rectangle.

Diana Venters and Elaine Ellison share a love of math and quilting. Together they have created more than 100 quilts since their collaboration began in the 1980s. The idea of basing a quilt of mine on mathematical theories would make anyone who knows me roll on the floor and laugh till they cry. Me and math -- not a good match. But I've always been enthralled with this 'language of numbers' that I could never quite figure out. I've enjoyed reading about the magic of mathematics, too. Golden Phi -- so mystical and a basis for the world's structures. At least that's what Mario Livio puts forth in his delightful book "The Golden Ratio."

If at a loss for a pattern, Electric Quilt, offers the ability to design a pattern based upon mathematical concepts. One of them inspired my bathroom design with slight variations, here it is. Not exactly a waterfall -- but think narrower, longer, and blues. Well, I tend to write about quilts more than I construct them, but I've enjoyed imagining this one. Math quilts amaze me. Those based on the same theories turn out so different. I think Caryl's Fibonacci series shows that compared to my little Zen quilt concept here.

I have high hopes for my little Zen waterfall quilt. But then I have high hopes for every project I start and then stuff into a corner of my crap, I mean, craft room. I'd love to see what others have made using mathematics.