The Fitton Center for Creative Arts annual winter quilt show, "Harmony," wrapped up on January 6, but I walked through the exhibit at least a half dozen times after it opened in mid-November. Initially I was more interested in seeing John Leon's music-related sculptures, which were part of "Harmony." (Many of Leon's works you can see on the page linked to in the last sentence were in the Fitton Center show). I wasn't disappointed. Leon's work is excellent. It was nice to be able to walk around the sculptures and see them from all sides and different angles. The "Rondo" pieces, made from limestone, marble, and bronze, struck me as something that might translate into a visual poetry piece--"S" shapes and figure 8's and ampersands suggesting a G clef, the way that a static sculpture can seem to be moving--and this is what I came up with.

Rondomisterioso (Take 4)

The basic shapes are a reversed ampersand, an "S," a backslash, and some dots. The effects are computer manipulated, and this was the fourth version. Thus the clever parenthetical title "Take 4." A few days after I did this, I was talking with a friend who also happens to be a sculptor, and he mentioned that he likes working with metal because it's hands-on and doesn't involve sitting down and running something through Photoshop. Hmmm . . . sounds a lot like what I do, albeit I don't use Photoshop. I use something much cheaper. I started thinking about using my limited art and handwriting "skills" (quote marks indicating sarcasm in this case) and to try to avoid relying so much on computer manipulation, although that's still fun to do. I wanted to do things that were more hands-on, if not hand made. Like something quilters or fiber artists might make, for instance.

I've never looked too closely at quilts before, though, and they were a surprise to me. Most of the quilts in the "Harmony" show were created by members of the ART Quilt Group, all of whom are Cincinnati-area based artists. Three artists from outside the Cincinnati area were also part of the show. One of the non-Cincinnati area artists is Donna June Katz, from Chicago. One of Katz's pieces titled "Bottom of the Sky," had trilobites, insects, and earth-like planets scattered throughout a sort of Milky Way meets the dawn of creation background. Another piece, "Water Over Sky," you can see for yourself on this page on the Fiberarts Magazine website in a web gallery devoted to work by Katz and Cincinnati artist Renee Harris. Though not in the show, Katz's piece titled "Riparian Zone" at the bottom of the Fiberarts Magazine gallery page looks really interesting.

Other pieces that jumped out from the "Harmony" show included "A Goldening of Ginkos" and "Cloudless Sulphurs and Columbines" by Lynn M. Ticotsky. (Here is a link to Ticotsky's "A Goldening of Ginkos" from a 2006 show in Indiana. The Fitton Center's presentations of the quilts and sculptures in "Harmony" were well-done and very professional. They put on museum-quality shows. One excellent juxtaposition that I would love to be able to show you involved Patricia Gould's "Siberian Moonlight Sonata," a large and luminous landscape quilt depicting a snow-covered, birch-dotted Siberian nighttime scene that was hung on the back wall of the upstairs gallery, with two of Leon's wood-carved pieces "Downright Upright" and "The Seeker" situated in front of the quilt. Those three pieces were meant to be together. Cathy Mayhugh, the director of the Fitton Center's exhibitions does a good job designing the center's shows.) Carol Schlegel's "Bird Songs" was interesting. She used raised fabric rectangles and their shadows to create visual interpretations of bird songs. I wondered if she had seen the bird song sonograms that many birders use to study bird songs and their variations. Cris Fee's human figure dominated quilts were unique among the pieces in this show. An article about the "Harmony" show featuring a photo of Cris Fee and one of her pieces appeared in November in the Oxford Press.

All of the artists in "Harmony" were represented by work that was worth seeing, and I look forward to seeing more fiber art or quilt work art in the future.

I can't sew much less run a sewing machine. I'm barely able to patch holes in my insect nets. So after seeing "Harmony," I wanted to figure out a way to make something at least resembling a quilt. After some thought, I gave virtual quilting a shot. Here is a piece that is mostly hand drawn--the vertical and horizontal "weaves." The waves are computer manipulated. I couldn't get a decent hand drawn wave effect.

Next time I'll trot out a couple visual poetry virtual quilts that use the above thingy with items from my collection of bad photos of odd insects.