On the Grid:
Structure as Visual Aesthetic
March 1 - May 28, 2023
Artist Statement: My artwork is firmly grounded in the craft of quiltmaking. It has taken me many years to acquire the cutting, piecing, and quilting skills I now use daily. Vintage and contemporary commercial solid and print cotton fabrics, as well as hand dyed cotton fabrics I have created are the materials I use in my work. These textiles are cut primarily without rulers and stitched into a two dimensional surface. Once I create this pieced canvas, I spend hours on my long arm quilting machine stitching the top to cotton or wool batting and a fabric backing. The final step is to bind or face each individual piece.
I have always been interested in pattern and how complex pattern can also create complex figure ground composition. In 2011, I began to wonder what would happen if I selected a particular pattern–in this case the grid–and continued to play with it over the course of a series. What I discovered is that limiting the pattern but manipulating the line, color, and shape, can produce dynamic results that not only stand alone as compelling individual compositions, but also are intriguing to look at as a group.
Limiting the structure of my work to a grid has allowed me to more fully explore my love of color. How to make color vibrate on the wall? That is the question for me. Most often the answer lies in proportion of line and shape in relation to color. Color is dynamic, fickle, explosive, solemn, mysterious, and beautiful. All colors possess these characteristics, and it is my daily work to explore how color is capable of being all these things for the viewer. It is with real joy that I try and try again to evoke deep emotion in the viewer through the use of color. This work is visceral. I do not know intellectually before hand what is going to happen when I put a sliver of chartreuse next to a bubble gum pink, but I am always willing to take the leap, to stitch until I find out.
More info: https://mariashell.com
Watch our website for information coming soon on Maria's lecture and workshop, May 25-26!
Landmarks Gallery - First Floor
170 Years of Flowers
Pieces from the Permanent Collection
Brian Nigus & Carla Schultz-Parks
March 1 - March 26, 2023
170 Years of Flowers is a presentation of 11 quilts from the permanent collection of the Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum. These quilts represent a variety of floral imagery; showcasing not only their differences in style and pattern, but also their survived similarities through history.
For instance, when viewing the Broderie Perse Appliqué, Medallion set of Emmagrace Ramm (circa 1820), located beside the stairwell; viewers can turn their gaze toward the entry hall to view the Baltimore Album Quilt of Dorothy Graves (circa 1990). These two pieces, separated by 170 years, highlight this dichotomy of difference and similarity.
What is different between these two pieces? Method-wise may be the most obvious. The Ramm quilt from 1820 utilizes the broderie perse technique, where images from printed chintz fabrics are cut closely along their contour, then appliquéd onto a solid piece of fabric to create a scene or design. With Graves’ 1990 quilt, she uses applique to build the flowers from scratch. Graves was also known for her hand-dyed fabrics, some of which we can assume were used in this quilt. The sheer number of pieces used in the Graves quilt compared to Ramm’s is also notable; that is, a border of intricate flower bouquets versus the “plain” fabric used to create a serpentine vine with grape leaves.
What is the same? Both utilize a medallion layout; a centrally placed basket piece, each surrounded by three rings of imagery/pattern; the most inner rings of which are inward facing crescent shapes. It would also be remiss not to discuss the white ground used for each quilt; a decision of design, or frugality, or both?
Maintain this curious lens as you view these floral quilts selected from our permanent collection. In the Landmarks gallery you’ll view three quilts from 1930. What makes them the same or different? You’ll find a large 4-panel quilt with “pine-cone” style grapes in the library. How does this design compare to the other works? A quilt from the Philippine island of Caohagan hangs to the left of the fireplace. A unique history in its own right, how does this quilt make use of floral imagery? Lastly, the Carolina Lily quilt from 1890 hangs in the entry hall across from the gift shop. One should note, this home, the Gaches Mansion was built in 1891, which begs the notion of their relation to each other; both in style, and their own preservation through stewardship.
We are pleased to share this historical exhibit with you, both as a curious inquiry, as well as a springboard for our upcoming La Conner in Bloom show that will coincide with the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.
Hooray for flowers!
February 1 - April 30, 2023
Sponsored by Pat and Sam Smith
This exhibition of original embroidered bas-relief sculptures by Salley Mavor brings the viewer on an international journey, showing children in varying cultures and home environments around the world. Each intricately rendered scene captures the spirit of a different place and way of life, all the while illuminating the universal theme of children sleeping safe in their beds.
Salley Mavor’s artwork is stitched entirely by hand. She embroiders, wraps and binds together a variety of materials with techniques she’s developed through more than 40 years of experimentation. Using a needle and thread, she creates 3-dimensional figures, buildings and plants out of fabric, beads and wire. Her sculptures are like shallow small-scale stage sets, with characters, props and scenery all sewn onto a fabric backdrop.
Salley is devoted to stitching. She learned to sew as a child and has been using a needle and thread ever since. At home, there were always art supplies close at hand and a sense that time was available for creative pursuit. Drawing with crayons was never enough for Salley. She remembers feeling that her pictures were not finished until something real was glued, stapled or sewn to it. As an illustration major at the Rhode Island School of Design, she left traditional mediums behind, preferring to communicate her ideas with sculptural needlework. She has continued to develop her style and techniques for over 40 years, creating 3-dimensional works of art that tell stories and express social commentary with needlework and found objects.
Ms. Mavor has illustrated many children’s books using her unique blend of materials and hand stitching techniques. Her picture book, Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes won the 2011 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award and the 2011 Golden Kite Award. Her popular how-to book, Felt Wee Folk is in its 2nd edition, inspiring creativity in all ages. She and her husband Rob Goldsborough recently collaborated on the stop-motion animated film, “Liberty and Justice: A Cautionary Tale in the Land of the Free”. Salley Mavor lives and works in her home studio in Falmouth, Massachusetts.
More info: https://weefolkstudio.com