Sunday, January 2, 2011

January Artist Profile 2011

Artist Profile for January 2011:

Judi Blaydon

Milford, Michigan

How long have you been sewing and when did you begin making art quilts?
I guess my first quilt would be classified as an "art quilt" [only because it was non-traditional], but certainly not because there was anything particularly artful about it. It was so unskilled, anyone else would have said "nice try" and taken up tennis or sumo wrestling instead. I'm amazed that I made any more. Really!

It was very encouraging when the next quilt, "Hot Mobius", won a Merit Award in Quilt National 1981 - - - but when I made that first quilt in 1976, I had done everything wrong and nothing right - - - no intersections intersected and no points were pointed . . . . . and no one has seen it since Ami Simms talked me into showing it in an exhibit she curated. If you can recall the most inept quilt you have ever seen and multiply its faults a thousand fold, you'll understand why no one will ever see it again.
Describe your art and its inspiration.
For a long time, my quilts were always about something I wanted to record and remember or celebrate. My quilt "The Mountain and the Magic: Haiku Moon" is an example of that approach, recording memories of teaching trips to Japan.
Currently, I've been focusing on the process that's described in my recent book, "Collage+Cloth=Quilt: Create Innovative Quilts from Photo Inspirations" / C&T 2010. [There's a nice book review on Barbara Brackman's Material Culture website [August 20, 2010] and ordering information will be on my website: - - - which is coming soon.
I begin by exploring experimental collage compositions using fragments and elements gathered from photographs I have taken - - - layering, combining and re-arranging them so they function as 'sketches' for abstract quilts. It's kind of like a work-wall on a small scale. Although the designs are inspired by photos, they are not in any sense 'picture quilts'. When I have an abstract composition I'm drawn to, I’m ready to enlarge the design and interpret all the colors, patterns and textures in the collage, transforming the 'paper quilt' composition into pieced fabric, to make a quilt that reflects the design elements and visual content of the collage. The quilts are very personal, because personal photographs are the inspiration. The collage serves as the "map" of the quilt.
What has resulted is a series "Sub Rosa" quilts that make reference to an abstract horizon line that allows me to suggest imaginary landscapes where things happen 'above' and 'below' that line. The "Sub Rosa" series got me out of a comfort zone of left-right symmetry [which came very naturally to me] and sent me in a new direction that always challenges and surprises me.
I use commercial fabrics, and combine them with Skydyes, Lonni Rossi, Judy Robertson, and Laura Wasilowski fabrics. (You can see pictures of this series of Judy’s quilts at the end of this profile.)
Where do you do most of your work?
I don't have a swanky studio with skylights and a view of the garden - - - - I have half of the basement of our house, with an inspiring vista of the washer and dryer. But there's lots of fluorescent lighting, a Bernina for dark value thread and machine quilting, and a 1960 Singer sewing machine [always filled with light value thread. I work at a 4' x 8' architect’s drawing table, an 8’ x 8' flannel-covered work wall and another 4' x 8' panel that I can move around the room . . . and most of my students have larger fabric stashes than I do. I also have a separate room beside the studio for doing my Stitched Paper prints, which are off-shoots of my quilted Icons.
What are your goals?
To learn something from each new quilt and then make the next one. And the next one. And to make every day count. . . .
Do you teach, lecture, curate or have a business of your art?
I teach and lecture, mostly doing 5-day Color and Design workshops for guilds and quilt conferences. At the end of January, I'll be offering a new workshop at Monarch Quilts in Brighton, Michigan. In the coming year, I will be teaching for East Bay Heritage Guild in Berkeley CA, at Katie Pasquini-Masopust's Alegre Retreat in Colorado and 2-weeks at Quilting By The Lake in Syracuse NY. What I love most about teaching is the chance to meet so many fabulous, funny and industrious women.
Where can your work be seen?
There will be a retrospective collection of my work in The Gallery section of my up-coming website; and my quilts are also in several books, including "Uncommon Threads: Ohio's Art Quilt Revolution" by Gail Pritchard; "The Art Quilt" by Robert Shaw" and "88 Leader's of the Quilt World Today" published by Nihon Vogue. "The Mountain and the Magic: Night Lights" is in the permanent collection of The National Quilt Museum in Paducah KY.
What are your interests outside of art?
Spending time with my husband Frank, [a retired architect and restorer of sports cars]; I love being with my children and my funny wonderful grand-daughters, The Detroit Tigers, reading, writing, Lake Michigan, and keeping in contact with old friends and fellow quilt artists.

Haiku Moon
84" x 73"

Sub Rosa: Aquifer

52" x 52"

Sub Rosa: Portal

53" x 70"

Sub Rosa: Venice II

54" x 54"

Jurors Choice Award

Quilts=Art=Quilts / Schweinfurth Art Center 2010

Sub Rosa: Venice I

47" x 38"

1 comment:

  1. These are beautiful works Judi! You should be proud!