Fantasy is not a genre that I usually embrace, but once in a while my book club reads a fantasy book, and I find I’m pleasantly surprised by how much I like it! I recently decided to make Fantasy Artwork, and here is why. The Front Range Contemporary Quilters group has been having virtual exhibitions. These are posted on our website artquilters.org. The ideas for the shows come from our membership, and the person whose idea becomes the theme of the show has the pleasure and opportunity of serving as the show juror. The virtual exhibit this month is Fantasies.
I am Exhibitions chair for these virtual shows. There are no other committee members, so it is just me being bossy, and telling jurors what to do. What does being a juror entail? Some of our jurors have probably used less than glowing words to describe their experience. Impossible! Difficult! Good Grief! No matter how many submissions we get for a show (anywhere from 8 – 25) I have told the juror to select 70% (or less) of the entries. I have also asked them to pick a juror’s choice award (worth $25) and to write a juror’s statement about the show. These artists experience first-hand what it means to be a juror. It is just a little taste of what it can be like. Big art quilt shows have as many as 450 entries and several jurors, who come to agreement on 50 quilts that are accepted! The process takes many days. The quality of art and the photograph submitted is so important!
The prompt to artists for the Fantasies show is excellent: What would you add or change in a landscape, still life, abstract, or figurative piece to make it more imaginative? Would there be more color, more movement of lines and shapes? Would an unrealistic dimension be added? Here is an opportunity to be a bit freer in your work and to incorporate some fun. Perhaps you already have work that is fanciful, or you may want to adapt an older piece.
Those last four words got me thinking and got me poking around to uncover some things that might be Fantasies. I found these two old cartoon pieces (2008) that had some wonderful cabbage leaves and colors, but lacked good composition and value contrast. A make-over would be fun!
It turned out that adapting these old pieces required a bit more labor than I anticipated, including actually removing stitches and fusible web to peel some of the fabulous cabbage leaves off of the old quilts to use on new ones! Some portions of old quilts were used as is, but reframed by adding a lot of black material and creating a triptych out of the two original quilts. Other new elements added were stones and a fish. Because the upper edge of the dark material were curved, I had to find a way to hang the three quilts together. This problem ended up being a big plus. I made another quilt as backdrop for them. It had grey on the upper edge and pink at the bottom. Then I added fringe and asked my art buddies to vote on whether they liked the fringe. Does it stay or go? All but one person liked the fringe. One wanted it trimmed (I did not), and two people wanted me to add a little pink somewhere along the top. (I did) The title is What is this Place? It is 12.5 X 31 inches. Artist statement: A global pandemic, climate change, and divisive politics have got us feeling disoriented. I wanted this piece to show a very altered environment, one that we don’t recognize!
I altered another piece for the Fantasies show. The shamrock fabrics in this piece were originally green against a white background. After using a thin water color paint, the shamrocks are now against a blue background. The circles of the tree and sky were originally a pale purple and are now blue and green. The title is Cottage by the Lake. It is 15 X 15 inches. It was made the same year as the cabbage quilts, and I used the same pink plaid fabric seen in the triptych for the border. Artist statement: You might want to explore a place that has a watermelon cottage and a shamrock sky. Or maybe it is a trick? Will you find your way back home?
I found one more image to enter in Fantasies virtual show. It had many of the same imaginative colors as my make-over triptych. The title is Green Man and Dog. The size is 12 X 16 inches. Artist statement: While being groomed, the dog slips into a lovely trance. The air is smooth, aromatic, and green. One can float on the yellow that surrounds a perfect day.
There are plenty of reasons to make stuffing this time of year. The generous amounts of vegetables make this recipe extra wonderful. Stuffing: Wash 6 stalks celery and 1 bunch parsley ahead of time, and pat dry with towels. Put 6 cups bread cubes in a large bowl. Mix spices together and add to the cubes: 1/2 t. pepper, 1 1/2 t. salt, 1 t. each sage and thyme, and 2 t. oregano. Dice two yellow onions. Chop the 6 stalks celery. Mince the parsley. Keep vegetables separate. Saute onions in 4 T. oil or chicken fat, until clear. Stir in celery and cook a few minutes before adding parsley. Cook on low heat for 5 or more minutes. Add vegetable to bread cubes and stir. Transfer to casserole dish and drizzle with 1/4 c. chicken broth (or water). Cover and heat in oven before serving.