Pamela Allen's infectious enthusiasm for spontaneous quilt making had me sketching before the end of this rich two-hour DVD. I seldom sketch, but the dozens of quilts she showed inspired me! The irony of that response is that Pam would not recommend sketching at all. No. Scissors are her drawing tool.
She just dives right into cutting three values of fabric into pieces big enough to cover the backing and batting she pre-prepares by spray basting them. Her quilting and embellishing hold the layers of her pictorial wall-hanging fiber art together.
Pamela thinks in pictures; I would bet on it. She loves putting symbolism in her quilting stitches and her appliquéd pictures. She draws from her childhood up to her current life for inspiration. Her fabrics are of every fiber and type, including stretch knits. Mostly she buys clothing at thrift stores to gather her stash. She loves to touch her pictures. She appliqués the pieces by hand, using floss and big stitches on the scissor-cut edge and other stitches for decoration and portraying the symbolism she wants you to see. Stitching is an element she uses extensively, with or without embellishments - texture abounds in her art. (**bag of embellishments)
Pamela's quilt style stimulates conversation and invites the viewer to look longer and discover her many elements . About half of the DVD is like a gallery visit, where we are viewing her quilts while she explains her source of inspiration for the theme she had in mind. Good close-up views are included. In the other half, we watch and listen as she goes about spontaneously making a wall hanging. It appeared her choices were not preplanned or scripted in any way. Clearly she loves making art by auditioning both fabrics and shapes. She urges the viewer to work fast to make decisions rather than go back and forth trying to decide. It was her goal to teach us "to think like an artist." The word detached came to my mind. Don't get hung up on your favorite fabric or shape, go with what you find first that works, then stick with it.
The naturalness of her working style makes this DVD stand out from the others I have seen and enjoyed too. It is a less structured lesson and I felt Pamela came across in a very personal manner. She even includes the bloopers as a menu option, which adds humor and appreciation for how nervous she was, but didn't show it. She makes you smile because of her passionate pursuit for the craft and it's possibilities. She describes her approach to making fabric postcards by showing before and after visuals of postcards being made.
If you prefer rules and details and specifics from a teaching DVD, then this one definitely won't appeal to you. Pamela is totally free-wheeling - 'the anything goes if it looks good to you' approach. She takes quilting seriously and enters shows and challenges, but she likes to do it her way.
I didn't realize I already knew Pamela's work until she showed a house moving-themed quilt that I took pictures of at Pacific International Quilt Festival a couple years ago. I loved how she had tiny kitchen utensils attached to the kitchen wall of the house. She titled it "It Always Rains on Moving Day" in 2005, 35"X40". Pamela says " I moved a great deal as a child and hated it. It didn't matter what the weather was really like, it always seemed to be raining. Each room of the house has embellishments and quilting describing their function. Cutlery and utensils for the kitchen and even a quilted bath tub and toilet!" Pamela makes any kind of knick-knack sew-able by using various tools to make holes it, which she demonstrates in the video.
Pamela's DVD is available here. There is a also a short video sampling out-takes from the DVD.
Great job Pamela. The quilt photos are also from Pamela, and used with her permission. Thanks for sharing your self, art and approach to art quilting.
Here is the entire quilt that encapsulates the area seen in the detail photo above on the right. It is titled "WANNA BITE?" 2008,45"x42". Pamela says "I think Eve has always gotten short shrift. After all, she introduced adventure and knowledge to the human race! Hardly forbidden fruit in my opinion"
**"Think Like an Artist" bags of embellishments for your quilts are available from www.willowwoodfibrearts.com. The bag includes some of your signature embellishments including plastic eggs, safety pins, dice, game pieces, keys, spools, thimbles, bobbins and much more.