Oct 29, 2014

my art quilt debuts at International Quilt Festival

Today is a big day--- International Quilt Festival 2014 opens to the public! It's hard to express how excited I am to finally have an art quilt hanging at this show! This is a moment I've dreamed about for at least 10 years! No joke.
My quilt is part of the Festival Awareness special exhibition: "It's Raining Cats and Dogs."
Here is one section of this special exhibition on view at the International Quilt Festival, 2014.
Wanna Cookie? Teresa Duryea Wong, 2014. Hand applique, machine quilted.
FINALIST: Special Exhibition: "It's Raining Cats and Dogs."
Wanna Cookie? (Detail) Teresa Duryea Wong, 2014. Hand applique, machine quilted. 
This quilt took about six months to complete and I titled it "Wanna Cookie?" My art quilt is an original design based on a photo that my husband and I took of our beloved family dog, Chip. There are about 200 pieces of applique here, all completed by hand (edge turned, hand applique)! The image is machine quilted using tons of white, several shades of gray, and black thread ... all placed close together to resemble lines of fur. No quilting lines ever crossed and the back is almost as cool as the front.

Chip actually passed away in May. We miss him very much - he was part of our family for 14 years!

"Wanna Cookie?" is part of the International Quilt Festival special exhibition "It's Raining Cats and Dogs." This is the first juried exhibition I've entered... and my expectations were not high. In fact, I didn't really expect to be accepted, but I thought I'd at least learn by going through the entry process.
When you walk in the front doors for the 40th anniversary of International Quilt Festival, Houston -
the Ruby Jubilee - this is what you'll see.  It is the most stunning display I've ever seen at IQF in the 15+ years
I have been attending Festival. Just love it!
When the day came that the finalists were supposed to be notified, I had not heard anything. Kept checking email throughout the day... nothing. Oh well. Then, finally, about 5 pm, the email came. My quilt was selected as one of the finalists. Big smile!
a Selfie
The rules for entering do not allow you to blog or post pics of your finished quilts on the web. So now, the giant "hole" on my blog gallery page can be populated with my Chip quilt! See my previous blog post on this.

Anyway.... It's hanging. I'm standing in front of it. Some of my family will be here to see it... bummed that our daughter in New York won't be able to see it. But the exhibition will travel for 2 years, so maybe it it'll make its way to New York! Hope so.

Here are my two favorites that are among the 30 finalists in this exhibition. (sorry I don't have the artists names... I will get those when I go again and add them!)

Here is my "artist's statement" (written earlier this year, before Chip died).

I am reminded of the competition’s theme every evening when the streets in my urban ’hood start ‘raining dogs’ and their owners. My dog, Chip, is quite old now and when we go out for walks, everyone asks me how old Chip is because he walks very slowly and his gray muzzle stands out against his black fur. He looks just like a distinguished, old man. So as I laid awake at night thinking about this quilt, I wanted to find a way to capture him in his elder years and show all the variation of black, white and gray fur with fabric and thread. My inspiration for this quilt was David Taylor’s “Maynard” art quilt. I saw “Maynard” years ago and I never forgot it. For this quilt, we photographed Chip and I made an original pattern based on the photo. I hand-appliqu├ęd hundreds of tiny pieces of fabric and then meticulously machine quilted it by placing the thread in the same pattern as the fur. My intention was to capture Chip’s calm, happy personality. As my husband and I had him “model” for the camera, I asked him: “Wanna Cookie?”  His response is forever captured.

Just to end on a positive note... we can never replace our beloved Chip, but he is immortalized in my art quilt and I am so proud!

We also adopted a new dog a couple months ago... a 12 month old bundle of love and energy. The puppy chewing count so far: three pairs of shoes, one bath robe, and one remote control! Yikes! Luckily we have cured him of chewing our stuff... and he is a happy puppy. Maybe there is another art quilt in here... I have about ~100 photos (not joking!) to choose from. This one is my favorite so far!

Oct 24, 2014

blogger's quilt festival: vote for your favorite

Fall is finally here... and it's time for the Blogger Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side. This is such a fun and diverse collection of quilts being made today. No judging - just inspiration. Be sure to check it out! "Holy Cow" - my original design - is entered in the Art Quilt category. Voting starts Nov. 1.
Holy Cow. Teresa Duryea Wong, 2014. Fused applique, machine quilted.
If you follow my blog, you'll know that this cow quilt is one I finished a couple months ago. I have entered it in the art quilt category. I posted 3 posts about how I made this quilt,  here. is part one.

Holy Cow. Teresa Duryea Wong, 2014. Pictured in a real Texas living room.
I hope you will take a minute to check out all the great quilts in this festival. There are lots of categories and tons of cool quilts being made in all styles.  Viewers choose the favorite!

