Twelve Days of Twelves: Part Four

February 17, 2011, 09:02 am  Posted by needlearts

And it’s on to day four of our celebration of Twelve by Twelve: The International Art Quilt Challenge. Each day, for twelve (business) days, we’re interviewing one of the celebrated quilt artists who contributed to the book. For more information on the book, click here. For more information on the Twelves, or to join them on their current group challenge, visit their website.

Today’s Guest: Brenda Gael Smith

Location: Copacabana, Australia

You’re in the middle of the second group challenge, with a Colorplay theme. How did the first challenge affect the work you’ve done for the second one?

I’ve always struggled to make quilts to a particular size but, in the course of the Theme series challenge, I became more accustomed to the 12×12 inch format. I’m quite fond of this size now!

Otherwise, I have found that the inspiration and design process is quite different when a color or palette is your springboard rather than a theme word. For me, a theme word was useful in narrowing down the options and providing focus. Fortunately I revel in color so I am finding the second series both challenging and enjoyable.


How do you describe your own quilting? Has being part of the Twelves group changed your perspective on your own work?

While I have taken the opportunity to experiment with other techniques as part of the Twelve by Twelve project, my preferred quilting MO is freeform piecing abstract designs with my own hand-dyed fabrics.

It has been rewarding to create a large body of work which I would not have made without the impetus of the project structure and this has flowed through to my personal art practice. One of the ancillary works I made exploring the Mathematics theme became the foundation for my “Desire Lines” series which includes my Passion theme quilt Caliente and Running Hot & Cold.  Similarly, my “Dreamlines” series is inspired directly from techniques used in my official Mathematics piece, Binary Note #2.  Even more enriching has been getting to know the other Twelves and their work. We genuinely like and respect one another and provide support, encouragement and thoughtful critique.

Desire Lines #3: Running Hot & Cold

Were you inspired to try a new technique that one of the Twelves used in their work? If so, which one?

The surface design talents of the other Twelves has inspired me to try out more hand stitching, beading, layering, stamping, printing, and painting.  This is not always evident in my official Twelve by Twelve works but I often experiment along the way.



How was writing your portion of the book similar and different to blogging about the quilts as you made them?

Blogging, by its very nature, is an informal medium. Posts are often written on the run in snatched moments while events and observations are fresh.  By contrast, writing my chapter was an occasion for reflection – an attempt to synthesize the whole wonderful experience of being a Twelve, set it in context of my personal creative development, and also tell the story of the Illumination challenge.


8 Responses

    SewLindaann says:

    I’ve really been enjoying reading about the individual artists. I follow a couple of blogs, but this has been a chance to really see a lot more of their work and get a personal viewpoint of the people I’ve not read about before. Just wanted to say thanks.

    Woolensails says:

    Love the wavy look of the quilt. That is something I want to try, my kids love modern quilting, so it is fun to make things for them.


    Valerie says:

    Brenda, still insanely jealous of that studio view. You should invite us all for tea and sympathy….

    ~Kathleen says:

    Experimentation is so important to the creative process. Even if you kind of know where you want to end up, getting there is still an undecided journey with twists and turns along the way.

    Dolores says:

    I must say, that is a stunning view. What a great place to work.

    corinne says:

    Love the movement in your pieces. 12×12 is a great size to work with.

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