One of the advantages of having relatives living in exciting cities is the opportunity to visit local museums. The ROM or Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto is a good example with its latest special exhibit on… (and here I have to brace myself)… spiders. One display in the exhibit I found of special interest was this cape woven from the web or silk of the golden silk orbweaver spider found in Madagascar. It took Simon Peers and Nicholas Godley 3 years and the silk from over a million orbweaver spiders (yikes!) to make it. This gold color is the natural color of the spider’s silk.
Looking around I see that I’ve a vast collection of spider webs in my house. Wonder if I could make something as grand as this?
Cheddar Quilts from the Joanna S. Rose Collection on exhibit through February 3, 2019 at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum
Recently, I was fortunate to see the William Morris exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art. The next textile museum on my bucket list to visit? The International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska.
The International Quilt Study Center & Museum’s mission is to build a global collection and audience that celebrate the cultural and artistic significance of quilts.
And they have a gift shop too!
The Quilt Study Center is a superb building dedicated to exhibiting and preserving our quilt heritage. It is also educating future textile lovers as part of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design.
Pine Burr pattern, maker unknown, around 1879, possibly North Carolina
The galleries are beautifully curated and quilts are displayed with love and reverence. I highly recommend a visit and becoming a member in support of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum. You can even get a behind-the-scenes tour! (Another thing on my bucket list.)
Snakeshead textile design by William Morris
I’m one lucky gal! In the past month I’ve be able to visit 2 museums with wonderful textile collections. Here you see an image of Snakeshead a design from the William Morris: Designing an Earthly Paradise exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art. This fabric design features one of Morris’s (and my) favorite flowers, the fritillaria, a flower with a checkerboard bloom.
Embroidered bed hanging by May Morris
Items on exhibit range from actual William Morris fabrics to an embroidered bed hanging by May Morris to wood engravings illustrating books for the Kelmscott Press. Contained in one gallery, the exhibit extends until January 13, 2019.
Can you guess what other museum I was lucky enough to visit?
Via Chair Mail (1997) by Laura Wasilowski
The San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017. It also celebrated a gift of 87 art quilts, donated by Marvin Fletcher and his late wife Hilary. It is known as the Marbaum Collection and I am so happy that my work, Via Chair Mail
is included in this generous gift!
This particular version from my blue chair series is made from “random acts of fusing”. After creating a piece of fused artwork, I save all the cut-a-ways or confetti fabrics from making the work and construct collaged fabrics in sheets. As more projects are completed, more fabric is added and the sheets eventually document the art I make. Like a journal, I can “read” the fabric collages and reminisce about the art I’ve made and events in my life during the construction.
Having my art work purchased by Hillary and Marvin Fletcher and in the care of the Marbaum Collection is an honor. Their support of the quilt as an art form lightens my heart and gives me great delight. I am so fortunate my art work travels around the world with their collection. This piece travels Via Chair Mail.
Wie das Gras (Like the Grass) by Lizzy Funk
This large piece of art work by Swiss artist, Lissy Funk, is stunning! You can see it at the Art Institute of Chicago in the Textile department through September 18. What makes its stunning is the size (I estimate it measures around 50″ x 50″). And here is the really amazing part: it is made with hand embroidery.
Wie das Gras (Like the Grass), detail by Lizzy Funk
Created in 1977, Lizzy Funk used your standard embroidery stitches like the stem, satin, long/short, and buttonhole stitch. Then she threw in some French knots and couching for effect. Imagine the time and planning and just plain sitting around stitching for long lengths of time to create this huge embroidery. She invested so much into the making of this art work, I wish you could see it in person. It truly belongs in the Art Institute.
Wall hanging by Constance and Maxwell Armfield.
I am so fortunate to live near the Art Institute of Chicago. And it was during a recent trip to view newly acquired items for the Textile Department that I found this embroidery on display. The wall hanging by Constance and Maxwell Armfield was made in 1916. The English husband and wife team were influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement and created this embroidery together during a visit to the United States.
It features the progress of two fashionable women through a forest while a goat tags along. Isn’t this a fun design? It’s so wonderful to think that you can make imagery of anything with needle and thread.