I’m having difficulty determining what ‘Contemporary Patchwork’ might be in 2015. If I had been asked to describe my wall hanging, I might have referred to it as ‘collage’, rather than ‘patchwork’.
As a textile artist, I consider some of Dorothy Caldwell and Matthew Harris’ work as a form of contemporary patchwork:
I first looked at and posted about Matthew Harris’s work on 15th April 2015. Looking again now at his Lantern Cloth in relation to patchwork, I notice that it includes multiple squares and rectangles of fabric, with frayed edges but stitched close and small so each layered piece melts into the next.
I like this effect, lots of small pieces and layers becoming one. There is a soft worn look about the fabric and the colours. The cloth is printed in red and blue with slight changes of tone or width of stripe providing much visual texture and interest. I like the use of reverse applique in this piece, the Andolan cloth and Fragments.
I posted about Dorothy Caldwell on 15th March 2015. Looking again at her work and concentrating on a detail of ‘Meeting Place’ thinking about patchwork, I note that she too has used printed cloth with slight variations in the size of the grid used in different patches of material.
There is imperfect printing adding texture. Tiny hand stitches secure some of the fabric whilst other pieces are freely stitched with lots of long stitches in the same direction creating energy.
As mentioned before, Dorothy Caldwell says “The vocabulary for her work is drawn from studying textile traditions and ordinary stitching practices such as darning, mending and patching.” Both her work and Matthew Harris’ is suggestive of such practices.
More decorative, Mandy Pattullo’s work has elements of patchwork, although she describes it as based on collage techniques. She uses hand stitch and combines patching and piecing of fabrics, applique, found objects and vintage embroidery.
Louise Baldwin and Junko Oki also include some patching in their work, although decorative stitches dominate.