Some notes for the day

bigraven31.jpgEmily Carr, Big Raven, 1931

Jeanne Beck, who has been guiding us through Terry Barrett’s Interpreting Art will return with Chapter VI on October 31, Halloween. Presumably we won’t find it too frightening.

Ragged Cloth, the Blog has been operating since late January of this year; we’ve had faithful contributors and commentators and lots of important art has become part of our collective psyches.

So, on this Sunday when there is no formal post prepared, I want to do two things. First I need to say a big thank you to those writers who have been posting so regularly. Writing a blog entry that has some depth and impact is much more difficult than commenting, so I quickly discovered, a bit to my chagrin. So to all the contributors listed below many many thanks.

  • Clairan Ferrono,
  • Eileen Doughty,
  • Jane Davila,
  • Jeanne Beck,
  • Kristin Freeman
  • Mandi Ballard,
  • Pat Blacha Shaer,
  • Sandy Wagner,
  • Terry Grant,

The second thing I want to do is check in with the readers (some of whom are also the writers). What topics would you like to see covered here? Do you want more art history from the 19th and previous centuries? Would you like to see more art from other countries? More quilt art from other countries? More about the history of quilted art? More about what quilted and other fine arts have in common and where they might separate? What about the great discussion between Michael James and Lorre Weidlich that occurred in the early and late nineties over the definition of art as it applied to quilted and textile art?

These are brainstorming ideas from June’s head. I’m sure that others have more and better ones. So please, write a comment and tell the group what you would like to see come up for discussion here at the Cafe.

And just for your edification (and because I’ve resized it), here’s one of my favorite works of art:

scorned_as_timberbelovedoftheskyoil35.jpg Emily Carr, Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky. Oil, 1935.

4 Responses to “Some notes for the day”

  1. 1 June October 16, 2007 at 11:04 am


    I’m thinking of working up an article and update on the controversy that I am now calling the James/Weidlich ends of the quilted art ideological spectrum.

    However, I need a copy of the original James essay, “Quilt Art at Century’s End,” in the American Quilter, Vol VIII, no 3 (fall 1992), pp 52 –74. I don’t need the magazine (which is the AQS magazine, I believe) just the article. But there were lots of letters to the editor after the article appeared that are probably wonderful, also.

    If anyone has that American Quilter and would photocopy the article, I’d love to have it in hand and certainly be willling to pay postage etc. I’m trying to get permission for the article to be used at the SAQA website, but that’s a longer range problem.

    And you might wonder how I can know about something that I’ve never actually read — I think I got into quilt art at just the time when the “scandal” erupted and have heard innumerable accounts of the “argument” over the years. Then last month, doing the SAQA work, I found the Weidlich article at the SAQA website. She makes a clear and strong response to James, laying out an alternative view to his traditional “art” view. That’s what got me thinking about the subject again.

  2. 2 June October 16, 2007 at 10:56 am


    Great ideas. The Ruskin/Morris concepts resurface a lot — I’m thinking of the Bauhaus and the Vienna Workshop (that Eileen? wrote on earlier on Ragged Cloth); some cultures, like the Japanese, seem to integrate fine craft into everything they do; others, like the American, separate fine craft from fine art (or at least try to).

    With tourism up (and money floating about freely at the upper end of the economic sphere) many indigenous groups and fine local craftspeople find they can turn their work into cash. I’m thinking of five or six stores here in Portland, including art boutiques, who specialize in indigenous craft items.

    And of course there’s the whole American DIY movement, which I think is the underpinnings for finer craft working as well as techniques for art work like our own.

    Notice I’m emphasizing craft here rather than art — which is probably a topic in itself (where indigenous “arts” fall on the art — craft spectrum, I mean) A good topic to cause a lot of brouhaha….

    I keep turning my head around to that golden age of painting, the Renaissance, trying to see how it fits with quilted and stitched art. I see many people doing faces, for example, using quilting techniques. But the problems are different, particularly the technical problems. I wonder if having a workshop in copying the Renaissance masters in textiles — not for sale but sheer learning — might not be a fascinating endeavor.

    I’m just spinning out further ideas on top of your ideas, Virginia. I hope that some of our contributing posters will jump in and do an entry for us.

    Oh and the Canadian Group of Seven is pretty familiar to me, although I got there through Emily Carr. Which, now that I think about it, isn’t a bad way to get there. My mind just slipped a cog — I want to say I like the later Lawrence ….. (the name slid with that cog) work. He was Carr’s mentor for a while. His landscapes remind me of Arthur Dove and Grant Wood in the States.

  3. 3 ritasteffenson October 15, 2007 at 8:44 pm

    June, would love to know the story of that discussion.

    “What about the great discussion between Michael James and Lorre Weidlich that occurred in the early and late nineties over the definition of art as it applied to quilted and textile art?”

    Otherwise I find most of what is posted here of interest, unfortunitly I don’t have much background or expertise to contribute. I do appreciate all the time the contributors put in educating our community! Thanks Rita

  4. 4 Virginia Burnett October 15, 2007 at 6:13 am

    Ours is a classical homeschooling family with a strong emphasis in studying and making art as part of the learning process. We are currently moving through the Late Renaissance and into the colonization era where we will begin encounter industrialization. By the end of the school year we will be looking at Ruskin, Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites. I would love to see more commentary about art and craft in this global culture, how local art and handmade functional art can enrich a local economy, what Morris and Ruskin had to say about this back then that still applies here and now.

    I also love the Canadian Group of Seven. Like the painting you posted today, much of it begs to be re-interpreted in textiles. A few short words about their work might be nice.

    Thanks for asking!

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