Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Advice needed and this time I mean it

Imagine a couple you know just had this place built.  Architect designed of course.  And then imagine they asked you to make the statement piece to hang on the one floor to ceiling wall - I mean floor to two-storey ceiling.  And imagine they specified "modern" and "colourful" but then left it with you to come up with suggestions.  What would you do?  At this stage, just fire ideas at me, inspiration from the real art world.  Modern artists that translate well into fabric.  Just give me lots of ideas that will make me look like I know what I'm talking about.  So I don't look like a complete dunce.  Oh and this couple are no dunces themselves - they know about 1,000 times more about art than I do so I can't flannel, bluff or fool them.  I have to sound smart, informed and artsy.  And for anyone who knows me, that's more than a push.  


In future posts, I may have permission to tell you more about the house and its owners but I don't have that right now so just need your HELP.  NOW.  

61 comments:

  1. uh...wow! I would be like you right now too. Sorry. Maybe something abstract,simple,yet bold colors? What colors do they like? Were you able to see some of the art they already own?

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  2. how about colorful, transparent streamers with some stitching along each streamer and each streamer having bounded edges.

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  3. Rothko would be easy peasy for you :-) I'd like to see you do a mahusive Broadwayboogiewoogie by Mondrian! lol

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  4. I think Picasso would be too obvious for this couple..but its an interesting concept, I shall have a look through my ART book and get back to you!

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  5. How about City Lights from Cherri House City Nights quilt book?

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  6. Rothko came to mind.

    What about some of the Gee's Bend quilts for inspiration? There are some really awesome color block, graphic ones that could be a jumping off point.

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  7. Cherri House immediately sprang to mind as someone mentioned above. Have you seen her City Quilts book?

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  8. I think it depends on their interpretation of modern and colourful...maybe pull together some inspiration boards (with Pinterest, maybe?) and then do some sketches. I don't know much (anything!) about modern art but I do know that they wouldn't be enquiring about a commissioned piece if they didn't like what you already do. It may be worth making a list of questions you want to ask them about what they are looking for/their taste/what they want the piece to say about them, the house, etc. And with so much glass the landscaping (and general landscape of the immediate area) will also have an impact so it may be worth getting photos of the garden/landscaping and planting plans if it hasn't been finished. Do they want it to reflect the house (i.e. quite structural, mirroring the shapes in the house/windows, etc.) or do they want the piece to juxtapose the house and be (more) organic, flowing and 'soft'. I think a triptych would fit nicely (and be easier to manhandle), perhaps with it cascading (i.e. not all the same length or even width) to reflect the stairs. You are the artist and they are the patrons/customers so I'm assuming they want to hear your voice and your opinions so be yourself! Good luck, you'll be fabulous! I hope this comment makes sense and you haven't fallen asleep by now ;o)

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  9. Look up Piet Mondrian's work and maybe do something with nothing but solids! That is the artist I think of when you say modern and architecture in the same sentence!

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  10. I pinterest-ed (is this a word?) this recently for a quilt idea. Maybe it will help. http://pinterest.com/pin/53620346/

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  11. I saw a piece at our guild's last show that stuck with me. It was 4 mini quilts - as in a b&w picture on each with tasteful embellishing - attached together with big-link black plastic chain - all hanging from a piece of wood. It was very tasteful and simple (despite my description). I could see this translated into something much bigger, bolder and more colorful. I have a pic if you're interested.

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  12. A couple of museums here in the midwest have dale chihuly's glass sculptures at their glass walled entrances. They are gorgeous day and night and definitely inspiring. You can see his work at http://www.chihuly.com/

    Good luck! I know you will come with something amazing!

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  13. Matisse and Kandinsky come to mind. Worth checking out 15 minutes of play - they have interpreted various artist in fabric as a mini quilt challenge

    http://www.15minutesplay.com/2011/07/my-quilt-top-for-solids-segment-swap.html

    Good luck!

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  14. P.S. Bernadette Mayr (http://www.bernadette-mayr.de/quilts.htm) exhibited a quilt called Manhattan in FoQ (you can see it on Ali's blog http://veryberryhandmade.co.uk/2011/08/16/festival-of-quilts/#comments) which might be worth a look. Also Alicia Merrett exhibited a quilt called The Night Road (http://www.aliciamerrett.co.uk/) which is also on Ali's blog - the texture on something like that would be amazing in all the natural light!

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  15. P.P.S. I've just remembered these posts http://nancynearphiladelphia.blogspot.com/2011/08/and-through-open-window-she-hands.html http://nancynearphiladelphia.blogspot.com/2011/08/more-chihuly-and-some-odd-lads.html which might provide some inspiration...I promise I'm stopping now!!

