and...stitches THE MOST exquisite art quilts.
To see his jeweled handwork in person was an enormous pleasure. If you are
anywhere near the area, I hope you'll visit the La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum
and see these beauties for yourself.
Thom Atkin's one-person exhibit, 'Ten Years of Beaded Quilts,' will be up until March 25th.
This piece is comprised of five panels, the large center one shown here.
but believe me,
there are no pictures that can come close to capturing what they look like
when they are a few inches from your face...get there if you can.
what happens when you pile four bead-smitten, textile-smitten gals into one vehicle
and head off to see an exhibit such as the likes of this?
Nothing short of a totally splendid & inspiring time, that's what!
I'll show you a few things that really knocked my socks off.
At the helm of our merry band was my dear bead friend, Robin Atkins...
Thom Atkins is Robin's brother. Can you believe that all this beadiness is in ONE family?!
She's posted about Thom's exhibit over on her blog, Beadlust...go check it out, it's a lovely read.
Needless to say, she is one proud sister.
A special thrill for me was to see an entire wall filled with Thom's pieces from
the Bead Journal Project, 2007. That was one of the years that I participated
and I remember watching his pieces show up on the BJP website...
oh, how wonderful to see them in person, at last!
But before I go on, I hope you will all bear with me in regards to the color & quality
of the photos here. Geesh, it was tough shooting in there...low, tungsten light
which cast a yellow glow on everything...camera's ISO pushed to the max....so I've opted for
just getting these images up here (rather than spending hours & hours tweaking in PE).
The beauty of Thom's work will come through, even if the photography fell short...
9" x 13"
January was one of my favorites from the BJP (click on the name above to see it on Thom's website)
...I love his beaded interpretation of the feeling of sideways rain...
and the way that bottom edge is beaded...those rain drops are hand carved Labradorite beads.
Here is some more beautiful rain...
detail from, The Man in the Window
It was easy to be swept up in the details. Many of the quilts were quite large, like this one
which hangs in two panels...I kept moving up for a closer look.
50" x 53"
Click on the photos to see the details better.
If you go, plan on lots of time for staring. I was spellbound by the iguana in The Lotus Eater...
his back is entirely covered with tortoiseshell dagger beads...splendid!
detail from The Lotus Eater
31.5" x 37"
detail from Monterey Seascape
27" x 36"
I think Robin and I were not alone swooning over this underwater habitat...truly incredible.
Can you tell this was an exhibit filled with viewers' expletives?! That central branching
plant is constructed of triangular seed beads...must be one of finest uses of that shaped bead
that I have ever seen, so expressive of that plant's jointed structure...
detail from Coral
Although not a quilter myself per se, I have great appreciation for the skill involved in letting
fabric dictate line & motion, for taking traditional methods and making one's own marks with them...
for embellishing personal stories in one's own particular voice...
detail from Australian Aboriginal meets American Indian
For me, Thom's creations are as bold, and strong and as expressive as a very fine opera,
filled to the brim with his very distinctive voice!
Here's Robin with her "little" brother, Thom.
I'd say they are both beaming, wouldn't you?
: : :
Thom has a book coming out in the fall, on quilting with beads.
Stay tuned for that one...I'll write a reminder when it hits the streets.
And if you can't wait to learn more about his methods, rumor has it that Thom will be teaching soon-ish
right there at the La Conner Quilt Museum...
news to be posted about this ~ and the link to sign up ~ on the museum's website
starting on January 18th.
Ok...I'm going to spill some more beans and let you know that Robin has agreed to teach
two half-day workshops there herself...
it's all too, too beadiful indeed!
: : :
February UPDATE! Registration is now open for the Quilt Fest Workshops (happening in early October, 2012) to be held at the La Conner Quilt Museum, WA, where both Thom and Robin will be teaching their extraordinary techniques and sharing their talent. Thom's workshops include, "Bead Embroidery for Quilters," "Beaded Bezels & Borders," and "Improvisational Bead Embroidery." Robin will be teaching "Beaded Buttons" and "Beaded Fringe Techniques." Click on this direct link for the workshop descriptions and registration.