August isnt typically the time when thoughts turn to things warm and cozy like quilts, but the ones on display this month at the Durango Arts Center can barely be called quilts anyway. They are, however, bona fide works of art.
Muses: Lifes Inspirations is Augusts exhibit in the Barbara Conrad Gallery, and the 43-piece show comes from the Front Range Contemporary Quilters. Member and Boulder native Barbara Yates Beasley said the group meets monthly in Westminster. The membership represents communities ranging from Colorado Springs to Fort Collins. She was one of a handful of members who attended last weeks opening at the arts center.
Texas fiber artist Naomi Adams juried Muses, which had 143 submissions and represents 28 artists. She juried by looking at photographs of the pieces.
For purposes of this exhibit, the word quilt takes on new meaning. These are fiber artists; fabric, dyeing, applique and a talent for stitching are the weapons in their arsenal, and they wield them with expertise. Beasley said the loosest interpretation of quilt is three layers front, back and filling and from there, it is up to the artists. It might be a sandwich of paper, metal or wood, but its still a quilt by the Contemporary Quilters definition.
Beasley said one of her typical creations can take up to 60 hours of work. Artists who dye their own fabrics spend even more time on each piece.
The time spent appears worth the effort. The centers exhibits director Mary Puller said several pieces already have been sold. Shes seen a steady flow of visitors to the Barbara Conrad Gallery.
Its been very well-received by locals and tourists, but Jeannie (Berger) and the committee deserve the credit, Puller said, referring to her predecessor.
Puller took over from Berger as exhibits director this summer. She said her philosophy will be to continue the balance of local and traveling exhibits in the Conrad Gallery for 2012, which will include a national glass show and a national ceramics show.
Im focusing on bringing in a few more traveling shows, Puller said.
Its exciting to me to have the opportunity to show more work from outside the community and have individuals from within the community curate it.