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  16. Check Andy Gilmore's graphics. In general modern geometrical graphics. And prints/posters. There is also a good book for modern colour inspirations... dah, i forgot the title (I was trying to find it via google, but failed; it was huge, thick, heavy, only with photos of cities, buildings, rooms all in modern and colorful design).

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  17. Well obviously the couple knows you and likes the work that you do. You might want to ask if they are interested in a minimalist, abstract design, or if they want it to be organic and have forms in it (kind of like your new logo). Based on your logo, you could do a tall tree with branches emerging with leaves (and maybe birds?) on them. There are a couple of tree quilts that come to mind-- e-mail me if you're interested in seeing photos. Also, I would try to find out what other pieces of art they own. I agree with Nicky above-- check out 15 minutes play (on Victoria's Bumblebean's blog). For the border, you could make it be like you're looking through a big window and have square or rectangular window panes along the edge, around the big central window view. Just brainstorming here-- take it or leave it. But do keep us posted! And congrats on the commission!!

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  18. First artist that came to mind was Mondrian. You could do some really cool things with him as inspiration, not just sticking to his color scheme.

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  19. Check out the mid-century modern architects, like Corbusier. I think you'll find when people say "modern", this is kind of what they have in mind and it might work well with the architecture in their house.....

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  20. I see paint dripping down in various colors. Nothing overly fussy. This is tough! Does it have to be created with fabric or can you use other materials? Multi-colored thick wire cables could be interesting and have texture.

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  21. I agree with Helen regarding a fuller consultation, if it were me I would ask how they see the piece integrating with their home-is it a show piece focal point or is it to pull two rooms together creating a flow from one living space to the next, talk to them about their home as it's new to them, how do they see their time there? vibrant and busy or a peaceful haven to relax in. If they are looking for a direct interpretation of a piece of art I would ask who inspires them more than naming a specific piece then do what you normally would if you were using quits as inspiration and work with the pattern and value. I spent a little time working in a gallery so hope some of this helps and lastly well done you! they must love what you are making to ask you to do something this big for their home so just remember that when the stress kicks in :)

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  22. All the ideas I had have been mentioned - I have to say though I am green with envy at the house! Are they doing a Grand Designs or something?

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  24. That's quite an undertaking - I'm sure it will turn out wonderful. have a look here - http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rlz=1G1GGLQ_ENGB376&biw=1366&bih=539&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=tate+modern+paintings&oq=tate+modern&aq=5&aqi=g10&aql=&gs_sm=c&gs_upl=20411l38594l0l43955l11l11l0l4l4l0l170l836l4.3l7l0 for inspiration.

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  25. ps - you need to copy and paste - I couldn't make a direct link for you. It goes to lots of illustrations from Tate Modern.

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  26. Wow what a honour...but all so daunting.

    The first thing that springs to mind is white with angular bars of colour...but as to relating it to an artist I have no idea!! Sorry.

    Time to visit a modern art museum or the like for inspiration.

    Good luck

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  27. I think you should pin them down on the 'colourful' as that could all go horribly wrong if they have a different idea to you!

    I love that FoQ quilt everyone has photographed, the Manhatten window one - I would be tempted to do a mass of small white blocks (rather than huge pieces- that's cheating and no texture) with a coloured panel of small multi-coloured blocks.

    Don't try to copy any established artist, they asked you, for 'you', and you are pretty good at coming up with stuff!

    Make sure you find out how they are planning on furnishing this little terrace first; good luck x

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  28. Blimey Lynne, that sounds like a fabulous challenge to be given! Here's my few little thoughts, for what it's worth:

    My guess is they've asked you because they like your work so I'd suggest you propose something that's true to your style, not in the style of x or y. (I'm sure you'd do this anyway! Just didn't want you to feel that you have to reference lots of artists in your proposal!)

    As this is such a large scale piece, you might want to think about how it will look from a distance as well as close up. It would be a shame to lose the effect of a piece at distance, so for example you may want to include some blocks of colour that are larger than you'd usually work with

    I love your pieces that almost tell a story - like the night and day one (or whatever that ended up being called) and since you've got a lot of space to work with you could do a top-to-bottom story/theme (in a cool way, not a naff way!) - this depends on your clients interests/beliefs etc so I think noting down a load of questions to ask them is a good thing..

    I'll stop there..best of luck, how exciting!

