Illustration: Carol Taylor. Bountiful quilt.
Carol Taylor is a quilter of international renown who has created nearly five hundred uniquely different quilts in her short career as an art quilter, which started in 1993. Taylor works in such a wide and varied theme and format, that choosing a small number of quilts in order to illustrate this article is very hard. However, I have decided to choose three quilts from her large body of work that I am both intrigued by and admire. These three quilts may well not be the first choice of many when considering the typical character of Taylor's work, but they do seem to highlight the balanced maturity that she has achieved with her departure from the traditional structure of the quilting medium.
Illustration: Carol Taylor. Bountiful quilt (detail).
The three quilts that I have chosen deal with the theme of nature in a semi-abstract manner. Using harmonious, balanced and sympathetic colour tones, along with the natural and effortless curve and sway that is such an intrinsic part of the world of the flora and fauna of the planet, Taylor has set an agenda whereby the marriage of the many elements that make up nature have come together in a frozen, magnified and personal moment in time. These are moments that revel in the many hues and tones of colour and texture that make up the natural world. However, although her colour and texture tones, as well as her choice of composition, are both bold and positive in their choices, there remains a definite element of fragility in the work, a fragility that is often lost when nature is observed and transposed using textiles as a medium, particularly when using the often rigid framework of the quilt.
Illustration: Carol Taylor. September Song quilt.
Much of the success of these three quilts lies with Taylor's ability to break out of the working framework of the quilt. Her sensitive interpretations of nature seem to delicately lie on top of the quilted background, as if they had been momentarily and spontaneously placed there, rather than stitched to the background. Because the foreground of each of these compositions is allowed to roam free, as if to find its own compositional harmony, the pieces are in no way forced or artificial and therefore cannot be contained within the usual heading of pattern or even decoration.
Illustration: Carol Taylor. September Song quilt (detail.
These quilt work pieces have been produced by an expert in the field. Someone who has a deep, intrinsic and sensitive outlook and understanding towards colour, tone and the harmony that can be achieved through composition, as well as a deep understanding of the quilting process itself. Taylor's work may well be considered to be studies in both colour and texture, but they are acute studies and that's what makes them work well beyond the remit of quilting, into the realms of fine art itself.
Illustration: Carol Taylor. Silhouettes quilt.
Carol Taylor's work has been seen in numerous exhibitions across the US and into Europe, we are lucky enough to have seen some of her work at exhibition in Birmingham here in the UK. She has gained numerous prizes and commendations, as well as many articles and features in publications for her outstanding contribution towards quilting, and indeed the creative process as a whole.
Illustration: Carol Taylor. Silhouettes quilt (detail).
Taylor has a very comprehensive website, which features much more of her work than I have shown here, and contains details about exhibitions and publications that also feature her work. There is also information concerning her teaching workshops, which she regularly holds. The website can be found here.
All images were used with the kind permission of the artist.
Carol Taylor Website