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Friday, May 19, 2017

Art with Fabric Blog Hop - Yayoi Kusama

This is the third time I run this blog hop... and this season I decided to add a twist in my search for inspiration in fine art pieces.

I wanted to focus on WOMEN ARTISTS!

I don't have any formal training in art... but I studied art history in highschool... and I don't think I EVER encountered a female artist in my studies... how is that possible???? There are many women depicted in paintings, sculptures, drawing, but why only male artists made it into art history books (at least the ones used in my school)???

So for this edition I decided to pick not one but two female artists whose work spoke to me.
On Wednesday I shared about Kara Walker...

My project is actually much bigger than today's piece: the beauty of these challenges is that they open my eyes to work and ideas that have infinite ways for me to grow.

For todays artist I choose a powerful and talented woman: Yayoi Kusama.

She is a Japanese artist and writer. Throughout her career she has worked on paintings, collages, soft sculptures, performance art, and environmental installations, most of which exhibit her thematic interest in psychedelic colors, repetition, and pattern. A precursor of the pop art, minimalist and feminist art movements, Kusama influenced her contemporaries such as Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, and George Segal and exhibited works alongside the likes of them.
In 2017, a 50-year retrospective of her work opened at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC. The exhibit featured six Infinity Mirror rooms, and is scheduled to travel to five museums in the US and Canada. You can read morea about her story on her Wiki Page
You should listen to Yayoi Kusama herself telling her story in this short video and in this BBC interview. Her work is so fascinating and how she channels her struggles with mental issues in art pieces that express her inner state is totally amazing.

Her work seems to me to interact very easily with my absolute love for Disney and to create a quilt that will include several artists, following the style of a recent Italian publication (Discover Art History with Disney Friends)... which as mentioned does not seem to include any female artist at least in the titles of the different volumes :( :(

Minnie Kusama, 20'' x 20''

My plan is to build 12'' blocks (like Minnie Kusama and Kara De Spell) surrounded by a fun sashing border that somehow relates to the main block. The yellow in the sashing is constant throughout the quilt, and I will be practicing free motion quilted feathers in those spaces.
Each block will be constructed mostly with raw edge applique and quilted individually.
Each block is finished by envelope turning it before quilting... and then I add a border of blanket stitches and a row of crochet border that will allow me to join all the blocks in a big quilt!

Having each block finished individually has several advantages:
  1. I can practice my FMQ in a small scale, without the frustration of managing a big quilt
  2. the blocks are really fast to assemble, so I easily get the satisfaction of a "finished" project
  3. once a block is quilted I can use the piece as a place mat, mini quilt or table runner until I actually have enough blocks to make a quilt! No unfinished objects hiding in a drawer waiting for the next step!
  4. the quilt can keep growing until I am bored or I run out of artists! And I can even switch blocks whenever I want, since joining crochet blocks is super fast and can be undone very easily
I don't know how a quilt like this will hold up in the wash, but I am willing to test it for many years to come!! 

Have you ever mixed techniques like this (crochet and quilting)? What do you think about it? Any advice?

Check out today's other amazing artists participating in the blog hop!


  1. I love your idea of joining finished Mini-quilts into a larger quilt with crochet/blanket stitches. We've thought often about projects like this, but I've always come across the problem of either having unfinished blocks sitting around for years, or finishing them without being able to reconnect them. Your idea is so clever! Thanks for inviting me to participate in the blog hop this year!

  2. Hi Alida, that's a great idea. It's fun to work on a main theme and putting them all in one quilt eventually makes you think about how they will all relate such as the sashing etc. As you say, it can also be used until you put them together. Good luck!

  3. That's a fun idea! It will be fun seeing how you use your creativity to pull this off - thanks for sharing on Midweek Makers

  4. Love this second block. I'm starting to see how your finished quilt will turn out. Again I say, this is such a clever idea, and I can't wait to see more.


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