Living Colour! update

The Living Colour! exhibition will open on Thursday at its first venue, the Australasian Quilt Convention. Here’s a mosaic of the 32 exhibits:Living Colour!

Mine is 3rd from the left on the top row. Brenda Gael Smith, the curator of the travelling exhibition, has been super-busy arranging new venues. So far, it’s been confirmed that the exhibition will show in 11 different venues in Australia, New Zealand and the USA, but it looks as though there may be more to come. The current list of dates and locations is on the Living Colour! website. Also available is a print catalogue showing the exhibits in more detail – an online preview of the catalogue can also be found on  a different page of the website.

Needless to say, I’m very pleased that my work has been selected for this exhibition. I’m just sorry that I’m unlikely to see the exhibition, as all the venues are a long, long way away, especially for someone who dislikes air travel as much as I do. However, the catalogue looks like a high quality production, and it should give a good insight into the working techniques and methods used to produce the 32 exhibits.

A glimpse of Living Colour: Madder and Friends

Here’s a detail photo of my textile piece, Madder and Friends, that was accepted for the Living Colour touring exhibition:Detail of Living Colour textile

The Living Colour blog is being updated every other day to include a glimpse of one of the 32 exhibits. Mine appeared earlier in the week.

As you can see from the photo this is a very simple construction. I’m a stitcher rather than a quilter (although I would like to get much better at quilting) so there is no clever piecing involved here. I started making this in the summer of 2013 and it took me around 6 months, working at it on and off. One of my intentions in this piece was to demonstrate how harmoniously these natural colours work together – hence the title ‘Madder and Friends’.

These started off as 7cm squares, including a seam allowance of 1cm. Each square that you see in the finished piece therefore measures 5cm. A strict stipulation for entry was that the finished piece should measure 100cm x 40cm. This means that this work comprises 20 x 8 squares – 160 squares in all. I took squares in progress with me wherever I went – some of these were stitched on long train journeys. Because they are so small they were very easily portable. I used a lightweight calico backing which was very useful in providing some body for the lighter weight fabrics, especially the habotai silk. I used a range of different stitching designs – no two squares are alike – but I tried to bear in mind the organiser’s requirement that this work should reflect both ‘Living’ and ‘Colour’ – I have tried to suggest life and movement in the stitching.

Although I was very careful about cutting the squares and piecing them, I was a bit anxious about meeting the dimensions requirement; there was an allowance of + or – 1cm which is not much. However, the end product was pretty much spot on. To get the cutting right I had to buying a quilter’s ruler showing centimetres rather than inches. It seems that most of the rulers available are in inches, which no doubt reflects the US influence in quilting. Fortunately, because I’m old enough to remember using what we quaintly referred to as ‘Imperial’ measurements I’m happy to use either centimetres or inches.

I’m enjoying keeping up to date with the Living Colour blog. The latest work to feature on it is by Di Flint, of Australia, and it looks lovely. Do have a look…

An update on “Time”: Living Colour

I’ve been travelling for the last few days and haven’t had access to anything other than my iPhone. A few days without a computer is a blessing rather than a curse, but it did mean that I wrote today’s post (‘Time’) in the middle of last week before I left, and scheduled it for publication today. In that post I was in a rather sombre frame of mind, I guess, wondering why I spend quite so much time doing things like stitching.

Well, just as I was about to set out on my journey on Thursday morning, I did a final check on my email and was thrilled to ribbons to find one from Brenda Gael Smith who is curating the Living Colour touring textile exhibition.

Living Colour 2014

Brenda congratulated me on the selection of my textile work for this exhibition – one of 32 entries selected from a total of 177. I haven’t previously mentioned on this blog that I put in an entry for Living Colour in the middle of last month. I’ve never done anything like this before, and I’ve not had any work exhibited previously. So I’m sure you can understand why I might be so pleased.

Being due to leave the UK for several weeks, I had to put on a turn of speed to get the work despatched to Brenda. This necessitated a detour from the M6 Southbound, to buy a padded envelope of appropriate dimensions at Staples, packing the work up in the hotel on Thursday evening and then a rapid trip to the post office on Friday morning. However, it all worked out without mishap, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it arrives safely in Australia within the next couple of days.

So what’s it like, this great work?  I don’t have a photograph of it to hand (I’m not writing this on my own computer with all my stored pictures), but Brenda is publishing previews of the selected pieces of work in the period before the exhibition opens, and there will be images of all the works on the Living Colour website before too long (click on the link or on the Living Colour logo above). A brief description of my work: it’s 100cm x 40cm (which are the prescribed dimensions) and it’s constructed out of squares of my naturally-dyed fabric. There are 160 squares in the piece, all of which I have embroidered. It took ages, and I’ve been busy on it for months. The title of the piece is ‘Madder and friends’ and it demonstrates how easily and well naturally-dyed colours go together. The predominant hues are variations on the reds/browns/pinks that you can derive from madder, but there are also some squares dyed in logwood and goldenrod (the ‘friends’) to provide contrast.

The acceptance of my piece into this exhibition does make me feel that all the time I’ve spent on stitching, especially over the last few years, has not been wasted. In any case, as I said in my post earlier today, I’m going to carry on regardless but it’s just really nice to have some external validation and recognition.