Patchwork colored hills of orange, green and blue, a 3-D tree popping off the hills, its roots begging you to reach out and touch them flowing off the canvas and a confetti field of flowers carefully planted below. If this sounds like a work of art you would find in a Valley art museum, you’d be wrong. It is the innovative design of today’s quilting.
Members of the local group the Threadplayers no longer follow the rules or patterns of traditional quilting with its crisp, clean lines; these artists let their imaginations and sewing machines do as they please.
They are the folk artists of quilting. Stitching outside the lines, members continually push the boundary of design.
Catch a glimpse at these fabric works of art at the “Archi-texture” Fiber Art Exhibit May 1 and 2 at Gila Community College.
On display will be dozens of wall hangings and member pieces that will leave you marveling at the endless possibilities of simple fabric and thread.
Alyce Leach, group director, explained the Threadplayers started in 2002 with a group of women who wanted an outlet for creating unique quilts based on their own designs that included using fibers in a variety of creative ways.
“The fun comes out when we experiment with our own creations,” she said, adding a number of members still craft traditional quilts.
Creating unique pieces of fiber art involves using a combination of embellishing, weaving, photo transferring, felting, beading, fabric dying and painting and embroidery.
For one of Arleen Logan’s wall hangings, an underwater scene is created using a variety of techniques. The background is made using traditional blocks of blue squares sewn together for the water. Overlaying the water is a magical world of sea life and plants. A large shell puffs off from one corner, made using photo transfer paper and batting. There is even coral, cleverly made from a deconstructed loofah.
Besides showcasing their own creations at this year’s show, the 18 members of the Threadplayers were given the extra task of creating a group piece.
Each member fashioned a self portrait using whatever tools and materials they wanted. Member Louise Bossert decided to paint a self portrait onto a piece of fabric and cut it out as a life size replica. Other members quilted a face and then stitched clothing for the body. Everyone’s completed piece was attached to a long banner of black fabric, which will hang at the show.
Based on the title of this year’s show, Archi-texture, some members made architectural pieces based on buildings, doorways, etc. For example, a photo of a metal shed on Main Street was used to replicate the picture in fabric.
All of the pieces at this year’s show put a twist on traditional sewing.
“Each member is able to show off their creations here at the Fiber Arts Show and viewers will come away with new ideas as well as enjoy seeing ours,” Leach said.
The art exhibit will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 1 and 2 in room 301 at GCC, 201 N. Mud Springs Road.
Threadplayer artists on display include Nancy Bollard, Diane Bowman, Sandra Gill-Friend, Terry Hale, Mary Jardine, Joy Lawson, Trudy Ooms, Sandy Phillips, Roberta Schaffer, Rose Anne Self, Jenny Strzok, Dorothy Tatsch, Georgia Thorne, Pamela Trapeur, Bossert, Leach and Logan.
Following the Fiber Art Show at GCC is the second annual Wearable Art and Quilt Show. GCC students Marque Jacobs, Leslie Peacock and Dorothy Tatsch will display not only fabulous quilts, but also quilted clothing items such as jackets.
Catch a glimpse of these phenomenal items Wednesday, May 5 at 1 p.m. in room 301 at the GCC campus.