Archive for meetings

Date of April Meeting has been Changed

Our meeting scheduled for April 2,2017 has been changed due to the Hands Across the Valley Quilt show ( April 1 -2). Our next meeting will be on Sunday April 9, 12-2 Common House of the Rocky Hill Co-housing Community. Agenda will follow.

Sol LeWitt Exhibit at the Mass MoCA

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On Sunday September 13th 2015,  the Northampton Modern Quilt Guild had a private tour of the Sal LeWitt Wall Drawing Retrospective at MASS MoCA, in North Adams, MA.   Above we’re pictures in front of a very “quilty” later work of Sal DeWitt.

This amazing exhibit has 105 wall drawings and is displayed on three floors of a 27,000 square foot building, which was renovated especially for this work.   The first floor of the exhibit are wall drawings designed in the late 1960’s and 1970’s and were made with pencil (both lead and colored). These from far away, these wall drawings appear as soft, gradual shading of graphic shapes (below).

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Up close, these drawings were evenly spaced simple parallel pencil lines – vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines in lead gray and primary colors.

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Close up, these reminded me of straight line quilting, but from far way, the effect was similar to low density piecing.

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Each image was designed as a grid, which was then translated into the wall drawing, as defined by Sal LeWitt. Often times, each wall drawing would have as many permutations or combinations of parameters as possible.  Can you get much more quilty than this wall drawing?

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The first floor, also had studies in white chalk on blue walls – with defined shapes both as solid and dashed lines in grids presented in different orders.  There were twelve total shapes (larger blocks at the top of the image) that were the combined by Mr LeWitt (see small blocks below).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When assembled, these displays were appeared as continuous white lines, but when you looked up close, the pencil lines of the defined grid work was visible. Being true quilters, we were looking for the blocks in the assembly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The early work, also had Wall Drawing 38 – paper inserted into grey pegboard walls.  As with the pencil drawings, four colors of paper were used (white, red, blue and yellow), but the shadows made a secondary pattern that gave a similar effect to quilting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second floor of the exhibit, work from the 1980’s- 1990’s was displayed. Mr. Lewitt continued with grid work, but rather than using lines to shade the drawings, India ink and colored inks were mixed to color the wall grid works.The colors were mixed and provided a blending affect, similar to what is seen when we use “shot” cottons in quilting. As before, some drawings were assembled to show all combinations of parameters selected for the drawing.     The two images below are one “drawing” on a continuous wall with pure grey; then  red yellow, and blue; a darker hue of each primary, then secondary colors (orange green and purple) and finishing with the darker hue of each secondary color.                                                            IMG_2274           IMG_2273

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The third floor of the exhibit displayed LeWitt’s work from the 1990’s to 2007. The work on this floor featured saturated colors, and also used the juxtaposition of glossy and flat finishes. In addition, curves are more prominent in his later work.

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Scribble drawing were also part of LeWitt’s later work.  It was amazing the amount of depth was obtained by the shades based upon density of lines (distance below left, close up on the right).

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What I didn’t know until today, was that the artist would “design” the wall drawings, which were then installed in spaces, by other artists.  His instructions often were vague such as the placard (below right) and resulted in the drawing below left:

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After the exhibit, the group had a great lunch at the Public House in North Adams MA and discussed how the NMQG could structure a challenge that based on what we saw today.  We could make it broad (ie “inspired by Sol LeWitt”), or we could define the challenge ( ie “must contain X number of colors and only use triangles”).  What do you think?

We had a great day.  For those of you who couldn’t join us – I’d highly recommend spending an afternoon with Sol LeWitt’s wall drawings.  I think you’d be amazed and inspired by the graphic quilty-ness of his work.

Next Meeting: Sunday Aug 13th at the Mass MoCA!

Howdy Northampton Modern Quilters!

Happy September to all you!  This month, we WILL NOT BE MEETING on Sept 5th due to the Labor Day Holiday.  Instead, we’ll be visiting the Mass MoCA in North Adams MA for a private tour of the Sol Lewitt exhibit.

What: Tour of the Sol Lewitt Exhibit

When: 10:45 am Sunday, September 13th 2015

Where: Mass MoCA, 1040 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA.  We’ll be meeting at the upside down trees at 10:45 am.  The tour will start promptly at 11.

Directions: https://goo.gl/maps/t2oGR

Cost:  $16 adults and $14 extra special adults (who are 65 or older -chronologically, not spiritually)

Afterwards we’ll go out to lunch – Michelle will be making a reservation for us.  If you haven’t told her that you’re interested in joining us for lunch, please let us know.   Afterwards, there are lots of options.

