Monday, February 23, 2009

Think Like artist Pamela Allen

Over the years I have watched my share of tv sewing/quilting/crafts shows, loved them, taped them, and still have them. Now, more and more teachers and companies are creating DVDs. For someone like me who can no longer access Nancy Zeiman, or Pokey Bolton's Quilting Arts show on tv, the DVDs fill that gap. The first one I want to tell you about is Pamela Allen presents Think Like an Artist. I'm crazy for Pamela's quilted collage work--it's got such a personal style and is so colorful that I can spot it in an instant. And so who but an artist of her caliber would be best to talk to me about thinking like an artist. I suspect I was expecting a lecture on all the basic elements that need to go into something called art. A formal design class perhaps? What you get is charming, unassuming Pamela being her open, friendly self as she builds a work of art and tells us what she's thinking. I love hearing about someone's design process. I can relate when she keeps touching her fabrics and her stitching. Aren't we all tactile like that? I have to laugh when she doesn't know much about fabric because it obviously doesn't matter to her process what quality she's using. By the time she gets to describing her embellishments, I'm ready to go out the door to the five and dime and see what I can find to sew or glue to my own work! Her discussion of tools is invaluable. I was nervous about getting a dremel to drill holes, but no more. This 2 hour DVD complete with outtakes, is distributed by Martingale & Co. online and likely at many quilt shops.

OK, so what does this wonderful, inspiring DVD have to do with wearable art? My thinking is that you can create a panel for the back or a shoulder, you can make a yoke, patch pockets, little fancy elements--there are endless possibilities with the techniques you see here. Now I realize that Pamela uses polyester batting--don't do that all over in a garment unless you really want that puffy overstuffed look--but it can work in small elements like little rectangles or circles or whatever. If you want to quilt it as solidly as Pamela does, remember it will make the piece stiff. Again, consider where you can incorporate a stiff piece in your garment. Pamela also doesn't expect her pieces to be touched much, let alone worn or washed. We have to stitch everything down or make the piece removable for when you wash your garment. Then there are those of us who never wash our wearable art, just wear it gently, air it out, and protect it from dirt and wear and tear--they can add whatever they want. I'm envisioning making a rectangle with a still life or some such, then cutting it up into pieces to be appliqued onto a jacket. It will have color and texture and be interesting to see. I also envisioned making a large rectangular portrait, using flannel instead of batting, quilting just enough to keep some drape, then cutting out neck and front opening, and sewing it into a kimono. Large design elements can become just texture and interesting lines when you use them in clothing. Don't hold me to this, I don't know when I'll have time to try it. But do let me know if you try it yourself and we can post a photo here.


NIne Patch Media said...

This amazing DVD is also available from Nine Patch Media, the publishers. Along with the Pamela's DVD, Nine Patch Media also has Pamela's Embellishment Kit. It's full of quirky and wonderful embellishments to get you started on her art quilt technique.

Rosalie Cooke said...

Thank you for that information. I knew about Nine Patch Media because I have the DVD but since I got a review copy from Martingale I used their information. Just to let you know why and how. However, I will now post your url along with others. I didn't know about the embellishment kit, sounds like something that would excite me. I'll check it out, thanks. Rosalie