Saturday, February 20, 2016

Improvisational Quilts in the Bay Area

The computer died again. Fortunately, the maker decided to replace it this time. Unfortunately that will take a week or two.

I've been sewing daily but took time out to see Eli Leon's exhibit at the Museum of California in Oakland. Yo-Yo's and Half Squares: Contemporary California Quilts is a small but delightful exhibit of quilts Mr. Leon purchased at various East Bay flea markets. Most were purchased as tops; he had a quilter who finished them for him. Focusing on African-American quilters, he amassed a spectacular collection that partly inspired Sherri Lynn Wood's work and current book. As as side note, many of the quiltmakers originally hailed from Texas and the South, moving to California in the 1960s and '70s.

Many of the quilts were denim. What fun to see blue jeans incorporated with their pockets and welting. Kaja's recent finish reminds me of them. Some quilts were velvet; they had a surprising depth and shine. Photography was not allowed at this show but Mr. Leon has a website well worth visiting.

Outside the gallery was L'Atelier by Lucien Ladaubt. Notice anything?

L'Atelier by Lucien Ladaubt
at the Museum of California, Oakland

Yep. She's sewing sideways! Lucien had a successful art and fashion business so he should have known better. What was he thinking? This painting highlights the workers who created the gorgeous clothes in his murals on the circular staircase at Coit Tower as well as those at the Beach Chalet in Golden Gate Park.

This weekend I'm pulling fabric for a two-day workshop with Maria Shell. She will guide us through abstracting a favorite location or place. Friends heard her speak at a SAQA convention last year and others took workshops. It will be such fun!

Don't forget out next improvisational and utility quilt linkup is this coming Tuesday: here or at Sew Slowly.

Enjoy the day, Ann


Stephie said...

Oh I'd love to see the exhibition - he has such a great collection. Lucky you! And surely that machine's not the wrong way round Ann, it's just 'artistic licence'!!

Ann said...

It was small but impressive. As usual, there are so many details when you take the time to really look.
Artistic license is right! I saw an old ad where the model was "sewing" on the machine backwards. Not in reverse; she was sitting on the opposite side. This painting amused me.

Monica said...

Well, I do think it was the artistic exploration of the time, with cubism etc., to combine several perspectives in the same piece. But then again, it reminds me of how people use a sit down machine like a Sweet Sixteen, and I wonder if they really did it that way? Anyway, enjoy your class!

Ann said...

I agree he must have made this choice deliberately. Hadn't thought of cubism as a reason, but it does make a smaller, clean shape.
I'm both excited and nervous about this class.

audrey said...

Ooh, I so envy you the workshop with Maria Shell! What a fabulous experience that will be. Sorry about your computer, but hopefully the new one will be more reliable.:)

Janie said...

Hi Ann, thanks for sharing. I looked at the woman sewing and she doesn't appear to be sewing sideways to me. She has just finished a shoulder seam attaching the sleeve. It makes sense to me, anyway. Improve is after all how you look at it!

Mary Marcotte said...

I agree with you Ann, the machine is sideways and there's the motor? Behind her is a huge motor with a belt that seems to be an industrial machine, typical of the modernism movement of the 1930's since much of that work was a backlash of the industrial revolution. I love the texture in his fabrics. I found the museum photo []. I am thrilled that you mentioned it. I fell down a rabbit hole of art (happy place!) and hung out there for a while. I am so jealous and would love to see the exhibit and the permanent collection of OMCA! If I'd had time I'd be on top of the number 12 in his painting but I likely wouldn't have found my way back for hours.

Stephie said...

Yes, it's especially funny because as you say she *must* be stitching sideways - a good trick if you can do it! (You can see the foot is still the right way round can't you, bizarre!) I wonder how many people don't spot it and think that's how we all sew?!

Ann said...

She gave a wonderful workshop. Everyone started fabulous projects. We are all excited to finish them up. A new computer is on the way but will take a while. Can't come soon enough.

Ann said...

Hi, Janie. I now think he didn't make a mistake but used artistic license. As you say, improv is how you look at it. It's certainly a delightful picture.

Ann said...

Hi, Mary. I wondered about the motor, too. The Museum of California is a gem with an excellent curatorial staff. We enjoyed the way they laid out the exhibits. Great storytelling in each section. I hope you can visit in person some time.