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  29. Mondrean or Kandinsky = both modern, colourful and easy to interpret :)

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  30. yeouch. overwhelming. perhaps to the point of feeling paralyzed? what if your gal pal Katie (ginger monkey) asked for your help? what steps would you outline for her? sometimes getting an objective perspective on a situation is the first step. I will echo as those before me have said: this couple knows your work already and they like it enough to have you design a major piece for them. hmm..I think when you speak with them, you might also want to insert pieces of whatever is important to them into the work. for example, if they are Christians, perhaps a triangle would be indicative of a "holy trinity" and so forth--that way the work is beautiful in itself but also holds special meaning for them. ask them what they want the piece to "do" act as a calming backdrop or set the tone for the home? what are some of their favorite artists now? why did they choose to have a quilt in such a large area? (that might give you insight into what they are hoping to achieve). after you have some inspirational leads, your creativity will light the way. I believe in you! You are an amazing artist!

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  31. Rothko, Kandinski, Klimt, Miro all have deep and delicious colour, line and texture that I think would translate well into textile. You could maybe look at some Expressionist art which is all about colour and emotion and Gaugin has quite flat and uniform blocks of colour in his pictorial representations.

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  32. First of all: agree in that you should keep to your style, since they want you to do it.
    Thought immediately to go the opposite way as the house appears: not cool and edged but warm and flowing. In a modern and colourful way of course...
    Good luck!

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  33. Mondrian! My dad is a massive modern art fan and wants something similar and had asked for
    Mondrian inspired piece! Good luck with whatever you choose

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  34. Have a look at an abstract/cubist artist called Frantisek Kupka ... I used to do a lecture about him ....

    this kind of thing ... lends itself to quilting for a large space I think ...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Franti%C5%A1ek_Kupka_-_Katedr%C3%A1la_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

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  35. This may sound silly, but all that glass cries "reflection" to me. How about a version of this quilt. http://www.modabakeshop.com/2010/07/random-reflections.html
    Only huge!

    Whatever you decide, good luck.

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  36. What a fantastic commission. My mind is racing with things that might look good in that gorgeous building. Damien Hirst's Spots have been done in rectangular and circular canvases. I think they would translate well into patchwork.

    I also love Roy Lichtenstein's Comic book paintings. I was amazed when I saw them in person, each spot is painted individually but you could reproduce them using spotty fabrics.

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  37. How about something from the City Quilts book? I love all the quilts in that book and think they are very colorful and modern!

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  38. The first thing I thought of was lots of colour and texture- a real focal point and contrast to the (stunning) house. Imagine painting with fabric- but really layering and manipulating the paint. This guy was a tutor at my college, and his work kind of fits what I imagine: http://www.markainsworthartist.com/index.html
    There's also Fiona Rae: http://www.fiona-rae.com/- though her work is really flat, rather than textured.
    The texture in Gillian Carnegie's Black work could be inspirational: http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ViewWork?cgroupid=999999961&workid=104064&searchid=9219
    I'll have a wee think and see if I can come up with some more :)

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  39. This Paul Klee painting is tailor-made!
    http://pinterest.com/pin/113888619/

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  40. I don't have any suggestions for you Lynne, but just wanted to say...
    CONGRATULATIONS! Whatever you decide to do will be amazing.

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  41. Fabulous commission - well done. I think you probably have enough advice by now but I would just say be yourself and treat it as you would any other design..it`s just on a larger scale, and as someone advised, bring some of the couple into the design, which probably means finding out more about them. Bon courage!

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  42. Wow - fabulous and frightening! I'm thinking the decor will be modern, probably neutrals? It's such a striking building - I would go for an abstract design, mis-shaped rectangles as a nod to the windows, in charcoal, mid brown, cream - and then throw in a real zing of colour.. perhaps a few red spots (or whatever colour your friends really like).

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  43. Wow. I wouldn't try to be anyone but yourself. They asked you, not some famous dead artist....of course it would be difficult to ask them.

    That said, you might find inspiration over at Melody Johnson's blog, Fibermania. Her work is what comes to mind when you say big, colorful, and modern.

    I can't wait to see what you come up with..

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  44. Something Gee's Bend-ish sprang to mind immediately. But yes, a further consultation might be the way to go. Pinterest is great for that.

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  45. Fabulous opportunity for you Lynne. Are you able to actually see the space in person or do you just have photographs of the building? If it were me, spending some time in the space would help. How does the light fall, what is the space saying, and how is the space going to be used.....these are the types of questions I would be asking myself. Good luck...sounds like a wonderful opportunity, even though quite overwhelming, I would imagine.

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  46. I would ask them for a few of their favorite artists, or at least something more specific than "modern". Then I would come up with a few ideas, show them some colored illustrations and get their feedback.

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  47. I saw a mod mosaic recently (like Elizabeth hartmans
    's) but with rich purple sashing. Something like that with velvets, metallics etc thru it...

