This photo shows two separate details of Manuscript 1, which have been merge to show the surface stitching.
Last week I posted about my work which was chosen to be included in the art collection of The Fine Arts Center in Greenville, SC. One of my readers, Betsy, left the following comment:
Terry, I really like your "Manuscript one". It is hard for me to see whether you have chosen to forego the quilting...I am trying to wean myself from the need to cover everything I do with running stitch, and would love to hear your comments!
Is the pieced composition not sufficently beautiful?!
First I want to thank Betsy and all those who take the time to leave comments. Very helpful and much appreciated.
Well, as you can see from the detail shots this work has lots of surface stitching....more than I usually use and certainly more idiosyncratic. The full image of the work doesn't show the stitching because (I think) of all the color variation and the surface texture/pattern of the black marks. In addition to the loopy variety of line, I used several different thread colors and all were variegated. I made these choices in response to the work. The choice of thread and stitching support the work and add to the work. Most often this type of stitching would not be appropriate for what I make but here I think it worked. Manuscript 1 has batting, a backing and a facing. A very traditional combination.
But here is the bigger issue, must we always finish work in this manner? The answer is unequivocally no. You are the artist and you can make your work as you choose. I began working with fabric with the intention of making a traditional quilt. I grew up with quilts and I learned the construction of a quilt using traditional techniques. Once I began to see that I was going to use the techniques I had learned to make art it was very hard for me to let go to be more free and spontaneous. That began to kick in about 3 years ago although I still do most of the finishing in a traditional manner. There is however, a gorilla in the room. The gorilla is what you want to "do" with the work you make and where do you want to show your work.
I love the overall concept of the open fiber or textile shows. I've only seen FiberArt International once but there were things in that show that I couldn't tell where the fiber was. I like that. But if you are completely committed to the idea that you are making a "quilt" and you only enter quilt shows, then you will need to be aware of the various descriptions of what constitutes a quilt and follow the guidelines for any specific show. You may need to have two or more layers, quilting stitches that show on the back of the work and perhaps a specific type of edge. At the same time I've seen tea bags stitched together and exhibited in a major quilt exhibition. It met the show criteria so there can be lots of wiggle room. Many of the shows that focus more on "surface design" often feature work that is a single layer, no bindings or facings.
We are not alone in needing to be aware of the guidelines for specific types of shows. Examples are photography shows that specify how the work must be glazed, shows for painters that may require the work be on stretchers, or the weight of a specific sculpture may be limited. All of these considerations, and many others, have to do with the showing of the work but it does not define the work.
I hope you will follow your urge to experiment with finishing work in a new way. You may find you don't like the results. You may find that it is the perfect solution for your work. You won't really know until you try.
Please let me know if you do try a new finish and what your feelings are about the results.
Thank you for spending time at Studio 24-7.
I'm getting excited about the opening of FiberArt International 2013!
If you are there please come by and see my work!
Don't forget to Comment.