Sunday, July 21, 2019

Need inspiration? Go to a museum

Need inspiration? There are abundant resources to crack a creative block and take your imagination and focus to a new place. Recently, I had an infusion of inspiration that I found in Kentucky museums. 
Danny Amazonas exhibit at National Quilt Museum
Freehand Patchwork exhibit at the National Quilt Museum, Paducah, KY.

The National Quilt Museum has a collection of wonderful and stimulating exhibits. Currently on display is the amazing "freehand patchwork" work of Danny Amazonas. Stand back to get the full impact of these colorful fabric collages.
Danny Amazonas, National Quilt Museum, raw edge applique
Detail of "Goldfish" by Danny Amazonas.

From the archives of historical textiles is a beautiful exhibit of carved block resist shibori textiles. The "Love Stories" Jiaxie exhibit features blue and white cotton bridal coverlets with images that depict Chinese dramas about love, marriage and wishes for a good life.
Love Stories exhibit of Chinese wood block resist dyed textiles.
Jiaxie "Love Stories" exhibit at the National Quilt Museum.
I found the wooden dyeing boards interesting artifacts of the traditional clamp resist dye [shibori] technique. Often, when the image began to deteriorate and the boards began to wear out, they were burned as firewood. So these 19th century dye boards are quite rare to have survived.
Wooden dye boards used for the Jiaxie dye technique.

A retrospective of the quilts of Victoria Findlay-Wolfe is also on display a the Quilt Museum. These quilts, like the ones by Danny Amazonas, are a contemporary counterpoint to the blue-and-white Jiaxie textiles.
Quilt retrospective of Victoria Findlay-Wolfe and pieces from books she has written.
It was fun to see a few of Victoria's first quilts—with sizeable hand quilting stitches, cotton/poly blend fabrics, and one attempt at painting on fabric—among her more current work and quilts made for the projects and techniques in her books.
Quilts by Victoria Findlay-Wolfe at the National Quilt Museum, Paducah, KY.

Traveling east from Paducah is the Lincoln Museum, located in Hodgenville, KY. Life size wax figures in dioramas depict the life of Abraham Lincoln, the country's 16th President, form early cabin life though the civil war and the fateful night at Ford's Theater.
The Lincoln Museum, Hodgenville, KY.

Outside the museum in the center of the historic town square are two bronze statues of Lincoln. One depicting him as a boy, with his voracious appetite for reading and books, and the other as an adult, a statesman and presidential figure. The museum also includes civil war artifacts and a few quilts commemorating the President and the times.
Abraham Lincoln bronze statues located in the town square in historic Hodgenville, KY,
about 3 miles north of Lincoln's birthplace at Sinking Spring.

Contemporary quilts, historic textiles, ancient dye techniques beside masterful machine quilting, and a look back into US history can clear the cobwebs from the brain and be an impetus for a new course. From the placard beside one of Victoria Findlay-Wolfe's 2018 quilts: "... let the path unfold before [you]... love sitting in that place of discovery... wonder what will be next... and have fun finding out."

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