Contemporary textiles – Journal quilts

Currently there I have noticed a trend to produce “journal quilts”. I suggest this is a trend possibly because members of one of the large contemporary quilting discussion lists Quiltart, were challenged to create a journal in fiber. Karey Bresenhan, organized The Journal Quilt Project . Images of each quilt, measuring 8.5″x11″, from all 157 entrants are online. The project encouraged translating experiences into a textile employing experimental techniques.

These journal quilts as objects are fascinating particularly if you are interested in the form an autobiography can take. Scholars of autobiography already encompass within their field such texts as memoirs, the diary, letters, oral history, and travel writing, describing such works as “life writing”. The term life writing has also expanded to embrace non-literary autobiographical practices. Journal quilts would fall into this category.

However I know quilters who are not members of this discussion list have also created “journal quilts”. For instance Annie Whitsed, has done this. As she is a friend of mine I asked her if she was on this discussion list, which she is not. Illustrated above is one of her journal quilts, Who’s next in the Bath?. This piece by Annie Whitsed I probably particularly liked because we shared a common experience.

However, Who’s next in the Bath? prompted me to wonder if this is an example of a wider trend which is manifesting itself as a result of a discussion list online. Is it I wonder a case of journal quilts being created globally, initially by list members and then the idea spreads as it is taken up by members of quilting groups? This type of cross between life online and life off line interests me as much as the tangible objects produced. Leave a comment with your URL as I would like to hear from anyone who has produced journal quilts particularly if you were unaware of the Journal project when you made it.

Contemporary Quilts at Fiber Revolution

I am still in doubt about this term art quilt to describe contemporary quilts made for the wall but it is in common usage. Fiber Revolution define art quilts as ‘not meant to lay folded at the foot of a bed, but rather hung on the wall like an oil or watercolor painting’. Nevertheless take a look at their exhibiting artists as they use a number of fabric marking and manipulation techniques to produce pieces for the wall. Each artist presents their work along side a brief artists statement.

Half Chevron stitch

I have been running around like a blue arsed fly as teaching starts next week. Against the odds the Stitch Collection has grown by another entry. Half Chevron stitch is an interesting version of Chevron stitch.

For those interested in traditional stitching and decorative stitches on Crazy quilting it is terrific. It produces a line with a triangular base on one side and a spine on the other and both these areas can be used to develop interesting decorative effects. Although Chevron is versatile in its own right crazy quilters are always looking for a variety of seam treatments.

For those who work on even weave fabrics you can work half chevron row upon row to build up fillings to create useful border effects as I have done in the illustration above. These rows can be further embellished with other isolated stitches such as French Knots. Beads are another way to embellish this stitch.

For those interested in contemporary embroidery you can push this stitch as it is easy to work on plain and even weave fabric in a large variety of embroidery threads. Unlike Chevron stitch, half Chevron follows curves well and it can be worked in a free form manner with ease. Any stitch that easily allows for a change in the weight of a line is useful. Change the scale and density of this stitch and you can create an expressive line.

Another use for half Chevron is to employ it to couch thick interesting chunky threads to the fabric. You can use many stitches to couch down threads you simply anchor the surface thread using what ever stitch interests you. Using couching adds variety and visual texture to a piece.