Boy was I wrong.
When in California recently, I wandered into the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, lured by a pretty scarf in the shop window. The main exhibition on at the time was called ‘Poetic License: The Art of Joan Schulze’, displaying 40-years of 'art quilts'. As usual, my curiosity got the better of me, and I had to have a look.
And am I glad I did.
'An Angel Equation' - image reproduced with the kind permission of Joan Schulze
Inside I discovered a retrospective of Joan Schulze’s prolific career as a fiber artist, a stunning collection so far from my naïve image of ‘quilting’ that I was genuinely shocked. Moody digital photographic images on silk, fused with painted textures and markmaking, stitch and funky storybook collage in a palette of breathtaking colours. It was nothing short of exquisite, and has changed the way I look at quilts forever. And I think that is much of the point of art - to make us question our own views and preconceptions. I might even buy myself a sewing machine.
The exhibition is on until May 9th. Do go and see it if you can. Peer at the work from up close, squint and stare, stand back and breathe it in. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Books of the week this week
ART: 'Layered, Tattered & Stitched' - inspired by my new-found interest in all things stitched(!) I bought this great book which is full of gorgeous fabric art project ideas
ADVENTURE: 'The Wild Places' - written by an old friend of mine, this book is breathtaking in places. As urban society encroaches ever further into the countryside, this dreamy book explores the few wild places left in Britain
STORY: The School of Essential Ingredients - read this in one sitting on the plane back from the US. A delicious novel for foodies