If you are in the Seattle area you might be familiar with the mosaic work of Betz Bernhard at Seatac Airport, or her gila monster at the zoo. Or maybe you have seen Betz’s button necklaces, prints or collages. Those are all wonderful, but today I am writing about her newest adventures, made with fabric.
Betz is an exuberant and generous person. Her personality is evident in these new textiles.
I like that she has left the edges rough and included bits of selvage.
The pieces are mostly silk. She balances the found patterns with straight shots of color and cut shapes.
The irregularities make the pieces lively.
The colors make them joyful.
Some of the pieces are completely abstract but many have references to objects, such as this big red pot and flower.
a big red hand –
a tea cup –
a red bowl with a blue plant .
The size of the quilts range from as small as 12″ square up to three or four feet.
I asked Betz if she wanted to write a few words about her work. She sent this image that has a few words embroidered on it.
Betz stitches that she wants a life without fear (and with friends, family and chocolate). These collage/quilts feel free and adventurous to me so maybe creation is an antidote to fear. They feel almost musical – I hope that you enjoy seeing them and listening to their syncopated rhythms.
In December I went on a field trip to the Michener Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. There I saw Blanket Statements: a show of quilts designed by Kaffe Fassett using his fabrics, as well as historical quilts from the Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles.
Kaffe Fassett’s colors are strong and exuberant; they sing.
Kaffe Fassett: Autumn Crosses
The colors in the older quilts are more muted. The old fabrics carry memories. Even though they aren’t my memories I can feel their pull and power.
Etlderton Log Cabin from the 1890’s.
Small Squares from the 1930’s.
1890 Chevron Stripes
You can hear them especially well up close.
1874-1900 hearts and crosses
detail from Red Manor House Coverlet, 1850’s
I don’t know who Mrs. Fitzherbert is, but I like her quilt and her name. This quilt whistles.
1800 -1850’s Mrs. Fitzherbert top
In another room at the Michener were quilts made of wood by Laura Petrovich-Cheney. They clatter and chatter.
These shows left me inspired to find my own melodies. If you want to hum, sing, whistle or chatter with some quilts you can see the Blanket Statements show until February 21st, and the wood quilts until May 15th.
p.s. If you take a trip to Doylestown, don’t miss the Mercer Museum, the Moravian Tile Works and Fonthill. I just wrote about the Moravian Tile Works at Books Around the Table.