Michelle (our honorable president) lives in an artists loft in North Adams, and has arranged for  three lofts (a pottery studio, a rare book studio, a quilter’s studio) to be open for us visit along with the Brill Gallery.

Cheers!  Lynne

Dyeing in August

Our August meeting was graced with gorgeous weather which allowed us to head outside as we experimented with natural dyes.

Robin shared everything she’d learned playing on her own and we boiled up some dyes of our own. Avocado pits/skins, Beet greens and Queen Anne’s Lace. We added things like vinegar, alum and rusty nail water to create a variety of colors.   It was fun and informative!

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We collected Wonky Stars and decided to extend the deadline for them until the October meeting. At that meeting, we will decide how many/what size quilts we will create and where they will go.

Julie shared, via email,  a number of charitable organizations for us to consider.

Michelle shared a quilt made from blocks inherited from her mother-in-law. These leaf blocks were probably made in the 80’s?

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Hollis shared a spicy table runner/wall hanging she made for her daughter.

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Hoping this summer weather is treating you all well. See you in September when we will meet at Mass MoCA in North Adams on 9/13/15. More info to come.

Nancy Crow

Two members of NMQG (Lee Sproull and Susan Garfield-Wright) shared some of their experiences studying with Nancy Crow at her teaching studio in Ohio.  This is a bit of follow-up to that February 2nd presentation.
 
We hope we were able to give some answers to the question, “What’s it REALLY like to take a Nancy Crow workshop?”  There’s lots more information about the classes and curriculum at Nancy’s website and an overview of Nancy’s career can be found here.  

 

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Beyond these resources, here are some of the things which we wish we had said:
  • The opportunity to be with other serious art quilters is a special treat.
  • Nancy is an enthusiastic and competitive domino player! (Who knew?)
  • Nancy, her husband John, and their sons have created an impressive and biologically diverse homestead.  They are clearly “in love” with their land.  (Of course, there’s not a minute to take a walk because students are busy sewing, designing, sewing, designing, sewing, designing – oh well…..)
  • Nancy is enigmatic – kind, blunt, demanding, funny, serious, approachable, intimidating, ………
Feel free to ask us more about Nancy, especially if you’re considering attending a week or more at The Barn in Ohio. Thanks for the opportunity to share.  

The Kangaroo Dyer

We had quite a treat of a guest speaker at our September meeting. Gail Callahan, the Kangaroo Dyer, came to teach us how to work with color. A great deal of modern quilting revolves around the use of color- color seems to be one of the most important aspects of the movement. At times the colors are bold, bold, bold, and at other times it is the absence of color that makes something modern. Using color sparingly. Broad sweeps of negative space. But regardless of how a modern quilter chooses to use color, all mq’s use it, and it is a high-interest topic.

Eager to hear what Gail had to say, we all gathered around a table dressed in a plain white cloth. On the table stood a lone object- a small, old black metal lunchbox. Circa? 1930s? 40s? Not sure. Gail then asked everyone to write down what they thought when they saw the box. After a few minutes of quiet reflection and writing, we went around the circle and shared what we had written. Some of the themes were the same- others were not.

The point was that we all see things- and appreciate them- differently. It is all about perspective. And this, of course, is what makes our color choices so varied.

After this Gail showed us some textiles, talking about the use of color and pattern. She spoke of her own experiences dying various types of fiber, which led to a conversation about dying fabric. This felt like an exciting prospect to a room of modern quilters- to make one’s own fabric! Though there are sites that manufacture fabric from designs that people have created and uploaded to their computers, it feels much more organic to- quite literally- get one’s hands dirty. And the exciting news is, a fabric-dying workshop for the NMQG with Gail is in the works.

Gail also gave us a tutorial on how to use her Color Grid. At times even the most creative person can feel stuck, stuck, stuck. Gail’s handy Color Grid helps those who work with color to figure out what complementary colors are. It also shows you how to choose a color that will give your project that “pop” that it needs. It is so easy to use and so brilliant. It will surely be a staple in my bucket of sewing notions.

As I left our meeting that evening, a major theme of Gail’s talk stayed with me. It was the idea of letting go. To try things. To not be afraid. Her gentle demeanor, desire to teach, and share of herself made me feel like taking risks in my work might be just a *teensy* bit safer than I thought. Thank you, Gail. Not only for coming to teach the NMQG, but giving us all the opportunity to think outside of that box of crayons.

Nicole