November 29, 2014

Beyond the Boundaries Award at Quilt Visions 2014

California Fibers regularly gives a Beyond the Boundaries award to a piece in a national or international fiber exhibition. This year's award winner is Nancy Condon for her piece Shrouds in the Quilt Visions 2014 exhibit, on view at the Visions Art Museum through January 4, 2015. 

37" x 26"
Cotton, silk, synthetic fabrics, inkjet printing, thread
Fabric, dyed with liquid acrylic, inkjet printed, machine and hand stitched, quilted

Condon is from Stillwater, Minnesota. The statement for Shrouds reads as follows: "1,129 people, mostly women and girls, died in the Rana Plaza, Dhaka, Bangladesh factory fire. Next time you buy a garment, check the label to see where it was made and think about its real price."   

Detail of Shrouds

Condon's artist statement tells us more about her process: 

I make art out of an urge to create something meaningful. I work in fiber out of a need to connect to the past. I merge graphic imagery with the tactile qualities of fabric out of a desire to link the past, present and future. My artwork is an integral part of who I am. By referencing the complexity of the emotional, moral, social and economic realities in the imagery I use, I seek to process the parts into a cohesive whole.

The themes in my work are often about my experiences and my reactions to those experiences. I seek to make some kind of nonverbal sense out of the dance between my head and my heart.

I begin with an idea that usually takes me down a path I have not been before. I work in fabric and in paper. I pick up bits of garbage on my walks or as I sort the recycle, which I often use in my work. I take photos, of both the natural world and the garbage and other evidence of how humans have damaged it or each other. 

I use a scanner and Photoshop to develop my imagery, which I often print on fabric. I also dye fabric or use found fabric. I begin each piece by establishing an internal dialogue with the subject matter and with the fabric. Eye, brain, hand and the materials I use all have a part to play in the dialogue.

Shrouds was picked for this award by the jurors of Quilt Visions 2014, including Sue Benner, a studio artist making primarily art quilts; Patty Hawkins, also an art quilter; and Bruce Hoffman, the Director of Gravers Lane Gallery in the historic Chestnut Hill area of Philadelphia. 

November 17, 2014

How We Work 3

This is the third and last installment in how the artists of California Fibers work: what is their process. Although we were challenged to write it in 10 words or less, some were better at that than others...

VALYA says of her process, "It used to be I believed that pure art comes only from the unconscious mind. I was working spontaneously. No preparation or sketches were needed. Today I believe that the message that the artist presents to the world is the key. Intuition, contemplation, and thoughts work simultaneously to crystallize my ideas. The best time for this is when I am jogging on the beach early in the morning, alone. Having a solo show works the best for me. I love to work with space, to build an exhibition as one body. Unknown territory is exciting and inspiring. I always like to try new things, new materials, new techniques, and new mediums. I like to use new tools for the creation of the main idea."

VALYA, Cell Memories: BABA

Carol Lang says, "I focus on color and materials, looking for shades and hues. Then come shapes with Native American pottery as an influence. I like to recycle and repurpose items I find at garage sales as well as all kinds of natural materials I collect. I think about materials with shape and color, and then the form evolves from a 'start,' which is a specific technique that directs the work." Artists were also asked if they listened to music or anything else while working, and Carol answered, "I often watch Netflix while I work; it relaxes me."

Carol Lang, Remnants

Ellen Phillips responds, "I am most interested in the accidental. I was most excited when materials fell off a shelf in some disarray and I was able to turn them into a piece. The unexpected can push me further and faster at times."

We hope you've enjoyed this insight into our artists working process. We'll continue after our next meeting in January with a discussion of why we picked fiber for our art materials.