Have fun at the online festival!
Fall 2014 BQF Button

Oct 17, 2014

hey, quilt competitions: why all the secrecy?

There's a giant hole in my blog and my so-called 'gallery' page. My best art quilt is nowhere to be seen.

That's because I entered it into a competition for the Houston International Quilt Festival and by some miracle, it was accepted. Woohoo! So excited, and truly honored to have been chosen.

But the rules in the "Call for Entries" explicitly state that you cannot enter if the finished quilt has been shown on blogs, websites, articles, etc. prior to the show's opening. The Houston event is not alone - most quilt competitions work this way.

In a world where we post selfies every other moment, and a in world with a plethora of bloggers, grammers, pinners and twitter addicts...  why all the secrecy?

Here's the world we live in.... See me with my dinner? See with my dog? You like my picture? Oh, I like that you like my picture! See what I made today? Wanna comment? Oh, I love comments!

I totally understand that quilt exhibit organizers want an element of surprise and freshness to their shows. And this is legit. I get what you're thinking, but I think your thinking is old school.

Lots of artists and makers today need and want to document and share their creations. For some of us, this is as much an innate part of how we work today as is picking up a needle and thread.

And this issue is not just about the needs and wants of the makers versus the organizers. Its actually a much bigger question that centers on the expectations of the viewer... and the ways in which we think, communicate and process images these days.

Are we fighting a new war with an old strategy?

The war in this case being the hyper-connected, online, visual world in which we live... and reconciling that world with being stuck in old school ways of communicating.

Here's a case in point. Let's start at the most famous, most obvious example in the Western art world - the Mona Lisa. Why do people go see it? Why is the line 500 feet long, every day, every year, year after year?

Photo by Teresa Duryea Wong, 2014.
To say you can see this image online is kinda, well ... duh! You can see it everywhere, at almost any second of the day. But people realize that you can't trade these obscure impressions for the tangible experience of seeing the real thing. So they put the Mona Lisa on every Paris must-see itinerary.

Other art museum exhibitions show the same paintings we've been looking at, reading about, and studying for 200 years on view, and we line up around the block to see them in person. Why is that?Clearly, it's because you see it in a book, on a website, on a poster, in a magazine, where ever... and you want more! You want to see the real thing!

So, if you see a quilt online, doesn't the same logic apply? Don't you want to see the real thing?

Don't you want to touch it? To put your face up close to it? See the stitches? See the construction? See how big or how small it is? Feel its vibe? Picture the maker working tirelessly on it? You can't get all these things from seeing a picture online or in print. But these images can make you want to see the thing! In many cases, these images can make you care!

Many, many studies prove that repetition breeds familiarity. That's why advertisers show the same ads over and over again. That's why we listen to the same songs over and over. Think about it... the first time you hear a song, you are probably ambivalent. You need time. You need repetition, you need an experience that connects you to that particular song. You need a moment.

Art works the same way. Your first glace is not likely your most memorable.

Am I alone here?

Another case in point. Couple weeks ago, I blogged about the art of the amazing Susan Lenz. I wrote in that post that I've only seen a couple of her pieces of art in person. Nothing would thrill me more than seeing ALL of them in person.  Susan's work is something I discovered online... if there was no blog, no social media presence, no website... for me, there'd be no interest because it is doubtful I would have known about her.

I truly believe that an online or in print impression helps BUILD interest in a work of art, not DETRACT interest!

Why do quilt competition organizers think the opposite? Why do organizers struggle so hard for publicity in the "old world media" of newspapers, magazines, etc, when the blogger - who is the new citizen journalist - is right there, ready to spread the word? Why do we quiet these voices when we should enable them?

I hate whiners. I love solutions.

Here's one solution.Give bloggers a button to post on their blog or website or store that says: "Hey, I'm a winner. Come see my Quilt here!" Have the button link back to your web, or blog, or board... whatever. Get lots of people to contribute to it and spread the images. Hope that they go viral. Free the voices! Empower those who care most to promote and share... and tweet and pin...

Empower the bloggers and the grammers to do their thing, to sing from the mountain tops!

Here another idea. Let's do an experiment. Let's take an online festival - like Amy's Creative Side, for example, who runs one of the biggest online quilt festivals (slash competitions) - and let's say that we take those quilts and hang them in a real, brick and mortar space.  Would you come see them?

If you've seen these quilts already on your favorite blogs, and you voted for them in an online festival, would you still want to see them in person?  My guess, is yes! I know I'd love to see them. That's why I look at them online... because most of them are good, some are awesome. It is because I am familiar with them that I care about them.

Are we fighting a new war with old strategies? I'd love your thoughts!

My disclaimer: I recognize that this post might offend some organizations, and they might think I missed the point. I don't intend to offend. I'd love to hear all points of view. This is how I feel. What do you think?

