Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Terrie Mangat's "Labor Day Fireworks"

I've just returned from Case Western University Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio where I've been visiting a very dear relative. I cannot give enough praise to the Medical Intensive Care Unit there...they've been voted the best MICU in the country for five years in a row and I saw firsthand why that is so.

My days were spent mostly in the room of my loved one (who is starting to do better, thank God)...but taking a break to go downstairs to the cafeteria, I would pass this extraordinary quilt each day.
By the end of my time there the quilt had become a most exciting old friend, and a true source of comfort and inspiration.

Here is its description:

I have long known about this quilt and also have been a huge fan of Terrie Mangat's for years. As you will learn below, she was influenced by someone who has meant a great deal to me in my own crazy quilting life....so I felt a special kinship to this piece and it brought me joy every day I was at the hospital.

(It is behind plexiglass...I tried to get as little reflection as possible in my photos.)

The thing with Terrie is that she was a pioneer of the fearless use of materials and processes in her quilts. While the art quilt world has been profoundly affected by her early use of embellishments, of course we know that crazy quilters had been embellishing for a century before Terrie started doing it.
But Terrie was one of the first to totally abandon any conventional aesthetic of embellishment on quilts. I doubt she considers her work crazy quilting at all....
...but I do. Her use of all kinds of fabrics, her deliberate but spontaneous piecing, her wild but focused use of embellishment, continually developing her surface: all mean crazy quilting to me.
Of course, she paints over the whole thing as part of her process, and that makes her unique.

Let's take a closer look.

She has pieced the foundation, added sequined appliques, painted over that....

Sometimes she has applied the sequins directly into the wet paint. After the paint dried she added more stitching and what looks like puff paint lines to depict the firework's trails of smoke.
Truly, how cool is this?!

Those green glass beads along the top were stuck on into wet glitter glue. I so love how she painted right over the velvet....

She used zippers.
She used pipe cleaners.
The white sequins are sewn over what looks like a pieces of a cut up sweater, and I can somehow imagine Terrie peeling off what she was wearing that day, and rabidly cutting it up because it was just right for the background of the white sequins...

It is the volcanic energy combined with the long term commitment of time for all the handwork involved that compells me so.

You can read more about Terrie in one of the fantastic "Save Our Stories" collection of interviews of quilters (numbering more than 900 now) on the website of the Alliance For American Quilts here.
In that interview you will learn that an early influence on her was our own Martha Green, crazy quilter extraordinaire and a huge inspiration to me. They were friends in Oklahoma City back in the 1970's.
"Yeah, Terrie and I go way back..." Martha told me when I asked her about this.

Terrie's own website is here.

I mentally thanked Terrie every time I walked by this quilt, for its gorgeous blast of energetic freedom. It's just exactly what is appropriate and needed in a hospital setting.....

14 comments :

Vicki W said...

I'm glad your family member is doing better and thank you for sharing the story behind that wonderful quilt with us!

Marty52 said...

It would be great fun to play like that with a quilt. I'll bet you saw something new in it every day, didn't you? So glad your relative is doing better!

Sparklyjools said...

An incredible and inspiring quilt, thank you for sharing that Allie. I am so glad that your loved one is getting better, I am concerned for 2 of my family who are ill at present, and things can seem very dark at these times - so it's lovely to hear the good news that your relative is improving.
Jules x

Gail said...

I love fabric art. Thank you for sharing it.

Plays with Needles said...

So glad that things have settled. I truly enjoyed the story of the quilt...esp the mixture of the smoke and the colors...What a riotous mix of everything under the sun and I guess that's the point. Glad you're home...

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Thank you for showing that...it's a wonderful, inspirational quilt. I don't know too many people who would be able to undertake doing fireworks.
So glad to hear your loved one is doing better.

Summerset said...

Amazing. What a great piece in such a place. Glad to hear things are better with your relative and you found a peaceful (pieceful?) spot in the midst of it all.

Debra said...

I've been a Terrie fan from the very first day I laid eyes on her work in a magazine in the very early 1980s. I saw some of her work at Houston this last year and it was like chatting with an old friend. I had poured over the pictures of those pieces for years. What a thrill to see her work in a hospital where everything is so controlled.

Glad to also hear your relative is better too. Welcome back.

Possibilities, Etc. said...

This is awesome! The energy and beauty of that is wonderful for a hospital. I'm sure one would not tire of exploring it. Glad you're back, and that all is well so far.

Raspberry said...

Wow - that is intense. Hats off for a huge amount of work and effort. I bet it's so much fun to look at up close (besides your pictures of course).

Nellie's Needles said...

Glad to hear your family member is doing better.

Thank you for sharing your feelings and reactions to, as well as the history of this amazing quilt ... amazing on may levels. How in the world did she ever manipulate the humongous size of it through the sewing machine?

Barbara C said...

That is some fearless embellishment all right. I think sometimes we get distracted by the pursuit of perfection and forget about the impact of breaking conventions. This piece is a nice reminder.

I'm glad your family member is doing better. Welcome home.

Kay said...

Allie, I hope you continue to have good news from your loved one.

araon said...

Your blog is really cool! I will wait when you finish. Thank you for interesting articles.
more templates web application