Thursday, August 26, 2010

Nancy Crow

Construction #83
Undoubtedly, Nancy is among the most widely known of all art quilters, and she is considered the vanguard of modern art quilting.  Her influence is far reaching, and she has been pivotal in advocating for a definition of the art quilt.  Her work is creative, prolific, and constantly evolving.

Structures #90
The Ohio artist, credited with being one of the early revolutionaries of the art quilt movement, became disillusioned with the restraints of the form's traditional heritage.  Her early work were very much grounded in traditional quilt making techniques, using templates which then fit together.  Nancy made big works at the beginning of her career, and she worked that way until the mid-to-late 80s.  Feeling that she couldn't really create with templates, Nancy realized that she had to go a different route to truly make art with fabric that pleased her.
Linear Studies #7

Anna Williams, an African-American quilter from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, played a very influential role in helping Nancy free herself creatively.  Anna's spontaneous approach to design, achieved without using rulers or templates, showed Nancy the power of letting go.  Some of her quilts are reminiscent of work from the heralded African-American quilting community of Gee's Bend in Alabama.  Inspiration for Nancy comes from everywhere as she is influenced by diverse sources: her travels, nature, social issues, politics...

Structures #5
For Nancy, creating a quilt is an entire process that beings with the dying of all her fabrics to achieve the intense colour that she is looking for.  She cuts and machine pieces that fabric and hires someone to hand quilt the patters that she's marked on the quilt.  Nancy includes the name of the quilter along with her own on the back of each quilt.  Nancy takes a holistic approach to creating a quilt.  That is to say that when she works on a quilt, all other thoughts are put aside and her energy is channeled toward her creation.  She sees shapes in her head and decides how to cut them out of her hand-dyed fabrics.  Her time in her studio creating is also a time of self-discovery for Nancy.  She enjoys pushing herself to think and come up with more complex ideas because she knows those ideas are out there.  Her focus is second to none.

Construction #65
Nancy has been given solo exhibitions at such prestigious venues as the Smithsonian's Renwich Gallery in Washington, D.C., The Snyderman Gallery in Philadelphia, and most recently, at the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center in Auburn, New York, just to name a few.  Additionally, she has published numerous well-received books and won several awards.  Nancy has taught extensively and internationally and her workshops range in skill from beginner/intermediate to advanced and master composition.

Chinese Souls #3
Nancy says of herself "I identify who I am with my art work... in other words, I love the work, the experience of making each quilt.  It's my life, my life's work!  I feel lost not doing art, unsatisfied, anxious, bored.  Everything else in comparison seems not terribly important.  The purpose of my quilts is to make something beautiful for me but at the same time they are a means of expression representing my deepest feelings and my life experiences.  In addition, my quilts are all about how I see color and color relationships; how I see shapes; and how I see line and linear movements.  They are also about complexity, sadness, and hope."


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