Something Old Becomes Something New

I had the opportunity to attend a talk by Sabrina Gschwandtner last evening at The American Folk Art Museum in NYC.  (In moving from NYC this is one place I really miss).  Their current show alt_quilts  is a show by three artists who use recycled materials to create artwork inspired by quilts.  While some of the artworks are not technically quilts (three layers of fabric that are stitched together) – they are quilt inspired.

Quilters are always on the prowl for ways to reinterpret traditional quilt patterns, looking for ways to “switch things up”.  These three artists have taken quilting and quilting patterns as their stepping stone and have truly remade it.  Their work is amazing and Stacy C. Hollander (the curator of the show) did an amazing job in pairing their creations with classic quilts from the museums permanent collection.

Luke Haynes takes recycled clothing and uses this fabric in his quilt creations. His artwork is technically a quilt.   He also plays around with traditional quilt designs as backgrounds for his quilts.

Stephen Sollins takes traditional quilt patterns and uses recycled mail to recreate them.   Here he took a quilt from the museum’s collection and recreated it.

original quilt from the museum collection
Stephen’s recreation of the quilt in recycled mail

The museum paired his hexagon quilt with a masterful hexagon quilt from their collection.

hexagon quilt from the museum’s collection
hexagon quilt from the museum collection
Quilt made from paper

Sabrina Gschwandtner uses old 16mm film in the creation of her artworks.  The films all deal with textiles in some way or another.  The linear nature of the film translates well into the classic long cabin block. I also love how there is subtle value shifts within the various darks and lights.

one of Sabrina’s long cabins inspired creations
Log Cabin quilt from the museum collection

And again Stacey did a wonderful job with pairing the work with a wonderful log cabin.

The show is up through January 5, 2014.  If you are in NYC make sure you stop by the see the show.

As quilters we can gain inspiration from what these people have done and translate it to our own art. For me what do I take away?

  • From Luke – maybe I should save some of my old clothes and make a quilt with them or even use the fabric in a quilt with fabric I purchase for quilting.
  • From Stephen – Explore the use of fabrics that are very close in value to create subtle contrast but still let the pattern be seen.
  • From Sabrina – explore sharp contacts in values (light/dark) but within those values play around with values close together to add variety and interest.

So are you starting to get ideas?  Want a few more – hop on the blog hop for Classic Modern Quilts and see how ten designers took traditional quilt blocks and gave the blocks their own twist.  And – enter the blog hop contest and possibly get a free copy of the book. Visit Heather Kojan’s blog today  (my entry will be tomorrow!) and make sure you visit the other posts from earlier this week.


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