At the “Festival of Quilts” I saw a great exhibition by the “Contemporary Quilt Group”. This group is a specialist group of “the Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles” comprising over 700 members. It is a diverse group of quilters working to create innovative and dynamic art.
In 2014 they chose “Dislocation” as the theme for their annual challenge. This led to beautiful quilts, done in a wide variety of techniques and especially meaningful in combination with the artist’s statements. Sometimes they were educational, sometimes they were thought provoking, sometimes you just wanted to give a comforting hug to the artist.
The quilts are all the same size – 50 x 120 cm / 20 x 48 inches. This makes them difficult to show in full size. Therefore the quilts are shown smaller in this article but just click on the images to see them full size.
Organised Chaos by Jill Packer
Dislocation, disarray, disorganisation, confusion, disorder, misplacement, these were the words I used as inspiration for this quilt. It started out fine, but there were interruptions, things fell out of place and then there was confusion and disorder!
The “Dots” (circles) are pieced and then machine appliquéd onto the pieced background. The “Dashes” are bonded.
Dislocation – a sLIGHT shift by Sue Turner
I always have this feeling of being slightly dislocated from everyone else, never being on exactly the same wave length. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel but life’s compartments are constantly shifting.
For the background, a combination of piecing and fused and stitched appliqué has been used with commercial batiks and a digitally printed fabric of a textile self portrait. The quilting includes polyester organza and free machine stitched text. The content of the text relates to “dislocation” and some personal thoughts.
Soliton by Ann Beech
In science, a Soliton is a solitary wave travelling at a constant speed. A collision will cause it to emerge unchanged but there will inevitably be a shift; this is what I have attempted to depict.
White cotton was ploughed and dyed in two stages firstly with black and then again with scarlet, magenta and brown. Plain black was dyed and added to emphasise the design travelling in a set direction. Thermofax printing produced a repeating pattern of the Soliton and was stitched with various threads. Hand and machine stitching.
Letters to the Demons by Sandra Wyman
Basically a memorial quilt – with a difference! Anger at the demons that caused my husband’s death gave me an intense sense of dislocation. By writing a series of letters to the demons, I was able finally to dislocate him from his alcoholism, let the real man shine through, and finally grieve for him and move on with my life.
Letters written on fabric (overwritten because such letters are private) in pen, in glue, painted, screenprinted using glue as a resist, plus some machine-stitched letters. Hand-dyed cottons and silk. Raw-edge and reverse appliqué, free machine quilting.
Dislocation by k3n (Kathryn) Chambers
My quilt represents the phenomenon of dislocation in geology where a strata of sedimentary rock fractures and a portion slips. I researched photos of rock strata and was inspired by the many colours and textures they display.
The quilt was constructed in sections with various fabric collage techniques using commercial cotton and silk fabrics and fabrics k3n dyed herself. It is embellished with machine top-stitching, couched yarns and hand embroidery. The whole quilt was then pieced together before k3n cut it along the planned “fracture line” and inserted the blue vertical strip.
Steamed Up by Judy Fairless
Separated from the parent steam locomotives, the rusting old boilers with their pattern of holes and rivets await restoration. Elsewhere old carriages, paint peeling, lie abandoned.
Blending images of the two in a computer programme inspired the colour scheme and the layout of the design. Discarded washers from the locomotives were used (with permission) to rust dye part of the background before painting with dyes. The circles were printed with acrylic paint. Machine trapunto emphasises one area of the design and the whole is free machine quilted. The lettering has been enhanced with paint sticks after quilting and binding.
Taking the interpretation of the theme to mean “out of place”, I have used the research by Cambridge University as my inspiration.
The background has been screen printed with dictionary definitions of the word. The letters have been laser cut from Frieda Anderson hand-dyed fabric and are fused in place. Machine quilted.
I started this challenge by finding out what dislocation meant. The dictionary said “an event that results in discontinuity”. I am an admirer of the work of Stig Lindberg, a Swedish designer. I love his design work based on bottles and vases. A broken vase would cause the pattern to discontinue.
Appliqué and machine quilting.
Dreaming of a rainbow falling out of the sky into pieces. Could I put a dislocated jumble back together?
Bonded and machine appliquéd multi coloured fabric onto black material backed with white cotton sheeting.
The design signifies the day my life changed forever, when my career of 40 years came to an abrupt end and left me able to reassess my priorities. Dislocation or displacing means to “set free” and my illness is allowing me to live the life I love, finally. A black seam line separates the two sections and the blood vessels show breaks in connections. Hand dyed cotton fabrics illustrate contrast in mood from the structure and subdued greys of my profession to freedom and colour, which I now have time to explore artistically.
Machine quilted and hand embroidered.
Travelling at speed on a familiar journey, you see the roadside as a blur; carried along and caught in your own world, you can let your thoughts float free.
Painting, screen printing, layering, machine quilting, couching. Cotton and silk fabrics, acrylic paint, puffer paste, cotton and synthetic threads.
The design is based on the dislocation of the icebergs due to climate change.
All home dyed and printed fabric with the exception of two strips has been pieced and machine quilted. The letters were block printed after quilting and appliqué shapes added. Embellishments of hand stitching and buttons to add additional interest.
The Immigrant by Margaret McCrory
“He fell prey to loneliness and a wrenching sense of dislocation”
The Immigrant – Carpenter 1970
Earlier this year I took photographs of Post Boxes in rural America. Our equivalent? Possibly Royal Mail boxes built into walls. This made me think about immigration. Using Photoshop, a Royal Mail box was placed among the American boxes. Does the immigrant feel lonely in his surroundings? Is he rejected because of his “difference”? Or can his “difference” be appreciated and welcomed as an enhancement to his new environment.
Bonded appliqué. Hand-dyed cotton. Detail added using Inktense paint blocks, stitch, stencils and pens.
To enter the challenge members not only had to submit a photo of the quilt but also a 20 cm / 8 inches square sample representing the design and the techniques of the quilt. These samples were on tables in the exhibition to be handled and looked at in all details. What a great idea!
I hope you like these glimpses into the exhibition as much as I liked seeing all those quilts. And if you ever have a chance to see quilts by the British “Contemporary Quilt Group” don’t hesitate. You are in for a treat!