Thursday, 11 February 2010

When does a quilt or ATC become mixed media?

This post is in answer to a comment on the Skinny Venice Page piece in an earlier post by Bonnie. Bonnie commented: "I just discovered you on an e-mail from the Alphastamps yahoo group, and went to your website to view your gallery. What lovely work! I especially enjoyed your ATCs. I can't tell from the pictures.....are they all fabric and embellishments, or is there some mixed media with paper? I love your style!

Well, first of all, of course many thanks, Bonnie, for your wonderful comment.

And also for making me think as I've spend most of today contemplating just exactly when something becomes mixed-media, and how slowly but surely I'm moving in the mixed media direction. I started teaching embroidery and quilting about 16 years ago now and in my first brochure I called myself an Embroiderer, the next one referred to me as Embroiderer and Quilter and then around 2003 I noticed when I had updated my latest leaflet that I had put Quilter and Embroiderer, demonstrating how quilting had become more important to me.
My latest brochure (now outdated) produced in around 2007 states that I'm a Quilter, Embroiderer and Mixed Media Artist. But recently when I had to give my profession (form at dentist!) I really surprised myself by simply filling in Artist.

As far as my ATCs are concerned they started off very fabric like with fabric backgrounds and a lot of beading but mounted on a paper ATC sized backing. Recently there is much more fabric-paper collaged backgrounds, a LOT more beading and adding of additional embellishments such as charms, sequins, self-adhesive goodies and rub-offs. In fact, whatever takes my fancy when I'm working on one. But one thing remains, there is always an element of stitching, either by hand or machine or both.

In fact as soon as you add one bead to a quilt you could be justified in calling it mixed media, but when you are adding literally thousands of beads mixed media becomes the accepted term. And nowadays there are all the other embellishments that I add. I've begun to add paper to the mix on my quilts too, although until now only on small ones but paper is already very much part of my ATCs both on the front and the back so how knows what might happen on the quilts sometime in the future. I just go with the flow. An awful expression but it does say exactly what I mean in this case!

When all is said and done, I have an immense affinity with fabric and stitching. I can't really imagine life without those elements in my art and will no doubt leave this life with a needle in my hand and working on my latest quilt, perhaps with a lot of other media on top, but basically 3 layers stitched together as a base for the embellishments.

To illustrate all this and specially for your delectation, Bonnie, I've added a very mixed media ATC slide show! Enjoy!


Tristan Robin Blakeman said...


Maggi said...

What a great answer! Loved learning a little more about you as an artist!


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