The Aesthetic Appeal Of Fiber Art Quilts

By Sally Delacruz

A quilt has been an popular item for many years as a bed covering and the art of making these items was prevalent in the 1960s and 1970s. Fiber art quilts are different from the traditional quilt. They are not intended to be useful but to have aesthetic value. Instead of lying at the foot of a bed, they are made to be hung on walls and admired.

Others chose to give free reign to their creativity, breaking most traditional quilting rules and developing a much, more free flowing means of expression. They no longer saw a quilt as a utilitarian object but more like a new type of canvas. They experimented continuously with techniques and materials to create this new art form.

Each artist uses different techniques, fabrics and threads to bring their project to life. The use of fiber to do so offers them a flexible medium and painting, dyeing, stamping and tearing are all possible. A variety of colors and textures are used to bring depth and excitement to pieces. Each piece is different, created painstakingly by the artist and taking many hours of work.

Some of the techniques used are embroidery, knitting, collage and weaving. A traditional quilt was created by using two layers of fabric stitched together with batting between them. The stitching was used to hold the layers together. With this new type of quilting, the stitching does far more than just hold layers together. It is used extensively to add texture and forms an integral part of the design.

Many of these artists receive their inspiration from nature. Some autumn leaves, a sunset, a walk on the beach and many other simple aspects of nature can be interpreted in such a piece. The variety of styles is vast, from representational to abstract and impressionistic. A simple idea or a concept can be a catalyst for a design.

A quilt as an artwork can be finished using various different techniques. Some are finished with binding and some with or without borders. Installing such a piece on a wall is very important as it has to be done in such a way as to cause no damage to the artwork. Too much pressure on the fabric, uneven hanging or slippage has to be avoided.

Prices of these items can be fairly high as many hours of work and lots of materials go into each piece. The number of hours taken to design and execute the piece plays a large part in the price. The materials used is another factor taken into account as well as whether the piece is framed. A price per square foot is usually arrived at after all factors have been considered.

These artists often say that until they became involved in this type of quilting, they had not found their true form of expression. Their passion is seen in their work, giving each piece its aesthetically pleasing quality. The deep rich colors, satisfying forms and variations in texture give this form of expression a unique appeal.

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