Art Quilt: What Next / What Nest

I found a Fiber Arts magazine from 2006 recently and began looking through it, wondering if something from so long ago would be an inspiration to me. Fiber Arts stopped publishing at some point (looks like 2011, from my file notes), just after they accepted an article and images from me on my felt work and felted books; I was disappointed for many reasons, and needless to say, the article didn't happen that time.

Anyway, as I looked through the back issue, I was entranced by some painted and pieced quilts by Annie Helmericks-Louder, who is still making work today (although the works I favored are not on her website). The pieces in the magazine were somewhat abstracted from paintings and drawings she had made, and I responded to the movement, the shapes, and the colors. I liked the fragmented look, and was eager to try piecing beyond the strips and squares that I enjoy. It led to this:

What Next / What Nest
32"w x 25"h (81.3 cm x 63.5 cm)
Hand-dyed cotton, tea-dyed velvet; hand-stenciled cotton; commercially printed cotton; Japanese cotton; hand and free-motion quilted

Of course, the quilt took on its own life once I began. I started with a paper pattern to get the shapes right. Raven was the centerpiece.

On my mind was bird migration (isn't it always?) and space junk. We can't just litter on earth we have to have an orbit of litter around us, bits of satellites and rockets: metal, teflon, black, and white pieces. The words "what next?" came to me, but as I picked out scraps of cloth I already had, I noticed the quilt was going to get quite "nest-y."

So there are my stenciled pieces and the strip of black and gold cloth I had from last week (at the end of this post), a layered and stenciled cloth I had used for cloth masks in 2020, cotton velvet I had tea-dyed, scraps of pumpkin-colored cotton I hand dyed, some commercially printed black and white cotton I have been using to patch my bed quilt, other Japanese fabrics, and remnants of a leaf print I had used for a Japanese-style jacket in the 1990s.

I started by hand quilting the lines, then added the free-motion quilting. Kandinsky's art came to mind, and I meant to go look him up again, but the quilt raced along on its own before I could get there.

Here's the back.

What next? More of this kind of vortex, I think. One never knows.