Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Street Cred


Dear Melody,
I am loving your new "street" series. But I am wondering...are you thinking of these as color studies for something bigger? Or you're making them just because they're fun?

Where do you see these going, or do you think about that?

I notice that in these small pieces, you've incorporated the "stacks" construction you've emphasized before, plus the strip sets...sort of a synthesis of things you've been exploring for a while. But (maybe because i have a hard time staying small) I'm wondering whether you're planning to go bigger with this idea?

I really love what you're doing with these.

Diane

Dear Diane,

So glad you asked. In November and December of last year when I took a quilting hiatus, I was really ready to throw in the towel with quilting. But I didn't feel I could announce that because I have tons of teaching scheduled and it wouldn't do to have a teacher who hated everything she was making and never wanted to make another quilt as long as she lived. I am very dramatic.

I quit quilting in my mind, and went on to paint and have a lot of fun and got a modicum of success under my belt and it melted my angst and when the end came and I had to go back to work at quilting, I had discovered something that changed my mind.

I found my voice, my niche, my style, my unique Mel-ness. In painting, I learned how to work in a series that really worked for me. And I found I could translate that into my quilts and proceeded to do that very thing.

And it only took 25 years!

Staying in this size has provided me with a short time frame, preventing fussing, and a finiteness of scale that encourages better design. At this size even the most precious fabrics can be used with abandon. ( And I intend to use some precious fabrics any minute now).
I am keeping to a few signature elements, but limiting them in each piece. These are strips, dots and chunks of glowing colors, meaning fabrics where the dye shifts color and seems to light up.

The hand work is important as the line element. In my painting I discovered that I needed to include lines that referenced the drawing which preceeded the paint. In the quilts I also need to include that line or it doesn't look finished. The hand stitching provides the personal touch.

Color can be a double edged sword. Some of my designs had lost power because of a disorganized use of color. Now finally I feel that I am in command. I have discovered harmony! There is enough 'all color, all the time' in my work and to limit myself to a single hue and all its variations has opened up a huge new world for me. Now I am scrounging my stash for pale variants and deep dark versions too.

I have chosen to keep to this size as a constant, and that has helped me learn what it is that I am doing. I am sticking them up on my wall and having a fantasy gallery show. I may make some in an 18" format when I am finished with this series. Who knows? I have not needed to make them larger because I am not entering them in regular quilt shows, which is part of the angst that made me want to give up quilting last year.
I have lost interest in quilting for competition's sake.
I only want to make stuff that amuses me and makes me happy. I wanna enjoy the process and feel that what I make is an end in itself.

On the other hand, I feel that working small can lead to discovering ways to make bigger quilts better. Any of the pieces that I made in this format could be enlarged to 48" squarish with little effort. But that doesn't mean that they need to be, either. The intimacy of scale has a different value, and since I travel with my work, it sure helps that is doesn't weigh as much as a four foot quilt would!

Since I "quit quilting" and just started having fun again, I am reminded of what got me into quilting in the first place, and I am hoping to bring a little more fun into my classes and less stress on what the contests demand.

Thank you for asking and for giving me an opportunity to explain my motivations.


Limon Lane


Limon Lane
Hand dyed cottons, fused, hand and machine quilted, ~12" squarish

9 comments:

  1. Lisa Flowers Ross, please email me privately,
    Melody

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think there is a bit of negative bias among some art quilters about small work. There I said it. Now I'll step away and ignore the drama. I love small work and I don't even need to say why. I just do. (By the way... Houston added a catagory for smaller art quilts this year. Less than 24 inches on any side, I believe.) I am so happy that you are loving quilting again. You deserve to love what you do!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nora in CT10:02 AM

    I am loving your new work! Of course, I loved your "old" work, too. Apparently, you can do no wrong in my eyes. But the new shapes, lines, and color combinations really do something for me, vibrant yet soothing, contemplative, inviting but slightly challenging, too. I feel like my eyes would love to look at them forever. It's been really neat that you've shared your process, too, from fed up with quilting to painting to new freedom in your quilts. Don't always get to see this with artists and it's been a learning experience for me as well. Thanks! (Maybe someday I can own a Mrs. Mel! Til then, I hope a class is in my future--your students produce beautiful works, too.)

    ReplyDelete
  4. edwina2:13 PM

    Thanks so much for your tip on locating fabric. Can't wait to start playing!

    ReplyDelete
  5. QUIT QUILTING?!? I must have read that wrong. You would't do that to us would you? Like if Tony Bennett announced he was quitting singing to take up basket weaving.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Your generosity of spirit is an inspiration to us all. Thank you so much for providing all this eye candy. I look forward each day to seeing your new creations and am astounded by your seemingly never ending creations.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm so happy you found a "re-entry point" to quilting. Textiles and paint are "languages" in which you are so well versed. It's wonderful that you've combined them and are "speaking" so elegantly. This series is delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Mel

    That is a very thought-provoking post. I have been quilting for a long time (25 + years) but am only just stating to find my own individual 'voice'. I wouldn't dream of considering myself as an art (or Art) quilter but I am enjoying making some non-traditional stuff. And I have just started on the competition thingy. I will keep in mind what you say about the quilting for competitions and when it palls on me I will know that it is part of the journey. Thank you for reminding me that the process is what I enjoy.

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Hello,
So nice of you to drop by. I love your comments, and if you would really like a reply, please email me at fibermania at g mail dot com