About the Hive Project
"...it is a gift to be simple, but this is a gift that enables, deepens, clarifies, and finally ennobles"
-Surface Design Journal
"...use craft associated materials in genre-busting ways."
-Baltimore City Paper
I give you... QUILTZILLA!!
-ArtCheck News, KABB-TV19, San Antonio, TX
NOW IN THE COLLECTION OF THE INTERNATIONAL QUILT STUDY CENTER & MUSEUM, the Hive Project is a collaborative installation by twelve artists from the Washington, DC area New Image Group, many of the whom are nationally known quilt artists, teachers and authors who were looking for a way to enlarge the scope of the quilt as an art medium, and to bring it into public view.
Conceived by group member Patricia Autenrieth, it is so named to pay homage to the traditional bee, part of quilting's unique history. It is a variable installation comprising 768 twelve-inch quilted squares and its look changes every time it is shown, inviting each venue's curator into the collaboration.
Each artist made 64 separately hung 12" squares, with her choice of subject, to be hung in a grouping that allows its outer columns to intermix with those of other groupings.
While New Image members have long experience with collaboration, this remains their most ambitious.
NEW IMAGE* was founded in 1980 by artists interested in expanding the artistic range of the quilt medium. In addition to making their own work and exhibiting together, members have made several collaborations that have been exhibited locally and nationally in such exhibitions as Quilt National ’95 in Athens, OH, and the Museum of American Quilters Society in Paducah, KY. The group has been the subject of study by the American Quilt Study Group (Uncoverings 1997, Vol. 18 of the Research Papers of the AQSG), Art/Quilt Magazine and in Motherwork: Art and Quilts by Diane De Vaul, a Ph.D. thesis on material culture comparing traditional and art quilt groups.
* Not related to painting movement of the same name in the 1980's.
PATRICIA AUTENRIETH began exhibiting as a painter but in 1985 switched to the quilt medium. She has shown in group and solo exhibits locally, nationally and internationally including the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC, in Quilt National, Athens, OH (1993 and 2003), and in Visions: QuiltArt (1996) and Quilt Expressions (1998) in San Diego, CA. She has written articles for Art/Quilt Magazine and her work is reproduced in many publications including Robert Shaw’s The Art Quilt Kate Lenkowsky's Contemporary Quiltart. In 2007 she received a project grant from the Prince George's Arts Council, and in 1996 and 2000 she received Individual Artist Awards from the Maryland State Arts Council.
“I chose to use my signature polka dots in a simple palette and a traditional repeated block format combining domestic images with quilting outlines of traditional piecing patterns. I wanted the polka dots to function in the whole project the way they function in my own work, as a kind of organized background noise to be interpreted, alternately, as comical and ominous, and not as a grouping with a more distinctive presence since my concept controlled how everyone else organized their designs. The Hive Project put me outside of my comfort zone because I had to accept all ideas and treat them as equals.”
JEANNE BENSON is a quiltmaker, teacher, and author. She has exhibited as a solo artist and in invitational exhibitions. Her work has been juried into national shows and included in the State Department’s Arts-in-Embassies Program and in two SITES exhibits. She has taught techniques and design in quiltmaking since 1983 and for The Smithsonian Associates since 1988. In 1997 she received an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council. Her book, The Art and Technique of Appliqué was published in 1991.
“I like clean lines, simple statements, and clear graphics and strive for these in my work. The group had already begun the Hive Project when I joined on. The project’s title led me directly to Grandmother’s Flower Garden (honeycomb) of quilt tradition and the hexagon. This piece is a dialogue about a geometric shape that moves effortlessly between the art of nature and the art of the American quilt.”
Formerly a graphic designer, ARDYTH DAVIS began working in fiber in 1975. She won Award of Excellence in 1985 at Quilt National, received an NEA/MAF Fellowship in 1989. She has exhibited extensively here and abroad and her work is in private and corporate collections .
“For the Hive Project I continued experimenting with shapes and pattern derived from pleating cloth. Using cotton and acrylic paint was a different direction for me, as was making 64 variations of one idea. Discovering a new way of working opened up ways to use pleating and patterning together, and I have already used the technique in new work. Very exciting to do the work, even more exciting to see all 704 squares together.”
MICHELE DUELL'S career as a fiber artist began at age five, when she fashioned doll clothes out of old socks. She has exhibited nationally and internationally and has been awarded Juror's Choice in Tactile Architecture 1994 and 1995 and second place, professional wall quilt division, at the American Quilter's Society show in 1994. Her work has been published in Art/Quilt Magazine, Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, Traditional Quiltmaker, American Quilter, and Log Cabins: New Quilts from Old Tradtions. Her work is in public and private collections.
"I like big. I like to make a statement. I like to try new things and enjoy taking risks. The Hive Project combined all of those elements. The roots of my contribution are in a small black and white study done in 1993, translated here into a celebration of redness. [I used] my own hand-dyed red fabric to execute the whole concept."
AMANDA FORD is a self-taught fiber artist. Her work has been juried into shows such as Tactile Architecture, Quiltfest USA, American Quilter's Society, and Friends of Fiber Arts International. Her Judaic pieces have been featured in The Breman Jewish Heritage Museum, Atlanta, GA, The Yeshiva University Museum, NY, and her commissions hang throughout the United States and include The Jewish Theological Seminary. Also an accomplished author and teacher, she has written articles for Traditional Quilter, and American Quilter.
“The Hive Project provided some very complicated design problems that made it one of my more challenging and therefore rewarding pieces. One, how to combine with and complement a larger whole; two, still maintain my own style and integrity; and three, how to deal with its massive size. I wanted my idea to be able to sweep the viewer through unrelated units without confusion since the concept had the potential to create chaos to some viewers. I chose to solve these problems by designing a contiguous piece that even when cut up would be recognizable as belonging to its whole. Then, I trusted the other artist, believing that her process, like mine, would bring us together.”
