Thursday, November 10, 2011

Steps Along the Way



A small quilt marks my foray into needle-turn appliqué and social/political comment. Death of a Forest (August 1991, 17 1/2 x 23"/ 44cm x 58cm) contains a bit of everything : machine piecing and quilting, machine and hand embroidery (French knots) and appliqué and reverse appliqué.
The image of the boxed-in old-growth forests of the Pacific Northwest (USA) lingers in my mind until today, reinforced by the view of patchworked logged mountains seen when flying into Portland, Oregon. The brown appliqué represents blight and the red appliqué, well, that’s obvious. Concerning technique, I found that the needle-turn appliqué allowed me to create interesting and unusual forms.
       Boxes keep turning up, as in Pandora’s Box, no. 91 (see here), inspired by the first Gulf War. In 1991, my war series began and has expanded to include revolution today.
Then La Porte au fond du couloir (The Door at the End of the Hallway, November 1991, 41"x43"/ 1m04x1m10, machine pieced and quilted) took boxes to an extreme. It started as a drawing exercise from which I made a complex block pattern. The angles were a bear. Talk about learning technique the hard way. This was a one-time-only technique.
       I experimented with form, color and technique, creating Etudes, Improvisations, and Themes and Variations. Here is a small study still using a block format, Etude I (September 1991, 24"x24"/ 60cmx60cm, machine pieced and quilted).
This inspired Etude II  (January 1994, 55"x60"/ 1m38x1m50), which is based upon the block unit from Etude I.
Etude II contains some hand painted fabrics and is the the first piece in which I sewed down bits of fabric to create depth.
In 1993, I created Flowers for Abou Jihad (see here) which took about three years to complete and which was based on a pattern I drew. Sometimes ideas take over—I had to complete this quilt the way it dictated, despite the extreme tediousness of working with a detailed pattern in silks, brocades, and satins, along with cottons. Another one-time-only technique.
       Although I claim all my artwork to this point, Running With the Crowd (October 1994, 40"x37"/ 1m x 95cm) represents the beginning of a preference for certain techniques and a confidence in my artistic voice. This piece was juried into the International Quilt Festival in 1998.
The unusual border fabric (commercial) was a flea market find.
I paper-pieced the light source, and the “crowd” running away from the light source is free-form needle-turn appliqué. Once again, the central element is boxed in with only small openings leading in and out. Ultimately, this is a statement about conformity and constraints. I am tempted to say that not much has changed in the world since then, however, given recent events, that might not be accurate. We will wait and see. And then make art about it.
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News Update: The flood waters have receded and fortunately it was only rain water--no messy cleanup. I may lose a few plants, but nothing major. 

28 comments:

CREATIVE MIND said...

Beautiful..an amazing effort!! & its looking really smart :)

Mary Zeran said...

You know. Your work is absolutely beautiful without the explanation but...know what you are thinking about makes it even more interesting. The most recent quilt with the forms bursting out of the box is a concept that I am thinking a lot about too. Nice to see your solution.
How is the flooding?

Nifty Quilts said...

Your work beautiful and awe-inspiring. I love your depth of feeling and thought in each piece. You've taken quilt making to another level of expression. Thank you for the wonderful show!

Connie Rose said...

What great work, Nadia! I especially relate to the loss of forests, living in NW California. One time a number of years ago, I had a week to kill between two shows in Oregon and Washington, and I wanted to drive the west coast of the Olympic Peninsula...started out along the road and the clearcut devastation was so horrible that I turned around and went the other way around the peninsula up to Port Townsend.

Katie said...

I always love to see what you will post next. Such beautiful work.

Jensters said...

Wow some great quilting going on here....thank you for your loving comment on my post...and nice thing to say about my brother.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Your quilts always have such a different look to them. I'm tempted to say it is because you are creating in isolation from the saturation the rest of us live with. Or maybe you are just lucky to have a distinctive voice. Etude II is particularly appealing and effective with the way you created depth.

And then there are your mosaic pots - bright, brilliant and beautiful!

susan christensen said...

A powerful and interesting post, Nadia. Isn't it interesting how we come back and back to the same themes in our work. I am glad your flooding was not a big deal in the end. xxoo, sus

Carole said...

Death of a Forest brought tears to my eyes. We drove through Oregon and saw the forest devastation on our way home. Then we drove through some forests in BC to see similar devastation. Your quilts are all beautiful.
Good news about your flooding. :)

Teodo said...

Thank you for the show!
the quilts are all fantastic and the Forest is so true.
ciao ciao Linda

bj said...

Wow! Again I say...Wow! You are so creative...

Quiltbenaco said...

Bellissimi tutti i tuoi lavori ma "Death of a Forest" mi ha colpito tantissimo!
Ciao

paula said...

Etude II is really awesome! nice to check your blog out :)

Miki Willa said...

Your work is absolutely stunning. Your color choices are inspirational, and I love your design sense. I just became a follower and look forward to seeing more of your work and more about your life in Tunisia.

shirley said...

It is great to come back to find your beautiful quilts which are so creative, and absolutely stunning.

Needleturned applique and reverse applique are two of my favourites, although I have not carried it beyond cushion coversbut you have turned it into works of art.

Crimson Heart Studios said...

Hi Nadia, Thanks for your nice comments on my blog. I also enjoyed looking around yours. I love the red, black, and cream pots by your front door. I was also loving your beautiful reflecting pool,then I read that it was your driveway after too much rain. It still looked pretty, but not to convenient. Thanks, Cindy

claudia becker said...

I am very honored by your comments, I am delighted with the creativity of their work, I will come back more often on your blog and appreciate your time. I really liked what I saw until now.

Michele said...

What inspiring quilts! You do such a wonderful job expressing yourself through quilting. I'm impressed with the depth of your quilting too.

Karen said...

Glad to hear the waters have gone down without too much damage. These works are wonderful! Really like your Death of a Forest. very moving.

The Quilted Finish ph 02 63310084 said...

Just discovered your blog today. Love your work, inspirational!
Your mosaic pots are beautiful too.
Hope the floodwater subsides quickly and you aren't driven too crazy by the bugs that breed in the lush green.

Janet said...

Your work is incredible and so thought provoking at the same time. I love hearing about the inspiration behind each piece.

Radka said...

Thank you very much for showing us your so very interesting work :)

Nadia said...

Grazie e ricambio i complimenti, i tuoi quilts sono molto belli

meta said...

You make really great work!

Agapequilt said...

Really beautiful

Els said...

Great to see all these different quilts Nadia!!! Thanks for showing!

Sujata said...

I love when a quilt tells a story. Your work is inspiring and love how you convey your sentiments through your art.
Truly inspirational!

Donna K from N.TX aka Quilting Bear Gal said...

Love your La Porte au fond du couloir (The Door at the End of the Hallway. Colors and placement are great.