A Profile in Quilting Arts Magazine

Quilting Arts Magazine’s February-March issue has arrived, and I am honored to be the featured artist in a really nice 6-page spread with glorious photos. Also included is a piece on what to do with leftover dye (make pillows!) which was based on a blog post I did earlier. Thanks to everyone who’s made this possible. OK, Astrid, before complacency sets in, time to get back to work… I’m enjoying the journey, though.

A New Year: scraps + art cloth

Time to return to painting and printing, but first, taking advantage of opportunities the new year provides: completing partially finished pieces. Shown above: works on cotton broadcloth (left) and a cotton-hemp mix (right). Hemp dyes beautifully; the effect is a bit like linen, which screenprints nicely.

Then, art cloth. I am screenprinting using dyes instead of fabric paints. Procion fiber reactive dyes bond at the molecular level with the natural fibers they are applied to. This results in a soft “hand” to the fabric and good wash-fastness. Dyes are transparent and create wonderful effects when layered. Even the best fabric paints (I use Pro-Chem’s Pro Fab fabric paints) leave a stiffened fabric, and it’s difficult to achieve the transparency I like. My last real burst of screenprinting involved fabric paints to make functional items like tea cozies, table cloths, napkins, and yes, wall hangings. Predating my art quilts, this was 15 years ago. Now I’m eager to try some of my three dozen screens with thickened dye. What follows is a sequence of printing over two days, 2.5 yards.

This is really an interesting combination of colors, but the white will look untended when finished, so I move on with more monoprinting over the screenprinting

the finished fabric, heat set, washed and dried

SAQA featured artist time…

SAQA, the Studio Art Quilts Associates, features two “professional artist members” on their website monthly, and this time the focus is on Alison Muir and myself. Here’s the blurb from SAQA:

“Studio Art Quilt Associates, Inc., the non-profit organization that promotes the art quilt world-wide, announced the SAQA.com Featured Artists for the month of January 2010. Selected from among SAQA’s 450+ Professional Artist Members, Astrid Hilger Bennett of Iowa City, Iowa, and Alison Muir of Neutral Bay, New South Wales, Australia are the latest artists to be profiled.

Alison Muir writes ‘In 2000 water became the driving force in my world, and I needed to be near it to smell and see the sea, to be happy.’ The SAQA Web site is featuring three additional works by Muir that beautifully showcase the depth of her connection to water. Astrid Hilger Bennett finds a rich source of inspiration in the events of daily life. She balances complex and quiet forms on a visually abstract canvas to create art quilts that interpret her perception of the world.

The Featured Artists Program, updated monthly on SAQA’s Web site, offers SAQA an opportunity to shine the spotlight on a few of their Professional Artist Members. Visitors to the site will see selections of the artist’s work not previously shown on SAQA.com, and find a bit more information on each artist. The SAQA Web site also features a Gallery where visitors can review many other works by Professional Artist Members.

Studio Art Quilt Associates, Inc., is an international non-profit organization dedicated to informing the public about the continuing achievements of the art quilt movement. SAQA’s 2,500 members span 31 countries and include artists, collectors, curators, art dealers and corporate sponsors. Since its founding 20 years ago, SAQA has mounted juried exhibitions featuring the works of artist members at museums and galleries throughout the world.”