Thursday, March 15, 2007

To Frame or Not to Frame

As anticipated, the art show at the Botanical Garden this past weekend proved to have great Public Relations exposure. The Art in Bloom exhibit was well received and I got a lot of great feedback. And this morning I found out that a picture of my quilt was featured in The Daily News (one of the local papers).

One surprising bit of feedback I received came from a fellow exhibiting artist. She suggested that I frame my quilts. Her reasoning was that most people think "bedspread" with the word quilt, and therefore, framing my work would let people know instantly that it is art. I've given her suggestion a bit of thought and even went out to buy a frame to test the idea. The result was a more traditional art look, but putting my quilt inside a box took away the textural element that gives quilts in general such sensorial appeal. And this appeal is a major reason why I chose to quilt rather than paint.

This whole exercise reminded me how new the concept of an art quilt really is. As far as I can tell, I'm the only artist actively creating art quilts here in St. Croix, and possibly in all of the Virgin Islands. Across the county, those of us creating art quilts are still a very small group of misfits. We are not yet fully recognized by the traditional art world (although many museums are discovering that quilt exhibits draw large crowds), and we don't exactly fit or follow all the established conventions of traditional quilters. It's alright in the end. I don't mind having to swim against the current because the pleasure of creating art quilts makes it all worthwhile.

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