Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Portrait Project - Janet Mayfield, Janet Pearson, Leah Weinstein, Sheila Falle, Catherine Aitkens

Janet Mayfield  - 'Radiant'
Fabric and Paper
Janet writes, "This piece was done during a time of curiosity about other ways to be artistic. The idea of getting to "draw" and sew all at the same time sounded great to me.
Creating your own face out of bits of fabric lets you release any hope of mirror images and open up to whatever appears before you. I like this textile version of me."
At the show opening, Janet said she has sewn all her life in what she described as “a utilitarian  way”, making clothing for her family and things for the home. She wanted to increase her knowledge of methods of sewing artistically and Linda Cole encouraged that. Janet stated, she let her love of fabrics guide her in making the self-portrait. Starting with a black and white photograph, she began creating  realistically and then through the process began to let go and be more in tune with herself. The elephant symbolizes her time in Kenya and her love for animals. Butterflies and bees are a part of her life as well as bald eagles and theses are shown on the wall hanging. The fabric with the horse motif she just loved and there is a part of this fabric where the motifs come together as a heart that symbolizes her and her husband.
What she loved the most was doing free motion stitching without a pressure foot. Having no plan, she says she got out of her own way and let this woman show. Isn't that what we all wish we could do when free motion stitching?
Janet Pearson - 'Snowboarding Makes Me Happy'
I enjoyed getting a one on one interpretation of Janet's Self-Portrait. She approached it in a unique way that comes from her love of photography. Her piece are several photos depicting herself throughout her life. Janet described her purest happiest state is when she is snowboarding. The printing on the wall hanging says 'Snowboarding makes me Happy', and it demands attention.
The wall hanging is rich with added fabrics and mementos that relate to her life. There is a photo of her as a bridesmaid and beside it is fabric from her own wedding. There is Guatemalan fabric, a button that is in one of the photos of Janet. There is a pants pocket sewn onto the wall hanging and that particular pocket is from the jeans she is wearing in one of the photos.  She was a tree planter and attached is an emblem from her tree planting work clothes. Several fabrics included are from sewing projects with her three girls. Janet is carrying on the tradition of teaching her girls to sew as her mother taught her.
Leah Weinstein 'Family Eyes'
Leah wasn't able to be at the show opening, but this is what she included with her wall hanging which was striking in it's simplicity.
"Leah Weinstein was born in Vancouver BC, and grew up in Courtenay on Vancouver Island. She received her diploma in fine art (sculpture) from Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design in 2001, and later moved to Nelson. She received her BFA in 2008, and has recently returned to Vancouver to pursue a master of applied arts degree at Emily Carr University.
After making her first quilt in 2001, quilts quickly became the focus of Leah's work, both as aesthetic explorations and utilitarian objects. More recently, Leah has returned to her interests in sculpture, exploring the relationship between art and utility in her graduate work. Influenced by handcrafted textiles, portable shelter, and minimalist sculpture, Leah continues to explore themes of materiality and embodiment through her work, whether quilted or sculptural. The self-portrait created for this show, titled Family Eyes, explores the internal experience of family connections through the traditional medium of the quilt."
Sheila Falle - 'Self-Portrait'
Not Quilted - Conceptual
This piece was elegant in it's design and use of fabrics. When I met Sheila, it seemed to suit her. At the opening, Sheila told us that she had been away from  working with fabric for several months when she started on her self-portrait.  When she did start, she was surprised what did come out. I would love to have being a part of her design process. Very interesting I am sure.
She told us, that this piece will hold a journal rather than be shown as a wall hanging. Sheila stressed how important it is to do a self-portrait as it allows the person doing it to examine not only how others see you but also how you see yourself.

Catherine Aitkens
'Me For Now'
I am sorry I don't have a photograph of this piece but this is what Catherine wrote about her wall hanging.

"When I first heard of this project, I came up with all sorts of images of how I could portray myself in a self portrait quilt. I could show many facets of me to the viewer. But as I started working on it, filling in the background, I saw me moving further and further away from the central focus. I came to realize that my subconscious was directing the quilt's development.
I am a product of what I do; the who of me is defined by the what of me. So this project summarizes parts of me perfectly. I am a quilter and a wildlife photographer. I live in the moment here in the Kootenays. I am never interested in explaining who I am,  I let my work reveal my person.
As I continued working on the quilt, I noticed that the mountain area is energy and flurry, with lots of animals and landscape detail. The lower half is quieter and less crowded. One part represents my energy and excitement. One part explores my need for calm and meditation. Even the subjects show the same characteristics - the energy of the eagle and bears balanced by the calm of the loons and herons. The division of the quilt into two parts is like yin and yang, my outward showing face and my inner, hidden self.
Upon reflection, though, I can reassure myself that very little has really been revealed. I have kept myself truly in the background -safe from inquisitive eyes.
And if you get a feeling that the quilt isn't quite finished, you're right. Because who I am isn't finished."


Win Dinn, Artist said...

I've been intrigued by the whole process of these self-portraits, and love that you've shared them on your blog. Many thanks!

Gloria said...

Yes, thanks, Eileen for sharing these self-portraits!

The two times I was in Kaslo, the gallery was closed. Reading your blog was the next best thing!

Gotta do this with my group!