Of the 1512 entries in ArtPrize 2012, twelve are quilts.
While most of us are familiar with the type of quilt our grandmothers might have sewn--the beautiful yet functional type that keeps us warm on a cold winter night--creating quilts as art is a newer phenomenon.
Colleen Kole, the artist behind ArtPrize 2012's Rooflines 6, began as a traditional quilter, but about 5 years ago she changed courses. Kole began creating her own quilt designs based on art theory, color, value, and shape and is now an award-winning fiber artist who draws inspiration from textiles and architecture.
Rooflines 6, ArtPrize entry by Colleen Kole
When she began designing quilts, Kole signed up for a number of workshops.
"The craftsmanship is very important to me and there were a lot of techniques I needed to learn," says Kole. In addition to workshops, Kole says, there are YouTube videos, blogs, and online classes rife with information for beginners. Although she says it was a steep learning curve, she enjoyed that part of the process. "The hard part," she says, "was narrowing down what type of technique I wanted to include in my art."
For other quilters considering the move to fiber art, Kole offers this advice: Do it! "If you don't try, you'll never know," she says. "You'll always wonder."
In addition, Kole offers these 3 suggestions:
- Set a goal. Whether it's working on a 12-inch or 6-foot piece, Kole believes that artists learn through repetition and by producing a final product. "Producing is what improves your craftsmanship," she says, "and allows you to make the kind of art you want to create."
- Commit. Committing to the practice of quilting daily was key for Kole. She set up a studio in her house and established studio hours, which are sacrosanct. "I'm managing a family, as well as things I'm involved with at church and school," she says. "Carving out time to quilt is protecting the time that's mine."
- Find your resources. Kole says quilters put off their dreams, in part, because of what they don't know. Rather that waiting for the next workshop, Kole suggests quilters make a list of what they want to learn and find people who can help them. For example, she says, I wasn't very good at putting the binding on my piece. So I found someone who was and asked for help."
To see Kole's Rooflines 6 in person during ArtPrize, head to Cathedral Square.
Then, check out these other ArtPrize quilts, some of which aren't made from fabric, but photographs, cut paper, or carved wood.
- Instructions for Living by Elizabeth Brandt. Where: also at Cathedral Square.
- Gloriosa Daisy Quilt by Debbie Huyett. Where: at Rumors Night Club.
- The Ripple Effect dye4LIFE Art Quilt by Dianna Williams. Where: Waters Building.
- Crazy Quilt by Neil Rajala. Where: Schuler Bookstore downtown.
- Slurped by Jill Rumoshosky. Where: DeVos Place Convention Center.
- Circle 4 12 by Ellen Stuckey. Where: DeVos Place Convention Center.
- Lizzie B by Tracy Arnold-Chapman. Where: Rocky's Bar & Grill.
- Hawaiian Chicken by Kat Campau. Where: The Lyon Den.
- Summer Solstice from Sunburst Series by Lucia Eames. Where: Kendall College of Art and Design.
- Habeas Corpus The Great Writ by Kathy Weaver. Where: Fountain Street Church.
- The Lake by Fraser Smith. Where: Women's City Club.