April 4 – May 10, 2008
Davenport and Ethel Sergeant Clark Smith Galleries
These are not your grandmother’s quilts.
The 68 “art quilts” that are being exhibited at the Wayne
Art Center in April break all of the rules of bed-covering, traditional quilting. They tell tales, they evoke emotion and you dare not use them as blankets.
Celebrating its eighth show, ArtQuilt Elements (formerly
named ArtQuilts at the Sedgwick) is a committee of volunteer
fabric artists from the greater Philadelphia area who are working to promote the contemporary quilt as an art form.
The biennial juried exhibition found its largest-ever showing space this year in the Wayne Art Center, which will also play host next week to the first-ever joint conference of the Surface Design Association and Studio Art Quilt Associates.
“It’s really an honor to have the opportunity to host this exhibition,” said Nancy Campbell, director of the Wayne Art Center. Apart from the exhibit itself, the conference (which includes a symposium, workshops and tours) will bring 200 artists from all over the country to Wayne, she said.
It’s the first-ever conference held at the art center.
“This is a really important part of our mission — to be a resource for the community and to educate them about fine arts,” she said.
Jurors in October selected the 68 art quilts from a pool of 703 submitted works from artists in 39 states and six countries for the ArtQuilt Elements show.
The most local artist is Lonni Rossi, a fabric designer
who owns a store in Ardmore. Her work “Moon Goddess”
is inspired by a magical myth and was created with complex
techniques. Although Rossi is a commercial fabric designer, she
only uses her own unique hand-painted fabric in her art quilts.
Made in a number of sections, “Moon Goddess” was started with hand-painting on black fabric, and Rossi then created layer upon layer using techniques like fusion, threadpainting
“I really think of myself more of a painter working on a canvas... it just happens to be that my medium is fabric and thread,” Rossi said.
A number of processes and techniques are used by artisans to make these art quilts.
“That’s why it’s called art,” said Merion resident Cindy Friedman, artisan and ArtQuilt Elements member.
She was one of the numerous women tirelessly hanging the quilts for exhibition earlier this week.
Many of the works will be for sale at ArtQuilt Elements, which runs through May 10 in both the Ethel Sergeant Clark Smith and the Davenport galleries. The opening reception, open to the public, is April 4 from 6 to 9 p.m.
Image: Lonni Rossi, Moon Goddess