Quilting is considered a craft, but these days it is also most definitely one of the arts. “Out of the Blue,” a show of quilts at the Bay Model in Sausalito, showcases what is best about contemporary quilting. The quilts by the Muir Beach Quilters and Friends have similar artistic qualities to painting: they are delightful, thought- provoking, and emotionally and visually satisfying.
My Favorite Quilts
“Summer Squares” by Pam Mccosher is a traditional diamond pattern quilt. But it is also a sophisticated collage of uniquely colored squares. Painting is all about color relationships and the emotional impact of colors and this quilt is too. It surprises the eye with unexpected color combinations layered into each diamond. The result is pure happiness and that light joyful feeling of “school’s out” that I used to feel when summer vacation began.
“Deep Blue” by Judy Brooks is a deceptively simple pattern of batik fabrics in shades of blue and green. It reads as hills under a night sky sparkling with stars. It gave me a profoundly peaceful feeling. What a wonderful quilt to sleep and dream under. The quilt holds the essence of restful sleep. It could also stand alone as a masterful abstract painting, perhaps my favorite of the show.
Quilts are Abstract and Philosophical
“Cosmic Rocks” by Joanne Salz is a quilt, but it is also an out-there piece of conceptual art. A group of polygons in shades of light blue form a spinning circle against a simple indigo blue background. Images in the fabric world of the rocks seem to flicker and glimmer. They hint at the passage of time and life like a slightly out-of-focus slide show or a lifetime of memories just out of reach. This quilt is a metaphor for our smallness on one planet in an infinitely large cosmos. It makes me humble and it makes me wonder about the meaning of life on earth. I guess you could call it a philosophical quilt.
“Small Studies,” was a challenge where the quilters choose two fabrics from a grab bag and then used some of their own materials as well. Many of the beautiful small squares could stand alone as abstract paintings. My favorite, which I’m guessing is by Judy Brooks, would work beautifully as an abstract painting or quilt enlarged to the scale of “Deep Blue.” The colors and design have a strength way beyond their size.
Quilts are Whimsical and Nostalgic
“Rabbitude” by Leslie Riehl has the whimsy of a cartoon sketch with multiple rabbits outlined in a fuzzy black yarn against a colorful polka-dot motif. Leslie Riehl’s “We Will Always Have Paris” exploits nostalgic fabric patterns stamped with French words for a charming collage effect.
Lastly, Judy Brook’s “Hawaiian Postcards” uses small rectangles of Hawaiian shirt fabric against a white background to evoke a total feel of tropical island paradise.
Quilts are Emotional
This show renewed my appreciation for quilting and the ability of these talented quilters to convey the whole artistic spectrum of emotion with their craft. The softness of the fabric hanging on the walls also contributes to the overall appeal. This is a wonderful collection of locally made quilts in blue and white colors.
Check Out the Exhibit
If you are in the neighborhood, stop by and take some time to enjoy the fine quilts on display in the show “Out of the Blue: Muir Beach Quilters and Friends.” The quilts are on exhibit at Bay Model in Sausalito from November 15 through January 7, 2016.