Man’s castle now may include quilt studio
Move over man cave, it’s time to make room for quilt studios as more and more men tackle the art of quilting.
They’ve added design walls and high-tech sewing machines to their macho personal space, staking their claim on creative cloth.
Since 1992, the masculine side of quiltmaking has been showcased regularly at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, with the inaugural exhibit titled “Man Made.” Museum visitors were surprised at the time. Men made these?
Now, the exhibit is one of the museum’s most anticipated events. The 12th biennial show, “MANifestations,” opened Jan. 31 and runs through April 29 at the museum, 1213 Washington Ave. in downtown Golden. Thirty-five pieces are included by male quilters from across the nation.
Fittingly, this year’s exhibit was juried by Bill Gardner, editor-in-chief of Quilters Newsletter magazine. Gardner has 30 years of experience in the quilting, sewing, needle arts and crafting industries.
Some of the male exhibitors were asked why they quilt. Answers run the gamut: retirement hobby, money-making venture, relaxation, to create art, for competition, etc.
Some of the exhibitors are famous names in the quilting industry: Ricky Tims, David Taylor and Scott Murkin. Others such as Luke Haynes are newer stars. Kerby Smith prints his textiles digitally; hand-quilted whole cloth by Tim Latimer reverts to traditional techniques.
Here are examples of the “MANifestations” quilts and statements from the artists:
1. “Interactive Music Quilt” by CJ Baar of Aurora, 48 inches by 66 inches.
This innovative design combines two of Baar’s hobbies: quilting and microelectronics.
Each square has an LED and a fabric button, which can be used to play the quilt like a piano.
For display purposes, a series of LED patterns will be shown, and a song may be played occasionally.
Quilting lines were kept simple to avoid interference with conductive elements. Multiple internal layers separate the electronic pathways to prevent short-circuits.
Fabric buttons consist of several layers of conductive fabric and foam padding.
2. “She Who Blazes Trails” by Michael Marsh of Marshall, Mo., 89 inches by 70 inches. Hand appliquéd, embroidered, quilted and painted, machine-pieced and appliquéd.
Machined quilted by Lynn O’Neill. The quilt depicts a fall scene in the mountains as a clan of Cheyenne Indians migrate southward in the late 1700s. They move quietly through the forest and mountains, carrying only what they need.
They are wearing robes of hide, packing provisions and carrying weapons. A smaller figure follows, protecting an infant and wolf cub.
3. “Exploited,” by David P. Charity of Temecula, Calif., 30 inches by 54 inches. Machine quilted, embellished with paint and beads.
This piece deals with the exploitation of child labor, the various causes, the countries and products involved.
White represents the innocence of a child, while the black represents the desperations and even death of a child.
Charity chose red to represent the cause of forced labor because of the strength and violence it can represent.
4. “The American Context #14 — Madam X” by Luke Haynes of Los Angeles, 90 inches by 90 inches.
Discarded articles of clothing are deconstructed and joined to make usable yardage.
His objective as an artist is to blur the distinction between function and art, and alter the way objects are perceived.
Haynes’ education includes studying architecture at Cooper Union, and he considers his fabric art to be an architectural method of creating images.
Once again, this exhibit promises quilt subjects as wide-ranging as their makers’ interests.
So ladies, word to the wise: If the man in your house wants to change out his humongous flat-screen TV for a design wall, I wouldn’t stand in his way.