Apr 24, 2015

my double wedding ring at the Round Top wedding chapel

Teresa Duryea Wong. Improv Double Wedding Ring, 2015. Cotton, wool: 70 x 80 inch. Hand embroidery, machine quilted.
When I put the finishing stitches on my improv double wedding ring, it seemed fitting to load up the quilt and the camera and head out to this tiny wedding chapel in Round Top, Texas for a photo shoot.

It was a beautiful sunny day and this lovely white chapel proved to be a great backdrop for this colorful quilt --- a wedding ring at the wedding chapel.

I started this project about 5 months ago... and its my first attempt at making a traditional quilt in an improvisational or "improv" style. That means no pattern, no rulers and no rules. I just visualized the rings, cut strips freehand and sewed them together. It was great fun.

Teresa Duryea Wong. Improv Double Wedding Ring, (Detail) 2015.
Cotton, wool: 70 x 80 inch. Hand embroidery, machine quilted.
I spent months adding hand embroidery to most of top and I hand beaded some of the corner blocks. I used to work exclusively by hand, but haven't done so in years. This was a great reminder to slow down and take time to add those small details that can only be made by hand.

The center of each ring is wool and the purple is Peppered Cotton. All of the prints are "Made in Japan" and designed by Keiko Goke. I had the good fortune to meet her and interview her for my new book "Japanese Contemporary Quilts and Quilters."

Teresa Duryea Wong. Improv Double Wedding Ring, (Detail) 2015.
Cotton, wool: 70 x 80 inch. Hand embroidery, machine quilted.
In fact, not only was I inspired by her fabrics, but I also was inspired by an improv double wedding ring she made a few years back. This quilt was on view at International Quilt Festival in 2014 and is featured in "500 Traditional Quilts" by Karey Bresenhan.

Keiko Goke. My Double Wedding Ring, 2008. Cotton: 88 x 87 in. (224 x 220 cm.)
Machine pieced, hand embroidery, machine quilted.

It seemed fitting to me to traipse out to Round Top and photograph this double wedding ring quilt in front of one of the most precious wedding chapels around!

Teresa Duryea Wong. Improv Double Wedding Ring, 2015.
Cotton, wool: 70 x 80 inch. Hand embroidery, machine quilted.
Here's a close up of some of the hand embroidery and the quilting in the borders.

Teresa Duryea Wong. Improv Double Wedding Ring, (Detail) 2015.
Cotton, wool: 70 x 80 inch. Hand embroidery, machine quilted.
The back is a beautiful Peppered Cotton.

Teresa Duryea Wong. Improv Double Wedding Ring, (Back view) 2015.
Cotton, wool: 70 x 80 inch. Hand embroidery, machine quilted.
Thank you Round Top for your beautiful park and showcasing our proud Texas history. And thanks to the husband for help with these fantastic photos and for driving me out to Round Top.

Linking up with Off the Wall Fridays and Free Motion Mavericks and Finish it Up Friday.

Apr 19, 2015

me and Gustav Klimt - six degrees of separation

The first two minutes of the new movie "Woman in Gold" are the most precious. 

In these frames, we see the hands of an artist lovingly cut up flakes of gold leaf and apply them to his brush, and then the canvas. We meet the sitter, but never the artist.

From there, "Woman in Gold" - starring Helen Mirren - is basically the story of a lawsuit, not a painting. It's an interesting story and Helen Mirren is always a wonderful actress... but I left wishing the movie had a bit more about the painter, Gustav Klimt, and his famous portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, which was later renamed "Woman in Gold."

Fortunately, my husband and I travel to New York frequently and on our last trip several weeks ago we went to see the real thing!

"Woman in Gold" is part of the permanent collection of the Neue Galarie, which is located across the street from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

First the film... then the Neue... then on to the Met... the six degrees of separation between me and a tiny part of Gustav Klimt closes in.
Selfie outside the Neue Galarie in New York - 2015.
Here's how. Early in 2015, I attended a textile symposium at the San Antonio Museum of Art. It was a wonderful event, and one of the speakers was Amelia Peck, a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She edited a beautiful book about the history of the global textile trade, which I reviewed here last year.

During her lecture, Amelia encouraged textile lovers who visit New York to request a behind-the-scenes tour of the Ratti Textile Center at the Met. This is the center where they archive and store some 30,000 textiles - and it sits right there in the museum, not at an offsite storage.  So, of course, I requested a tour and it was scheduled for the same day we saw Klimt's drawings and paintings at Neue.
A quilt researcher outside the Ratti Textile Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
During the tour, I was quite surprised and thrilled when our host opened one of the many thousands of drawers inside the textile center to reveal some rare, original Gustav Klimt textiles!  These were fairly small pieces, but there was a whole collection.The staff member who gave us our tour indicated that these might have been part of a commercial sample kit for the textile company who sold these fabrics - and they most likely dated to the 1910-1930's (Klimt died in 1918). Each was cut to the same size and in beautiful condition. I wish I could have touched them... or even taken a photo! Of course, though, no photos and no touching.

Reproduction Klimt textile scarf - available from the Met Store.
When I think about textiles from this time period, the first thing that comes to my mind is the tiny pastel prints of Aunt Grace and feed sacks so popular in America at the time.  I'm well aware that these were not the only textiles being made in America during this period. But the stunning and exotic versions designed by Klimt - and now preserved by the Met  - are a world away from the expected and I loved seeing them.

It got me wondering about the design process for how these were woven and printed, and also the people who originally purchased these textiles and how they used them. I 'm sure they were used in home decorating as well as clothing and accessories... and one day, maybe I'll go back to the Ratti and dig deeper into the origin and history of these beautiful textiles.

That would be a great story. Maybe even a better story than the lawsuit.

Apr 15, 2015

let the quilting begin

Here are the very first stitches on my Japanese inspired double wedding ring quilt. 

One of the standard parts of my thought process when I start any new project --- is to check out my Leah Day 400 FMQ designs book for inspiration. If I find something there, sometimes I go to her site and watch the video of how she stitches that design. God... I love the internet.

The design in the purple border is pattern #265 and I really like how it turned out.  Seems natural, dense, yet not too distracting. At least to me, anyway,

You may be wondering... where's the Japanese inspiration? Its actually an interesting story. I blogged about this before... but here's the short version. This DWR (double wedding ring) was inspired by an improv DWR made by Keiko Goke (and featured in "500 Traditional Quilts" by Karey Bresenhan). I set out to make one like hers... no patterns, no rulers... just cut and sew and go.

All of the print fabrics in my DWR are designed by Keiko Goke! I love the color and the vibrancy of these prints. I spent at least a month covering the rings in hand embroidery. Better pictures soon... This quilt is so heavy and so big - not to mention I am using a wool batting - and I have been quilting on it for 2 solid days - and now I am worn out, especially my arms. At least I got some excercise today.

The centers are wool. Lovin' this spiral design.

When I finish this, it will be one of the quilts for my small trunk show of Japanese inspired quilts that will travel with me on my book tour - starting in May and going through 2016! So excited and honored by the quilt guilds who've invited me so far.

Stay tuned.

Apr 6, 2015

inspiration everywhere

Right there on my dinner plate... this beautiful leaf. Inspiration for a William Morris recreation I will make someday. Just one of the "one of these days I will make ___ " projects currently in my head.