Thursday, July 9, 2009

Georgia O’Keeffe, Ansel Adams, & Whisper Quilts

I am in a Whisper Quilt challenge with SAQA. We are divided into groups of ten. The first person received a photograph, and was required to create a quilt inspired by the photo. The second person gets to see the first quilt (but not the photo) and makes a quilt inspired by it. The third person gets to see the second quilt… and so on. It’s a bit like playing “telephone” where something is whispered from person to person, and by the time it gets to the last person, the message is completely changed. I got to see the results from the last Whisper Challenge (this link loads slow, but it’s worth the wait). Three groups went in completely different directions, and all of the quilts were really wonderful.

I am creating a quilt based on what Liz Berg has done. I had an immediate first impression of her quilt, and my family had similar thoughts. But, I put that idea away to see if it might lead me in other directions. Then I remembered a piece of fabric which seemed to relate to Liz’s quilt, and the fabric lead me in a new direction, and everything seemed to fall into place…until I got it all pinned together and it just didn’t seem right. The separate pieces weren’t relating to each other. Time to put it away for a day and come back to it later.

I went to San Francisco the next day to the SFMOMA to see the “Georgia O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams” exhibit. The exhibit showed works by both artists and compared their art. I hadn’t known that they were friends, or imagined that their work could have any similarities. Actually, I knew little about the work of Ansel Adams beyond a dozen or so of his most well known photos. I now have a better appreciation of his work after seeing the exhibit. I enjoyed seeing O’Keeffe’s paintings up close. I began noticing areas in her paintings how a shape or a line might be clearly defined in one area, and then fade into obscurity. I wondered if adding some obscurity might make my quilt better.

The following day, I got out my fabric paints. I darkened the background in part of the quilt to lower the contrast between it and the foreground. I added some visual texture to the same area which seemed to relate to the rest of the quilt. It’s been rescued from the “what was I thinking stack,” and now it’s one of my favorite quilts.

Sorry, I can’t show pictures. It must remain Top Secret until the last people have finished their quilts, and we are allowed to reveal them to the world. I will be taking it to my small CQFA group this weekend to share. There are two other Whisper Challenge participants in that group, but one has finished hers, and one said she won’t be there this weekend, so I think it will be safe to whisper a few secrets in the small group. The last person is scheduled to finish in December, so look for pictures in 2010.


Gina said...

What a great idea for a challenge! I love how the quilts show such a wonderful progression of ideas and inspiration. Learning your thoughts and influences for one of the quilts is so interesting. Thanks for sharing this!

Vivien said...

I agree -- what a great idea! It was such fun to look at the resulting quilts. Mind if I share this with my fiber arts group?

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a lot of fun. I like how you take inspiration from many sources for your work.

Would you be willing to link to my blog, Influential Women Artists?