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.

C Sisson – Contemporary textile Artist

For many stitchers the 60’s was a time in which Contemporary embroidery practice broke free of the traditional rules and application. The use of unusual and textured yarns worked on a large scale in an abstract manner was well established by the 70’s. By the end of the century much of the scale had been pulled into control with, in many instances embroiderer’s making a return to the miniature. You can see these recent historical influences in the work of C Sisson who presents some of the work she has done over the last 30 years.

C Sisson is an American contemporary embroiderer who loves the inspiration and textures found in the deserts in the Southwest. You can find hints of everything from rattlesnake skins and fossils, to Carlos Casteneda. Highly textured embroidery pieces are displayed in her gallery pages accompanied by a detailed description of concept, size, materials and techniques, including the stitches she has employed.

Unfortunately C Sisson has not provided dates when each piece was worked but my guess, confirmed in an email, was that much of the work on C Sisson’s site were either worked in the 70’s and 80’s or heavily influenced by that period.

This type of work should be collected by our arts institutions. It was a period when contemporary embroidery really shifted away from the domestic to becoming a language speaking about ideas. To my knowledge apart from some of the larger design museums and the embroiderers’ guild, little of this type of embroidery is collected. The majority hangs in peoples homes which is unfortunate for this type of work reflects the time and concerns of the late twentieth century.

These concerns are not only with the limits of thread on fabric, but with our relationship to the environment. Embroiderer’s who were interested in the idea behind the design stopped embroidering floral motifs on domestic items and looked to their environment for inspiration. In this period the land and its textures became a common theme at the same time society was becoming concerned with damage we were doing to our environment. These trends can all be seen in the work of C Sisson.