90" x 103"
I was in San Jose, California last week and visited the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles where I saw several excellent shows including Earthly Paradise: Memory, Myth, Metaphor featuring work by A Bee.
A Bee is the name of a collective of two artists, Carrie Houseman and Darbury Novoselic. I was not familiar with their work and was very impressed with the show, the size of the pieces, and the consistant quality.
The work was hung in two large galleries and many pieces were in the range of 12 feet square. The duo refers to the work as tapestries. The pieces are generally two layers of silk stitched together. The origin of the imagery is from very exotic and personal sketches which are then transfered to screens and printed onto the silk. Some of the works may have been "whole cloth" but I believe most were works were constructed from sections of many different fabrics. The color schemes were very simple and bold. Most were one dark color printed on a light or the reverse but there were flecks of other colors.
After screening, various pieces of the fabric are pieced into the final composition and then the entire surface is intensly quilted. They presented a short but informative video of their process including the quilting on their fabulous Consew Industrial sewing machine. I'm not sure which of the women was doing the quilting in the video but she was really rocking out! There wasn't a flat area in the finished work. The surface undulated like the Pacific Ocean.....lovely.
108" x 128"
I found their level of technique/craftsmanship very appealing as it was what I call "rough and tumble". Just right for the overall aesthetic of their work which was rather elegant. There was no fussness as to how the work was constructed and the edge treatment was really nice. When you visit their website it's hard to see the edges but basically they add an edging to both layers and then just open that edging and stitch everything together. Some of the edgings are simply strips of additional fabric which appears to have been cut with pinking shears and one was locks of sheeps wool. These strips may have been cut on the bias as they looked soft and relaxed. How refreshing.
This body of work was very cohesive and clear, simple and complex. The artists acknowledge their relationship and inspiration to quiltmaking but have taken a very unique and fresh approach to a very old artform. Hey! Works for me.
I just received permission to present images of a couple of pieces but here is their link and I hope you enjoy the visit:http://www.abeecd.com/
PS...On their website click PRINTS and you will find images of their work. Look to the right of the link to CONTACT and there is an arrow so you can scroll through the images.
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