Friday, April 18, 2014

Minimal Quiltmaking

Just in the nick of time Gwen Marston's new book Minimal Quiltmaking arrived. I ordered it back in October and kept receiving postcards from AQS that it was on its way, but surprise, surprise, surprise an email came that it shipped late last week. After my recent rejections--yes two--I've been drawing and painting and not so interested in quilting, but all of that has changed and I am back on the quilt-making bandwagon banging a drum!

First, Ms. Marston is my absolute favorite quilt-maker. I have a lot of her books and purchased this one even though I did not think it would appeal to me. Wrong! Like most, if not all, of Marston's books this is not a pattern book--which I love because I have no intention of using another designer's pattern. She does show how to make some of the "parts" so one can incorporate them into their own designs.

The book has 8 chapters, each containing enough eye candy to give you a sugar rush, which is exactly what happened to me. I really got excited thinking about a minimal/modern quilt design. (Marston has that effect on me.) She also goes back to her book 37 Sketches by showing fabric sketches of ideas that became larger quilts. Here is an example of the working sketch next to the quilt. In the 37 Sketches book you only see the sketches, not the quilts that may have been derived from them.

Marston, Gwen, "Minimal Grid, Small Study, #56, " 2013
from Gail Garber Designs (blog)
Another thing that Marston does is get the reader excited about Modern Artists, Josef Albers, Wassiily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, Ellsworth Kelly, and Frank Stella. Not mentioned in the book, but an artist that I have recently become familiar with and has inspired ideas for my quilt-making, is Markus Linnenbrink.

Linnenbrink, Markus, "Myself Outside," 2003
Photo from Hammer Museum website
Even the Hard-Edge Quilts, quilt-making that requires some accuracy and straight lines got me excited. In the chapter "Minimal Quilts Inspired by Art" there was a pair of quilts by two woman that really stood out for me: "Interaction with Color," by Deb Albright, and "It's Transparent to Me," by Kathy Sandling. They both used the narrow black and white (in the case of Sandling, gray and white) striping that I love and it really worked out well.

The only thing that I thought was not so great about this book was the book itself. It is a 95 page, 8.5" x 11" paperback that feels more like an expensive magazine than a paperback book. I hope that this is because Marston received more of the $24.95 cost in her paycheck than the publisher received by reducing the quality of the physical book.

Another great read from Gwen Marston.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Gwen Maleson

I came across Gwen Maleson's work through a John Thornton video. I really love the subtle colors she uses and the use of birds in most of her work. She notes that she has been inspired by Charlie Harper and it is his work that I first thought of when I saw hers. I am also reminded of the work of Edna Andrade, another PAFA alumna (Maleson completed her MFA at PAFA) in its graphic, precise execution. Maleson is a bird watcher and like a lot of us, has decided to incorporate that passion in her work.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Information about Conserving Quilts

Someone was kind enough to forward the following link to me about conserving quilts. I thought it might be of interest. Click here.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Great Little Tool

When I was at my husband's aunt's house one day, in her sewing room, I saw a tool on her table that I recognized immediately. (Zia Gloria was Rena Rowan's Assistant Designer at Jones New York since the beginning until Zia Gloria's retirement.) It was a tool I was asked to purchase while in college to use with a pick glass, linen tester, or thread loupe to count the number of threads in a woven fabric or the number of stitches and rows in knitted fabric. It looks like a stiletto, but it is tapered and is called a scriber.

Shown here with the point safely inside


Shown here with the point ready for use.

See how it is tapered?

My aunt has one that is a little bigger (size 81) but immediately I grabbed it and asked why she had one. She uses it as a seam ripper. I, almost 30 years after graduation, still had it and dug it out. Mine is a little smaller (size 83). I only recently started using it and love it. It is probably the best seam ripper you will ever use.

Slide the point under a stitch in the row you want to rip.

Lift the tool to break the stitch.

Repeat in a few places.

Place the point under a stitch in the run and pull out the thread.

Viola! You have one long thread on the back that just comes away! (Don't you love pulling out that thread in one motion?)

Sometimes the simplest tools are the best.

You can buy one here.