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  48. I'm currently in love with all of the art/quilts that are based off of Metro Maps.

    Such as: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/dc/artwork/modern-art-metro-maps-120478

    I have two modes when I think of modern art. Either very geometric like the above.
    Or organic. For that I always head down to the Botanical Garden here because they've got a Chihuly installation.
    http://www.chihuly.com/installations.aspx

    I'm so excited to see what you come up with!

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  49. The local hospital has an art piece that is origami cranes (about 1,000 of them) in a rainbow of colors. What other art do they have? What colors? the Red & White quilt exhibition inspired me. Would it be simplistic (think Gee's Bend) or modern (think Jackson Pollock--Yo Yo's and Kansahzi flowers). ? Love to see some ideas/sketches.

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  50. I would just ask them for pictures of some of their favorite artworks so that you can get a really good idea of their tastes. Nothing dunce-y about that . . . that's just making sure that you are both on the same page when you use terms like "modern" and "simple" and so on. ;) Anything you make is going to be smashing, but to tailor it to their wants and needs, have them show you what they love.

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  51. First of all, CONGRATS!!! What an honor! I can empathize with how you feel.

    Recently, I stumbled across a website of beautiful custom handmade carpets/rugs. Like our quilts, each of the carpets are inspired by people, places or things, and several actually remind me of quilt designs. I hope that you enjoy checking out all of the carpets in each of the four collections and find one that inspires you.

    This is one of my favorites---> http://www.maleneb.com/collections/signature/wolof/

    This one reminds me of an abstract quilt design---> http://www.maleneb.com/collections/limited-edition/tap-tap/

    I'm excited for you and anxious to see what you make.

    Good Luck!

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  52. Hi. I haven't read all the other comments, but one thing did strike me. They asked YOU. Don't be suddenly dropping whatever makes your quilts YOU to make something for THEM. They want YOUR work. If they know art, they don't want a fake Matisse or Rothko or Mondrian. They want something from YOU. I do think you need more specific design parameters - and that should include what they want the room to "feel" like. You will want to make some very general color sketches for them to review. People say "do whatever you want," but they RARELY mean it. Once you get the go-ahead, figure out a real, definitive price, and ask for half up front, and make sure they know it's non-refundable. I'd get the other half upon delivery, whether they like it or not. Even simple commissions can be a real drain, so be absolutely 100% SURE you WANT to do this, because it will be WORK, and I don't know about you, but I have enough WORK at WORK. I don't want my FUN to be WORK, so I only take commissions I really, really, want to do.

    Good luck, dear friend, and remember, you can always say "No."

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  53. The first thought into my head was "Mondrian". Type it into your search engine, press images - then "whoop" so I can hear you in Australia! LOL

    Good luck!

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  54. Lynne, I have learned a ton about art in reading these comments. I was going to suggest Frank Lloyd Wright but no one else did. I think of him when I think Modern. All the best luck in drawing up the plans for this one. You can count on your readers for support every step of the way.

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  55. What great responses.
    I agree talk to the owner and see what they have in mind and then keep it minimalist
    Great fun ( at least to watch )

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  56. Oh wow! What a house! Check out Diane Melms (www.dianemelms.com I think). She's a local quilt artist and I think the work she does is so beautiful. My advice is to keep things simple.

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  57. On my list of work to do is to actually stretch the fabric over a canvas . . . I have planned a work with multiple canvases... almost letting the canvases themselves be the blocks . . . just a thought to add to your list. Spend time in their home, talk to them. Then possibly imagine what you would surprise them with if you were to make them a quilt they knew nothing about . . . it would have some of you... some of them in it. This is probably what they desire. It is a lot more pressure being commissioned than gifting . . . just pretend you are gifting and let your talented senses take over and see where that takes you. Easier said than done. Can't wait to see what you create.

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  58. Holy cow! No pressure there or anything! : ) But if anybody can pull it off, it's totally you, Lynne! I can't WAIT to see what you come up with. I myself would go very geometric and possibly wonky, with lots of negative space. But if you know the couple well, I'm sure you'll come up with the perfect design.

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  59. I'm really quite taken with Marcia Derse fabrics as they are very contemporary at
    http://www.marciaderse.com/
    Good Luck with this project!
    Laura T

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  60. I havent read anyones comments so I may be repeating - I'd go with a very improve kinda look similar to Gee's Bend quilting or even Denyse Schmidt ?? Great solid colours try to pick up a palette they already have going. Good luck :)

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  61. A bit late, but I fully agree with Millie (52):
    They asked YOU to make them something.

    And by now you'll have had lots of ideas
    (Jackson Pollock came into my mind, but that's hard to figure out in a quilt)

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