Monday, 11 February 2008

Not Plagiarism

While there are plenty of quilt artists who are using acrylic paints on their quilts, I've been having an exciting time over the last couple of years developing my own style of painting over heavily stitched pieces, often with underlying 'canvas' of wildly patterned African fabrics. I thought my combination of painting and quilting was unique but of course it isn't. Through the world of blogging , I've recently come across the work of Deidre Adams, just the photos make my heart flutter, I'd love to see them in the flesh. I think its partly that they are the kind of pieces I'm aiming for myself but there's the rub - as a well known artist in the US, would the 'quilt police' think I'm copying her ideas and methods? I'm not! My explorations arose out of a mixed media painting course I did with Katherine Holmes that I first applied to fabric with fear and trepidation in January 2006 in my Journal Quilts January 2006 Journal Quilt

Having experimented on a small scale, I wanted to have a go at a bigger piece, searched through my UFO/reject pile and selected a quilt top that I'd constructed in the 90's after a trip to Austalia. This was inspired by the changing light and colours over Castle Rock (Northern Territory) as the sun set.




Horrible isn't it? The fabrics I'd chosen were far too busy and patterned to work - I even lent it to Alison Schwabe as a talking point for a workshop on reject quilts (and got some interesting suggestions as feedback). I quilted it in parallel lines to emphasise the rock formations and then applied acrylics with gusto. I had such a fun time and as it was a bad quilt to start with , nothing to lose.










I leant a lot from the process eg simpler is better, preferring palette knife to brush, not to apply too much paint at once - the bottom of the quilt was so overdone in thick brown I chopped it off ! This had the bonus of improving the composition. It's not a great quilt (tho' definately a great improvement) but the process was an important milestone. It's not plagiarism, just a good idea arising independantly for those with the courage to experiment. And now I'm aware of Diedre's work I will be more careful to make my own distinctive, for instance in use of handstitching.

6 comments:

Angelcat said...

What a stunning change, this technique looks very interesting.

Julie said...

Hi Mags! Thank you for looking in at my blog. I'm pleased you did because I hadn't come across your site before and I had been missing out! Your work looks fascinating and I will definitely be back for a proper look. Thank you too for the link to Deirdre Adams. I have done some painting on fabric but I have not mastered FME yet. I do enjoy hand stitching tho. Thanks for the good wishes for the dentistry. I'm a bit of a coward in that department! :))

fiona d said...

that's an amazing and beautiful transformation. I think it's fascinating how the same techniques spring up in several places at once, I think it happens with ideas too.

Linda said...

I agree - NOT Plagiarism. I had not come across Deidre Adams work before and enjoyed the link. Although you both overpaint (as does Annette Morgan) you both have a very different voice and unfortunately, as we know, there is nothing new - just different ways of speaking. Keep exploring - you and this technique seem to suit each other!

The Wittering Rainbow said...

I learnt a while ago that there's nothing new! You think you have a genius idea only to find someone else has been doing it for years. I've also learned that it doesn't matter. You bring your own personality to a piece - if you take a class of people and give them a picture to copy, even give them the same fabrics and paints, they will all come up with something different and that's what's important. It's something no one bothers about with the painted picture, where everyone uses paint on canvas and makes marks (usually!); no one bats an eyelid because it's the end result that matters not the means to the end. btw, I absolutely love the finished piece. And, I believe I've probably just said the same thing as Linda!!

margaret said...

That "plagiarism" issue is a tricky one. Why shouldn't several people have the "same" idea independently? Anyway, is it the same idea if it arises via adifferent route? The quilt police and other onlookers like nothing better but to lump "the same things" together and give them the name of the person who "got there" first, as it were, and then call all the others derivative. Hmph!