Inspired to quilt, a retrospective

By Camie Sands

Quilt art is an art form that uses traditional quilting techniques to create art objects. It generally has more in common with the fine arts than it does with traditional quilting, with pieces usually either wall hung or mounted as sculpture, though exceptions exist – table runners, lap quilts and three-dimensional forms. Practitioners like Janet Avery create quilt art based on their experiences, imagery and ideas rather than traditional patterns. Avery has taught several workshops including the recent “Have A Heart” project to benefit the LGBT Program at CASA and has created commissioned pieces of quilt art.

“Inspired to Quilt, A Retrospective”
Sun, Apr 14, 5-7pm
Bordello Galería
Casa de la Noche
Órganos 19
Bordello Galería will be open 12-4 pm each day of the exhibit
Closing: Sat, Apr 27, 5pm
152-0732, or Janet Avery 154-9079

She will present a retrospective of her work of the last five years, opening April 14 at the Bordello Galería at Casa de la Noche. 5-7pm, Órganos 19.

Avery’s style is to reuse, recycle and repurpose with intuitiveness, fluidity and confidence. “If intrigued by a design, I reinvent it to make it mine. In the beginning, searching for inspiration, I happened upon a dusty, crumbling box tied with an old string. I could barely make out my grandmother’s handwriting on the lid which indicated that the contents of the box inside was a quilt ‘silk comfort top made pieced by my great-grandmother in 1925 from the Harrell Girls’ Family dresses’ from the 1920s. For me, it was an ‘Aha!’ moment that led to searching out used clothing from thrift stores, flea markets and garage sales. You can often find ‘designer duds’ which have been made of wonderful fabric to repurpose in quilting,” said Avery.

To view Avery’s collection “Inspired to Quilt, A Retrospective” is to find delight in geometric connectivity as a kaleidoscope in color and form unfolds, where squares seem to become three-dimensional cubes; triangles become diamonds, and hexagons almost roll away morphing into circles. Add to that the fact that each individual piece of material creating the overall quilt can trigger a memory defined by the design and age of the fabric. Find paisley, checkers, plaids, stripes, tie-dye rings, polka-dots, flowers and fruits, each lending a shadow of an emotional connection to a time and place the fabric suggests as a particular memory for each viewer.

She will present exciting pieces such as “Kimono,” a collection of molten reds in tangerine to vermillion with fabrics revealing stars, leaves and swirls cut in rectangular fashion bringing a sense of passion and movement to this traditional form. Her “Chevron Stacked” which appears to be a bird’s’ eye view of rooftops or plowed fields, a cheerful topography in eye-popping contrasts of color and pattern made totally from recycled clothing. “The Butterfly” hovers above a black field, framed in undulating fall colors, like a reminder of escaping time making a poignant impression. In “Koi Pond,” quilted orange fish seem to leap off the material. Beads, metallic threads and metal charms can be found in many of Avery’s pieces.

Avery began seriously ‘art-quilting’ in 2008 after joining the San Miguel Quilters, an organization dedicated to donating quilts to charitable organizations to help them raise money. She personally made six quilts for families receiving new homes built by the NGO Casita Linda, and was instrumental in organizing two benefit exhibits, one for Spa SPA and one for Ojala Niños. She concedes that a degrees in interior design with over 25 years’ experience of design and space planning may affect her aesthetic sensibilities. Avery will be moving away from San Miguel and offers this retrospective of works done here, so frequently inspired by the color, patterns and connectivity of San Miguel.

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