EPM 2022 - Festival of colors
Do you believe that dreams come true? I dreamed about visiting the European Patchwork meeting in Val d`Argent, France for a long time. This year I finally got the chance to go there, though not as a visitor. I participated in the 27th European Patchwork meeting (EPM) September 15-18, 2022 with my own exhibition “Exploring colors, shapes and negative space” and lecture “Free motion quilting magic”. It was fantastic to meet fellow quilters from different countries and see their interest in my work. There was always a crowd around my table when I demonstrated free motion quilting on a domestic sewing machine Pfaff Quilt Expression 720.
All of my quilts got so much love and attention. The two questions I got asked the most were "Is it possible to quilt large quilts on a domestic sewing machine?" and "Was that quilt made from old jeans??" I was happy to see that people really appreciated my works from recycled materials.
Textile art enthusiasts consider the EPM to be one of the world's three biggest textile art events. Every year, it offers all kinds of textile work, ranging from patchwork to embroidery, mixed media to dyeing and thread painting.
This year there were about 1000 works to marvel in 46 diversified exhibitions, as well as over 30 artists and collectors. 9 exhibitions were dedicated to traditional patchwork, 10 exhibitions to modern and contemporary artists, and 10 exhibitions to textile arts.
The 2022 edition of the EPM had a special focus on Spanish speaking countries. Fourteen artists and groups came from Spain, Argentina, Chili, Guatemala and Mexico, with each of them having a unique textile identity.
I absolutely love the concept of the EPM where the public can meet artists in person. You look at the artworks differently when you hear artists passionately speaking about their inspiration; with their vision and process fascinating you. You also realize that they are not patchwork gods, but instead ordinary people, just like we are. No matter what language we speak, we understand each other perfectly because we all share a love for Patchwork.
It is impossible to mention all artists, but I would like to share what caught my eye and put faces to beautiful work.
Incredible improvisational works by Cecilia Koppmann (Argentina) made entirely with self-dyed fabrics. She uses mixture of cotton and silk, contrast of brightness and textures and color gradation in a most fascinating way.
She also coordinated the “Quarantine Quilt” megaproject in social media in 2020 that brought together over 600 women from 26 countries to make a traditional quilt.
Carolina Oneto (Chilie) is a well-known quilter with a very distinctive style. Her modern art is an inspiring journey through the color and shapes, improvisation and mathematics. I have been following Carolina on Instagram for quite a few years, and I truly say that I admire her beautiful work and use of color. Having learnt patchwork with Cecilia Koppmann, her teacher, it was very symbolic and poetic to have both a teacher and a former student exhibiting their art works in the same hall.
I absolutely loved meeting with Priscilla Bianchi (Guatemala) and discovering her stunning art quilts bursting with bold and happy colors.
Pricilla's work is a fusion of cultures, as she combines Guatemalan hand-woven textiles with American quilt making. She brought to France several traditional Guatemalan shirts with hand embroidery that inspired her to make some incredible art pieces. Her art is a feast for the eyes, with it being akin to reading a fascinating book. The more you look the more you discover and the more you get drawn in. Firstly, you see beautiful colors and shapes, then you discover prints and textures and then, you simply can´t take your eyes off the amazing art pieces. While the designs may look simple, they are in fact anything but that, with lots of skills and math going into creating those pieces.
Modern elegant Pojagi by Maryse Allard (France) made entirely by hand. Looking at her impeccable work and tiny stitches, it is hard to believe that she is completely self-taught in the realm of Pojagi.
She uses fine natural fabrics such as self-dyed cotton organdy, organza, silk and fine linen. While she pays tribute to traditional Korean ancestral art, her pieces are made from a distinctly European perspective.
Her creations are transparent, light and airy, yet also graphical. Straight lines, curves and circles create incredible patterns as the light shines through them, with them moving with the slightest ripple in the air. Her art is like meditation, you get fascinated by the transparency and movement of the pieces. Maryse's work brings a distinct peace of mind and feeling of tranquility.
When she works, she doesn´t make a lot of sketches, but mainly has a vision of the finished Bojagi in her eyes. She doesn´t stop working before the piece conforms exactly to her vision. In addition to Korean elements, she is also inspired by the Bauhaus period and Art Deco architecture. In my view, her modern interpretation of Korean ancestral art is very close to Scandinavian style.
Scott Culley (USA) is a self-taught textile artist who designs his own foundation paper piecing patterns to create vibrant and complex portraits. My absolute favorite is Mask #3, in which he explores the idea of blending different repressed emotions, and then pulling them apart.
Mask #3 is on the image's right
If you view the quilt using colored lenses, you can separate and individually explore feelings that we as people bottle up inside. Without colored lenses, you feel the chaos produced by overlapping unexpressed emotions. His work examines the spectrum of Mourning and Masculinity. The way we mourn and remember our loved ones is fascinating to Scott, probably because one of his biggest fears is losing somebody close to him. For Scott, theme of Masculinity comes from growing up questioning his sexuality, with him not quite knowing where to fit in. On the outside, he was supposed to act one way, with that conflicting with his inner self. Dealing with that struggle and shame that got cast upon him is something that he deals with through his art.
Angela Minaudo's (Italy) incredible textile art was simply mind blowing. Her exhibition "Faces of Humanity: A Thousand Stories" was just across my exhibition.
Her art tells the stories of her life, values, family, culture and roots. Her textile portraits are almost true to life. They resonate with you on another, deeper level, and bring out a whole sleuth of emotions.
I returned home full of colorful memories, inspirations, new friendships and ideas for future works and possible collaborations. Let's see where it takes me...
Special thanks to Pfaff Suomi and FinnQuilt for sponsoring.