I find quilts inspiring. I find the art form itself inspiring, as well as find quilters themselves inspiring. I find inspiration in the colors, creativity, versatility, and variation found in quilts and quilting.
The art form is inspiring because, among other things, it is so versatile. If you type “quilt” into a search engine you will get many many (many) hits, and they will be quite different one from the other. Quilts are made for function, form, art, therapy, memorials, and many other reasons. Quits are made from a HUGE variety of materials. Art quilts often may not be used as blankets, while I find all quilts to be art. There are numerous techniques, and styles to quilting, and they vary by region, time in history, and available materials.
And this is also where my admiration of quilters comes in. Quilters use what they have, from feed sacks to silk, from buttons to branches. Quilters use scraps of fabric as well as specially-bought material. They use worn out clothes, and clothes of the departed (in memory quilts especially). They use ribbons and lace and whatever else they may find and they use it in endlessly creative combinations.They use these materials, and create combinations, inspired by what they see around them, what they see in their mind's eye, and the results are both varied and wonderful.
As with anything, quilting goes through fads and a quick history lesson will show patterns that were popular at one region or time, falling out of usage in others. A textile expert can look at a quilt and tell you when it was made just by the color combinations (and dye techniques) seen in the fabric. During times of financial hardships, certain materials are used more; during times of transition or social crisis (wars, depressions, etc) quilts reflect the mood and mindset of the quilters and their communities. Quilts are used as visual histories of families and peoples.
I’m not an expert, in textile or quilting history (though I have several research projects already mapped out, in my head), so my inspiration comes in random waves. People send me links (especially my mother-thanks Imma!), or magazines, or books. I’ve been to quilt shows and craft fairs, museum exhibits and garage sales. And every once in a while, something will grab me, REALLY grab me.
The latest quilter whose work has grabbed me is this one: Jimmy McBride.
Now it’s rare to find a male quilter; this is by and large a female dominated art/hobby/craft/what-have-you. So when a male quilter comes to my attention, I sit up. And in this case, the quilts are stunning. I got a link to this man’s work from my husband (thanks AJ!): http://www.geeksaresexy.net/2011/11/10/incredible-quilts-from-the-intergalactic-transport-blackmarket-gallery/
And when I went there I found space-themed quilts of such detail and intensity, I was floored. The quilter goes by “intergalactic transport” and has a website, blog, and etsy shop which are amazing to peruse (and I did). In his quilts, he incorporates real images from space with images of his own. He does piecing, appliqué, embroidery and quilting. The quilts are detailed, very detailed. Here’s one image:
The Pillars of Creation. (I copied the image from his Etsy shop: Stellar Quilts)
You can see the rest of his stuff, and read about his creative process (with lots of photos!) at: http://intergalactictransport.blogspot.com/