P.S.My art quilt goes on view October 29. I have my long awaited blog post ready to publish Oct. 29! I'll post a picture of me standing next to it. I hope you "like" it!

I'm linking up. I love link ups. If you want to share this or re-post it, that'd be cool.

Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays
Bad Ass Quilters Society Facebook Page - or web... maybe they will share.
Amy's Creative Side

can't we all get along? apple, google, android, ios... what's a blogger to do?

My blog sits Blogger. My mobile device of choice is an iPad.

These two mega entities do not play well together.

Snap a pic on the iPad and then try to post that on your blog? Oh boy, you're in for a real treat... not a fun one either. It takes an act of Congress to make this work, and the IOS to Blogger photo thingy is just one of the many problems between these two worlds.

Seriously, can't we all just get along? ... Apple, Google, Android, IOS, Blogger... on and on ... Technology has made amazing leaps. Some things are so simple. And then, some things are very tedious.

I give up. I'm goin' all Google, all Android, all PC. Whatever.

Don't get me wrong. I am not one of those people who love or hate Apple or any other brands. I just like things that work. And for me right now, I want to be able to update my blog, add photos, read my email, buy stuff, text and Skype my kids, listen to my music and podcasts on real speakers with no wires... and I don't care what brand does that best.

So, I bought this yesterday, the Samsung Tab S android tablet - 10.5 inches of pure beauty. Yes, prettier than the iPad.
Sorry Apple. Going Android - more choices and more devices that get along with each other!

Cuz, really, life is short. You make me make these choices! Can't we all just get along?

Oct 9, 2014

art quilts galore at the Texas Quilt Museum

There are artists and there are collectors. Both of them make the world a better place.

Fortunately the art world has John Walsh, a passionate collector who has spent the past 20 years building a stunning collection of contemporary art quilts and at the same time, supporting the artists who make them.

Part of his collection is on view at the Texas Quilt Museum right now. And if you're lucky enough to be visiting this wonderful museum during International Quilt Festival, you'll have a chance to see this exhibition.
Texas Quilt Museum, La Grange, Texas
Last Saturday night, two fellow SAQA members and I drove to La Grange for the opening reception and to hear John speak about his collection and the art quilt themselves. He shared stories about each quilt and it was fascinating to hear these stories from the collector's perspective. Many of the quilts in his collection were commissioned and he gives the quilters complete free rein on what and how to create. A rare gift for sure!

He explained the definition of the typical art quilt - a three layered textile held together with stitching, of course. But then he went on to say, with art quilts, he often quotes his favorite George Gershwin ditty: "It ain't necessarily so!" Some of the art quilts are two layers. Some are pieced, but not quilted. Some are tops stitched and painted onto canvas. Some have embellishment and leather on the surface, even ceramics. At least one quilt in the collection weighs about 160 pounds!

The exhibition was curated by Sandra Sider. She was scheduled to speak as well, but unfortunately she had laryngitis.

I've seen several exhibitions at the Texas Quilt Museum over the past two years - this one may be the best one yet! The quilts are hung beautifully and every inch is filled with these rich works of art. It's a perfect showcase for the quilt world as tens of thousands of visitors descend on Houston in a few weeks for Festival and I hope a whole lot of you are able to make a trek out to La Grange.

In the meantime, here's a few websites and blogs of some of the artists whose work really stood out for me.

Susan Shie - she creates these whimsical, folk art scenes and then covers each piece with intricate tiny, tiny lines of text and stories. The writing looks like pen and ink, but is actually airbrushed. (This image is not the same one in the exhibition.)
Susan Shie, Sisters, or The True Story of Sisters on Diets, 2006.
Terry Hancock Mangat - her art quilts are dense layers of color and bold, painterly images, with plenty of unconventional materials incorporated into them. Hard to explain, very cool.
Terry Hancock Mangat, Water Quilt. 2009.
Anna Williams - 2 of her quilts are hanging in this collection. She is described in the book as the only artist in the collection without a formal art education. This self taught quilter pieced these lovely, off-kilter strips and pieces and created a modern artwork.  She worked her day job as a domestic and did all her sewing at night. The quilting was done by someone else, she only enjoyed creating the tops.

Here's an interesting blog post on Barbara Brackman's blog about Anna and her influence on Nancy Crow and many others over the years.

String Quilt Top
Anna Williams, String Quilt Top. 56 x 47 in
"Contemporary Art Quilts: The John M. Walsh III Collection" is available on Amazon. This thin, paperback book features parts of his collection (not all of these quilts are on view at the Texas Quilt Museum right now --- its actually a catalog from a previous exhibition). So, if you're looking for inspiration, this book is certain to give you a plethora of ideas and is a great addition to your quilt library.

link to Amazon