seen above: chicago-based artist/quilter sarah nishiura's quilts, which are currently featured in a show at the hyde park art center called abstracting the seam.
i went to the show this past weekend with pete and the poppy in tow, and was really impressed. the show features the work of other artists, in various mediums, more information about the show and it's artists can be found here. the show is on until september 15th, so if you're in chicago or passing through and like quilts (and other stripes of contemporary art) i recommend dropping by for a look.
i've only recently discovered sarah's work, in the past year, after hearing her speak at one of the chicago modern quilt guild's monthly meetings. she is/was (originally) a painter.
she uses primarily secondhand textiles (like men's shirts) to make her quilts; the variation of colors and texture these factors give her finished pieces a tremendous amount of hand and visual depth. most of the fabric used within is solid or monochromatic, but if you look closely you'll see that she periodically and thoughtfully slices in little slivers of patterned fabric. i wanna say her quilts are more about the solids than the pattern fabric, but that's not really true. the juxtaposition and proportion of the solids and the patterned bits or sections is so perfectly balanced. when i heard her speak at the CMQG meeting she mentioned that she exclusively hand quilts them; i think the labor intensive process adds a charm to the quilts, and adds a vintage, handcrafted look that i feel adds to their overall aesthetic and perhaps monetary value.
other related thoughts (aka, why sarah's work resonates with me):
-sometimes i think i prefer hand quilting to machine quilting though both have their pros (and cons). i'm still trying to articulate why i feel this way. which do you prefer? does anyone else feel like sometimes machine quilting is too "machined"? hand quilting often times has more of a subtileness, maybe? in general i guess i like things simple or minimal too, when it comes to quilting (by hand or by machine).
-i really like the idea of not using so much "designer" fabric with really idiosyncratic designs...in opposition to the whole movement of people making quilts with said fabrics. the results, to my eye, become more about the designer of said fabric than the quilter making them. i know, that's what some people like, and that's great. quilt/make whatever the hell you want. but i like a mix of fabrics: some new stuff that's pleasing, mixed with anonymous and found/repurposed fabrics, and solids of whatever manufacturer. the jumble of it all pleases me and feels more "me". if that makes any sort of sense.