As I mentioned in yesterday's post, Red-Dog Enterprises, Inc. sponsored one of the special exhibits at the weekend show. As the large array of vendors lined the outside of RIT's Gordon Field House, Travel Companion and I walked through them first before tackling row upon row of quilts. One booth in particular caught our eye not only because of this:
But one couldn't help but stop and catch their breath at this amazing piece of quilt art:
The gals who make up Red-Dog Enterprises, Valerie (Schultz) and Julie (Brandon) are two very talented women! Valerie is the dye specialist and teaches workshops on low immersion dying as well as shibori, and her hand dyed silks were to die for. Travel companion couldn't decide between two very distinctive and beautifully dyed scarves, so she decided to buy them both (who could resist!). Julie holds workshops in collage, scanning, digitizing and an overview of photoshop. Putting these two together is literally a collaborative dream. They lecture together on the fine points of collaborative quit projects as well as teaching a workshop that encompasses glass fusing basics, cutting glass and mixing basic colors for dying (the low immersion technique). Above you see the results of their collaborative "play". The photo does not do this beautiful hanging justice. We had an interesting conversation on how it is interpreted by people who see it. The adorable digitized piece at the beginning of this post is a second copy of an award winning quilt the gals made that is now traveling the country with a special exhibit. The original, Valerie told us was fairly heavily beaded and had "lots"of sea shells scattered along the bottom- quite the masterpiece I am sure. Red-Dog Enterprises also offers a retreat space at Williamson, NY in the gorgeous NY Finger Lakes Region. Their website is almost up and running and I would encourage you to spend some time exploring it.
As we were talking and gathering printed materials for future reference, I decided to scroll through my cell phone photo gallery and lo and behold I had this photo taken on Memorial Day as my grandson was anticipating the start of the Wynantskill town parade.
How fortuitous as the show special was one 8"x 11" photo print on fabric for a mere $8. A quick email to Julie's cell phone as I stood in the booth, and I was the proud owner of the beginning of my own art quilt. It was too exciting, and I can't wait to sit down, figure out how I want to design around it and put together a piece that will be full of meaning and memory! I want to go through my entire collection of iPhotos now!!
As if that weren't enough to get my juices flowing, we happened upon a booth filled with batiks and patterns for art quilting. I could not resist picking up a patten complete with digitized leaves by Mo and Mike entitled "Winter Garden". **
(** Noel P. - make sure you take a look at Winter Garden's link NOW! This has everything you and I love...nature, words, batiks!)
Needless to say, my mind was racing the rest of the day, fueled on by works of art such as these (all digitized by Red-Dog Enterprises:
Negative Growth- exhibited by Lori Anderson. the quilter's own photograph was manipulated into black and white at a high contrast and then made into its own negative. It was thread sketched and embellished. She noted that "the root colors are meant to reflect beauty, love and synergy in the beginning of life, but as we come out into the world, the exposure to selfishness, power and evil can turn our lives colorless and gray".
Think on that one for a moment. I know I did.
I was intrigued by Animal, Vegetable, Mineral II exhibited by Janet Root. Janet wrote: "This is the second piece in a series exploring the use animal (silk), vegetable (linen, cotton, birch bark) and mineral (glass beads) products". It was another favorite of mine.
Most stunning of all, was this next piece, from the Novel Quilt Challenge. As part of All Rochester Reads, these artists created wallhangings based on "Into the Beautiful North" to express a reaction to the book. Unfortunately, I do not have the quilt artist's name and I hope she will forgive me.
She writes: The image was printed by Red-Dog Enterprises, Inc. It is a picture of Lisa Purda, a professional photographer and art teacher in New Zealand, and a landscape. Lisa, an old friend, gave me permission to use her photo in the (challenge). The three boarders represent the American and Mexican cultures and how they are interwoven. The main character is illustrated in Lisa's wide eyed, hopeful gaze. The quilting in the project was my favorite part of the process. I tried to convey both the organic and the ridged aspects of society by using both traditional flowing lines as well as unmoving straight lines. While reading "Into the Beautiful North", I was struck by human resiliency, the quest for identity , and the impact age has on a woman's outlook." Tell me that doesn't make you want to read the book! Both Travel Companion and I stood and searched the image looking for the wide eyed gaze mentioned, but could not find it anywhere...I saw hair, and in a certain light I thought perhaps it wasn't hair per say, but lashes...it was an enigma, and drew me in totally and completely. Isn't that what good art is supposed to do?
One of the other features we especially enjoyed was the Iron Quilter Contest. It began at 10am on Saturday and ended at 3pm that afternoon. Taken from the shows Project Runway and Iron Chef, the contestants were given a theme at the stroke of 10am, and had access to a huge stash of fabrics laid on tables in the center of the set up. They were given 3 1/2 hours of sewing time to complete a quilt masterpiece. At the final bell, the quilts were judged and prizes (the top prize being a new sewing machine!) were awarded.
Talk about designing/working under pressure! But it was amazing what was produced in so short a time:
The first place winner is directly behind the sitting gentleman's head (below). You'll see part of it's golden spiral (the maker is looking to the left and has white earrings). It was difficult to get a close up photo of it, but the theme was "disappearing act" and the quilt was titled "disappearing quilt". How did it disappear? The very talented and clever maker envisioned a quilt under a zipper...opened ,the quilt was in full view, but zip up the top layer of fabric (which was constructed to act as lapels) and the quilt was gone from view. All fabrics chosen were batiks. Ingenious. Enjoyable. Too much pressure for me!
It was a long day, but so different from any of the quilts shows I've attended in the past, making the long bus trip and the very, very long day so very worth it. I'd do it all over again next time....but I think I'd drive and make a weekend out of it!
Hopefully I've given you some moments of awe, and a few ideas of your own to take away from this virtual trip to Rochester's Genesee Valley Quilt Club's Show. I'm eager to sit and contemplate where to go from here artistically. That should take some time off my hands this summer!