Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Lisa Nilsson: Quilling Tapestries

Artists, who use some of the most available materials to everyone. take paper and glue to an astonishing level. They never cease to intrigue us on how they can do that. An artist who makes us wonder in that way is Lisa Nilsson (1963-)

Nilsson creates with a technique known as "quilling." It's defined as an art form using strips of paper that is rolled into a coil, shaped and manipulated. The coil is then glued. It's been used for many centuries to create a "3-D" of flowers, portraits, and other subjects based on the mastery of of the technique.  (Below is a very simplified example of the technique)



 

The masters, such as Nilsson, have used quilling for so many different subjects as to challenge any belief that there are any limitations to making art with just paper and glue. 

 

 In her interest to work in series, she presently has 5 series or collections of subjects that she also challenges herself. Since it's not possible to cover all 5 in a single blog, this one will be limited to her "Tapis" series.

 

Tapis represents the inspiration she felt in the designs of Persian carpets. Nilsson used her mastery of quilling to create her own wall tapestries. She observed the design elements of a central theme, formal corners and specific borders The process is tedious and takes many months to complete each one. (Sizes vary with the largest ones being 22" x 29") (Below are examples of her finished pieces and close ups of the technique)
















































Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Marie Bashkirtseff: A Brief Life Lived Fully

Art history has not been very accepting of art her-story. One of those women, who was famous in her time and passed over in the history of art, was Marie Bashkirtseff (1858-1884 Ukraine)

In spite of her short life of 25 years, she was a noted visual artist as well as a writer. Ill health plagued her much of her life. Her initial interest and passion for singing was ended when she developed a throat illness that ended her ability to sing. (This could have been incipient tuberculosis which was undiagnosed at the early stage and lead to her death.)

Bashkirtseff was nothing if not very talented, resilient and resourceful. When she had to give up singing, she turned to her interest in drawing and painting. At the time, the famous Academie Belle Artes school was not accepting women. Being ever resolute, she attended Academie Julian in Paris, which did accept women



As early as 1880, her art was being accepted in the Paris Salon. She was accepted every year thereafter until her death.


 

 She was a prolific painter. We may never know how many paintings she completed since the Nazis destroyed many of her works. However, 60 paintings survived - a remarkable number! At the same time, she was writing under the name of "Pauline Orrel." 

 

 

Writing was also part of her creative life. Beyond her correspondence, she wrote letters and articles to newspapers mainly on behalf of feminist issues. She also kept a diary starting at age 13.


 

 

Printed posthumously, her diary has been translated and continues to be popular right into modern times. This journal has been referred to as,  "a strikingly modern psychological self-portrait of a young, gifted mind,..." 

 

 

 

Given her intermittent bouts with TB, she hoped that she might have enough time to be regarded as a great artist and, if not, she wanted her diary be published. It's apparent that more than anything, she wanted to not be forgotten. (Directly below is her painting, "The Meeting" now in the Musee d' Orsay in Paris.)



This one is titled, "Despair." Given the illness that she lived with, I wonder if she was painting her own emotional sense of mortality.




 

 



Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Denise Labadie: Unique Quilts

 Growing up, I knew handmade quilts as an often-cherished heirloom from previous generations made from clothing scraps. Long after work jeans had worn out in the knees, there'd be a salvageable bit of cloth that could be used to make a quilt. How things have changed!


 

 

Quilting is now less about homemade make-do warm bedding and more about gorgeous wall art. Nowadays, there's even an annual international touring  of small quilts that are executed by individual quilters based on a selected theme. The quilts are stunning! 

 

 


 

 

 I recently happened upon the works of a quilter/artist as none I'd ever seen before. She is Denise Labadie of Colorado.In her bio, she noted that it was on a trip to her ancestors' home in Ireland that she had a deep response to seeing the stones, monoliths and structures.

 

 

 

 

It was on subsequent trips to Ireland that Labadie also felt the inspirational impulse of the ancient ruins of monasteries with a special interest in the passageways and portals. 


Labadie's process of re-creating these ancient ruins and structures is very involved. As she says, "... construct [ing] the actual quilt the same way as a stone mason builds a wall Рindividually sizing and cutting out, piecing, and appliqu̩ing each stone, one by one, working from the bottom up Рeach stone a foundation for the others that it supports or neighbors."


 

 

 

Stones are individually cut out of fabric. These are painted and while still wet folded, pleated, wrinkled and manipulated in ways to make the fabric resemble rocks. She also employs salt, sugar, sand and even dirt on the wet painted fabric to get the rock effect she wants. All of this happens before she begins to assemble a quilt.

 

 

 

Labadie does offer workshops, which are very hands on. If this master quilter is someone you'd like to learn more techniques of quilting, you might check her website for further information.