The Threads of Resistance Piece Finished and Entered

I finished this one first –you know the old ploy, do an easy finish first to get your energy going.  And small meant it would finish quickly. It took a while to get a photograph, and in the process I learned how to change the number of pixels. I also learned I could find the number of pixels via iPhoto, and when I did, I barely had enough. So no change was necessary.


21 x 22

You might notice a change from the previous “finished” top. It measured less than the required minimum of 20 inches in each direction. So the partial border on the right side. In some ways it completes the look, so it is an error that helped the design.  Perhaps it also helps the theme by stopping the flight of the last piece of the prohibition sign.

After reading Elizabeth Barton’s post about artist statements, I ponder how much I should say about what I was trying: in her thinking, if it has to be said, I didn’t accomplish it. I’m not sure how I feel about this.  As a viewer, I know I’ve had my interest in a piece expanded by an artist’s statement (both in quilt art and paint art). Maybe that just means I am an unsophisticated viewer.

Caution aside. The Threads of Resistance call was for pieces expressing anger at an action of #45 or sadness about a loss caused by his actions. I chose to express anger at deregulation and all the harm it would do to the environment. (I’m curious–to what extent do you see anger or not?) In addition, when looking at it, I kept seeing hints of the traditional block, Moon over the Mountain. And I thought that too fits if you think of the loss caused by mountain top removal for cheaper, easier mining of coal–a precursor to today’s more intense deregulation. All we have left of some of those mountains is a trace, if that. I did not put the idea there; I saw it there.

Then there are ideas I neither put there nor saw there. As one comment on the finished top suggested: it actually shows freedom. In that case the mood would not be anger but exuberance. (Once again, what feeling does it make you feel, if any?) And I am reminded of grad school discussions of Paradise Lost: Is Satan the hero regardless of Milton’s intent?

And there is the problem of titles. In an abstract piece, do I want to direct/limit  interpretations by the suggestiveness of my titles?  As a viewer, I resent titles like “Untitled” or “Red dots on green squares.” Yet doesn’t anything more specific start to direct the viewer to see in a certain way (or to realize what is missing if the artist failed)? Is an appropriate title “Deregulation” or “In the Eye of the Beholder” or “Red on Blue”? to what extent is a title a limitation? An expansion?

These are not rhetorical questions: I invite discussion.
The quilting:


This detail photo captures most of the quilting variation: micro stippling in the inner circle reminiscent of the old atomic bomb shelter symbol’s triangles, miniature prohibition signs tossed around, and then more generic wavy lines and straight lines.  The mottled aqua, not shown here, is quilted with a moderate sized meander.

I recently read that there were 500 entries, and they don’t yet know how many their venues can hold since the list of venues is not complete. So my chances of getting into the show are barely better than to get a quilt into QuiltCon. But as the director of Quilt National said, “Every quilt in the show was entered.”

I’ve seen one other quilt entered, my friend Mary’s at Zippy Quilts. Do have a look at her quite different approach to the theme. I am hoping for a photo gallery on the Artists’ Circle’s Threads of Resistance blog.

I plan to link with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday (button in sidebar).

Quilt History

“Finished” top

Preliminary sketches made

The call for entries (now concluded)

5/14/17 ETA link to see all the entries



Filed under design, quilting, social issues

10 responses to “The Threads of Resistance Piece Finished and Entered

  1. I think an artist statement is useful, and actually, important. One can view a piece and have an instinctive reaction, but how much richer is the visual experience if the thinking, construction process and idea development is made explicit. For example, looking at your piece and seeing the title, a viewer without the background you have given here has a much less complex and interesting experience of what you were thinking as you developed it.

  2. Congratulations on completing your piece and getting it entered, I sure hope you get to be part of the exhibit! Speaking with your art – awesome!
    Also, I enjoyed reading this very well written post and your thought process behind the piece!

  3. Love your entry and your post about it. I don’t see anger in your piece, but I do see deregulation. I love that you took a block that I have seen used to celebrate nature and turned it into a protest against the harmful things being done to nature, Well done.

  4. dezertsuz

    Yay! Hoping all three of your entries are displayed. Titles – I like them. I look at them second. After reading all that you’ve written here, and seeing exactly what you meant when you made it, I can still see my first reaction to it, which is totally different from your intention.

    Every piece of art – including literature – takes both the creator and the observer. They may not agree on the meaning, and so what? Choose a title which directs the viewer to your point of view, if the message you want to deliver is the most important one. You are clearly invested in a certain POV with this piece. Or choose one that’s open-ended and leave it to the observer to decide what it means. That’s the dilemma every artist has to face.

    • Guess I wasn’t clear. There are three shows involved. The local guild show (non-juried)–all three quilts; the MQG RileyBlake fabric challenge (online and non-juried–only Mint Swirl); the Threads of Resistance (juried–Deregulation).
      The quilt’s name for the Threads show is Deregulation because of the nature of the show. My questions on naming the quilt relate to its life apart from the show. I really haven’t decided how much I want to steer viewers. And these questions continue to spin: To what extent it is art if the idea is so important that it has to be explained? Is it merely a poster?

  5. The red looks angry to me, as does the angular dark blue across the lighter colors. But of course, I knew where you were going. As for artist’s statements, I still hate doing them, but Tierney ( did a lot of research regarding how to do them. (I disregarded most of it when I did mine.) Good luck!

  6. Congratulations on this finish, and I, too, like the “accidental” mountain in the piece as his rollback was one of many decrees that really made me angry (so much to choose from, yes?). And like you, artist’s statements and interesting titles are always a challenge. Good luck!

  7. Rebecca

    Again, (as stated on EB’s blog), a statement can give me a deeper appreciation of a piece. I had the feeling of “unsophisticated viewer” that you mention, but my experience with this piece is pretty common to me: I look at it and get an overall mood (heh, the exhibit title clues that in), but when I read the statement, I start to see HOW the artist expressed herself. (Unsophisticated.) I was just seeing dark times, maybe pollution, but pointing out the accidental traditional block gives more meaning, as does paying attention to the quilting (I probably would not have gotten the nuclear association just from photos).

    BTW, my first thought was “hammer and sickle,” perhaps because I viewed it in the wake of Comey’s firing.

  8. Rebecca

    Also: (thought-provoking post) In your comment above, I think a poster spells it all out and doesn’t need explanation. Art has more depth, which can be explored in a statement. Of course, one needs to be interested enough in the piece to spend the time on the statement, so it is for people who want more.

    I think Deregulation is a good title that is meaningful (unlike “Abstract #15), yet doesn’t spell it all out for us.

  9. Carol

    Good questions about art, statement, and titles. I also dislike titles such as “untitled.” I like the titles.. they help the viewer see more than she may have in the first place. A viewer can still see/appreciate what she sees first, then read a statement and see more. Art isn’t just absorbed in one viewing, and then it’s done. Every bit of info, IMO, will add to the experience. (Rarely, a statement or title can ruin one’s experience of viewing it, but that risk is worth taking, if you ask me.) I have looked at your piece 3-4 times and have seen and felt different things each time. What if I saw something completely different than you intended? Like maybe I saw “a girl walking on the moon.” So what? It’s still a good, thoughtful experience. Then, upon reading an artist’s statement, my girl on the moon will perhaps morph into a totally different thing. Still it’s a thoughtful experience. That’s art. Well done, Claire.

Conversation is good, so please join in. I'll reply here if it seems relevant to others, by email, or by visiting your blog.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s