A graduate of Pratt Institute, LESLY-CLAIRE GREENBERG has exhibited quilts and wearable art locally, nationally and internationally, including Quilt Expo in Kalsruhe, Germany, the Museum of American Folk Art in New York, NY and Arrowmount School of Art in Gatlinburg, TN. She also conducts workshops throughout the U.S. and has written the book, Sewing on the Line. Her work has appeared in numerous publications and is in many private collections.
“Somewhere the idea presented itself that my previous directions were actually plaids, and I could, using this simple plan, create a large plaid alternating over and under...The process of completing the squares with each block passing through my hands more than six times bonded me indelibly on the project. I felt more like an artist wielding brush than a seamstress with needle. There had been a closeness missing between me and my work... The completed project Hive is much grander than I could have imagined. Hive is at once mathematical, quiltlike and the extreme collaboration.”
DOROTHY HOLDEN has shown her quilted art widely and images of it have appeared in the landmark book, Spirits of the Cloth, Contemporary African American Quilt Art by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, and elsewhere. She has created much commissioned work, and received several awards. Now, she no longer accepts awards, but prefers to help select new awardees. She considers helping to increase the placement of quilted art pieces and the art works of African American contemporaries in public places her biggest achievement.
“After much starting and stopping on the Hive Project, it finally occurred to me to rearrange the lines of each letter of my name creatively on each fabric square. The blocks appeared oriental in effect, relaxed, unstructured, and sometimes dramatic with the blue and green palette which seemed somewhat incompatible with others' work. After being diagnosed with pneumonia, I never imagined such a welcome challenge would help heal my spirits and body. Does physical illness affect art?”
CATHERINE KLEEMAN is a self-taught fiber artist who has exhibited work nationally and internationally, including Hanging By a Thread, Flagstaff, AZ; American Quilter's Society Show, Paducah, KY; Art Quilts at the Sedgwick in Philadelphia; the Aullwood Audubon show, Dayton, OH; and the International Quilt Festival in Houston. She has won many awards for her work, including an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council in 2001. Her quilts have appeared in several magazines, and she has written for The Professional Quilter. Her work is in numerous private collections.
I joined HIVE two years after the project had been completed and I was excited to be included in such an impressive undertaking. Much of my work focuses on the circle shape and I wanted to continue that theme here. I constructed, then sliced and reconstructed energetic circles, and placed them against complementary backgrounds in blocks that were similar in design but unique in fabric assemblage. Working on many blocks with repeating designs reminded me of traditional quilt making but with each block individually finished and able to stand on its own, this task was nothing like tradition.
DOMINIE NASH is primarily self-taught as a quilt/surface design artist.She has been making art quilts since 1985 and has exhibited in many juried, invitational and solo exhibits, including Quilt National ’93, ’95 and ’99 in Athens, OH and Full Deck Art Quilts, at the Renwick Gallery, Washington, DC. She has received several grants from the Montgomery County, Maryland State Arts Council . Her work is included in the collection of the Renwick Gallery and in publications such as The Art Quilt by Robert Shaw.
“Color is the most important element in my work; the number 64 triggered an association with boxes of 64 crayons which I coveted as a child; now I could buy a box and use those colors in my work. The leaves, collected from my garden, represent another passion which is reflected in much of my work. In the Hive, many disparate artistic concerns interlace successfully to form a powerful visual whole; this is the fascination of the project for me.”
SUE PIERCE has been exploring the collage aspects of art quilts for 20 years, with the collection of interesting fabric and pattern as an important part of the process. The results reflect a witty sensibility and have won her place in numerous international exhibitions and collections, including that of the Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Pierce curated and organized Full Deck Art Quilts, a 1993 landmark survey of the state of art quilting.
“My concept was to present fragments of household textiles like precious artifacts. The work became a series of 64 variations on a theme as I collected new and vintage domestic linens, savoring their history and cultural implications. I found myself putting many faces of domesticity on a pedestal. The work was surprisingly satisfying. I never worried about how mine would fit into the Hive Project, but saw it more as an individual exhibit within a gallery of delights.”
Richmond, VA artist LINDA TILTON [deceased] is known for many quilt innovations, among them three-dimensional quilts and quilting with metal. Her work has been exhibited locally and nationally in group and solo shows including Form and Expression in Houston, TX, Tactile Architecture at the Decatur House in Washington, DC and the James River Gallery in Richmond, VA. She is a member of Richmond Craftsman’s Guild and the Art Services Network, among other groups, and she has managed the Potomac Craftsmen Gallery in Alexandria, VA. She has won numerous awards and her work is in many private collections.
“All in all, it was marvelous to be a part of something in which the whole is decidedly greater than the sum of the parts. I’m so glad that I persevered. I learned a thousand practical and technical things that I’ll be able to use as long as I quilt. And a thousand coping mechanisms that will hold me in good stead whenever I ‘suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.’”
MICHELE VERNON is a quilt artist residing in Virginia. She has been fabricating art quilts since 1988. While training as a graphic designer she developed an interest in fabric as a medium and a lifelong fascination with maps and town planning. Michele's work has been exhibited at Quilt National 1997, in Athens, OH, Visions: Quilt Expressions (1998) in San Diego, CA, and at the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery and has appeared in several publications including Art Quilts: Playing With a Full Deck.
“I loved working on the Hive Project. I continued my use of map imagery with a series of roads across the entire surface. The roads lead into the adjacent works forming a connection. The theme of connection is central to the Hive and the people who worked on it together. My recent series is called Intersections. To me Hive is a super intersection.”