Wildling Museum’s ‘TREES’ quilt exhibit is a first
“Sewjourners: TREES” is an exhibition of 45 new quilts created by textile artists Isabel Downs, Linda Estrada, Carol Fay, Ranell Hansen, Pamela Holst, Patti Hunter, Susan Bullington Katz, Mary Maxwell and Patty Six.
It is on view through Jan.16 in the third floor Barbara Goodall Education Center at the Wildling Museum of Art and Nature in Solvang.
The exhibiting nine artists are part of the Sewjourners, a satellite group of the Coastal Quilters Guild of Santa Barbara and Goleta. This community exhibition marks the museum’s first textile-focused exhibition and is inspired by the artists’ various interpretations of trees, translating a range of species, textures and seasonal transitions through the quilt medium.
Many of the quilts are also for sale through the Wildling Museum store.
“We’re thrilled to be able to offer our first fiber arts exhibition,” said Stacey Ott-Demangate, Wildling Museum executive director. “The diversity of how the quilters interpreted the theme of trees is truly stunning.”
Works featured in the show incorporate a range of quilting techniques, as well as embroidery and even found natural materials.
According to a statement from the Sewjourners about the exhibition theme:
“The COVID pandemic has challenged artists around the world by cutting us off from our community of inspiration and friendship that usually fills our artistic souls. Most of us have been cut off from travel, family and global experiences.
“The Sewjourners, however, like other artists, have chosen to continue in our efforts to create and inspire each other to the best of our abilities. We have found community and inspiration from the natural world around us.
“To be among the trees, we don’t have to mask up or stay separated. We can walk among them and feel community. We get inspiration from the varying shapes, textures and colors found in trees. We may have even hugged a few of them.
“More than ever before, we have learned to value the work of generations of people who have preserved the natural landscape and worked to conserve the natural wonders of our world. We celebrate these generations and the work of those who honor that work with artistic creation.”
Artist Ranell Hansen’s process for her quilt “Forest “ began with a found dyed panel that she used as inspiration.
“I wanted to depict a whole world with my work and chose to create geometric shapes for the trees and stream below. I wanted to present an ethereal space while highlighting the quilting and went back over my work with colored pencils, highlighting the bedrock and stream running through. I wanted the feeling of spaciousness to come through, which is why I created a neutral ground,” she told the News-Press.
Isabel Downs, creator of “Oh, Most Ancient One ll,” said her Bristlecone Pine series was initially inspired by an article she read in the Los Angeles Times.
“It was about a photographer who had set up a timelapse camera to capture the night sky. I had also been inspired by Bristlecone Pines and decided to combine the two subjects. I became fascinated with how I could use different techniques to express the tree, abstracting it and using color and values to show ways of looking at something in nature.”
The Sewjourners group has been a very motivational place and a safe space to try new ideas and techniques together with friends for Susan Bullington Katz.
“There are nine of us in the group and even when looking at the same topic, you’ll see nine distinct quilt styles. I’m very interested in the juxtaposition of manmade structures and nature, and I wanted to explore that through fabric,” she said. “My process started with a 12- by 12-inch quilt that I first made in black and white, and the concept was marinating in the back of my mind off and on. When the Sewjourners came together with the idea of a show on trees, it was a perfect opportunity to revisit this idea.”