Do you ever see those titles and think “where is she going with this?”
I hope it all makes sense by the end.
When the idea for doing a blog post about men who make quilts came up, the final touches were being put on Luke Haynes’ (Man No. 1.) debut collection for Moda. Having recently pestered my boss with questions about his new hobby, I decided to pester the newest member of the Moda family with the same “men in quilting” questions.
This is Luke.
(FYI – these pictures were shamelessly borrowed from his website and blog.)
What is it about making quilts that appeals to you – working with fiber?
I love the collision between utility and aesthetic. I come from an architecture background and really appreciate the conversation that comes from a functional object and projects based in material manipulation, though in this case, I mean fabric rather than concrete. I love that at the end of a quilt project, I’m left with something that has a use rooted in the human experience. I also love the history of art and the concepts that come with sculpture, and the precedence of cerebral object making.
I can see that the basic structure of a quilt would be somewhat related to architecture but I’m curious – why fabric?
Fabric is a material that I can control from start to finish, whereas with concrete or steel, I need an entire team and a budget with several more decimal points to try my ideas. The rest is the same, it’s layering and human scale.
Most famous artists are men but not as many men make quilts or do fiber arts. Why don’t more men – and male artists – make quilts?
Quilts came historically out of the domestic side of the home. Women who weren’t allowed to do manual labor or hold public jobs worked on quilts as a means of employment or as social meetings, so historically quilts were the work of women. Whereas painting was the opposite, it was a job held by men and learned by men so there will be more male painters and more women quilters. There’s also a lot of conversation in the values implicit in the objects that relate to the workplace and the avocation of creating quilts versus creating art.
What is it about making quilts that appeals to you – as opposed to other “art forms” or designing buildings?
I can do the entire project myself from the basic materials. I like to experiment solo and to experience my successes and failures before I turn my works to public scrutiny. Also, the making of quilts is out of fabrics which I personally enjoy using since I start with a material with a history and a life of its own prior to adding it to my pieces.
If you went to a show where every style of quilt was represented, which style would draw your attention the most? E.g., Modern, heavily pieced, applique, etc.
I love the quilts that take the understood and push the boundaries. I love each kind of work but I’m especially drawn to those that push the usage of material or imagery.
One of the biggest challenges for every quilter is finding time to sew. How do you find the time?
I work a lot. I have a team that helps me create the pieces that I can use in my work, and yet there is still not enough time. I struggle with this all the time. It is my job to be constantly better than myself so that once my time of creation catches up to my designing, I am ready to create something better than before.
There will be more coming from and about Luke Haynes in the next couple of months but if you’re curious, you might find these interesting:
- Arts Entrepreneurs Episode #9 – Work & Life Hacks with Quilter Luke Haynes
- MITCH Collective – Luke Haynes Artist Residency
The other thing I’d like to share today is from Mr. Dunn. (Man No. 2.)
Quilts hang throughout the offices in Dallas, many are antiques from Mr. Dunn’s personal collection. The styles are varied, as is the quality and condition, and they weren’t acquired because they were examples of exceptional museum-quality quilts. Rather, they were bought because he liked them. So I had asked him the same question I asked Luke – what sort of quilt draws your attention?
I have collected quilts for many years and I have what I would consider to be an eclectic collection that includes antique, modern, and art quilts. My favorites today are art quilts, they’re the ones hanging in my home. I have been to many quilt exhibits around the world and modern and art quilts have always captured my attention the most. I recently added quilts by Noriko Endo and Genevieve Attinger to my collection.
Of course I had to look up both women to see their work.
Noriko Endo is an award-winning Japanese Master quilter who created a quilting technique called “Confetti Naturescapes” that involves layering “colorful bits of fabric on batting, adding a covering of tulle, and then machine-quilting the entire piece.” She is inspired by nature and her quilts have the look of Impressionist paintings.
A close-up of the Noriko Endo’s Confetti Naturescape technique.
Genevieve Attinger is a French fiber artist with a background in agricultural engineering. She describes her work as “a mixture between expression and form using fabrics – handling and motion-machine drawing; I work very freely with my sewing machine using it as a pencil; the use of colour is important when drawing with threads, but the handling of fabrics to create my quilts is essential, it is a very sensual work. Bending, folding textiles, pulling threads, provide tactile sensations and approach the sculpture.”
La Rumeur – 2012.
This quilt has been shown around the world, including at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England. It is currently part of the Through Our Hands exhibition.
Formed in 2012, Through Our Hands provides a showcase for artists working in a variety of media, primarily stitched textiles including quiltmaking and embroidery, and also drawing, painting and print. The selected artists are among the foremost in their respective fields and their work demonstrates originality and quality both in execution and design.
Two men. Two women. All four love quilts. All four are quiltmakers.
One just got a little bit later start.