Monday, April 26, 2010

Erin Wilson's Quilted Short Stories

Illustration: Erin Wilson. Short Story #4, 2009.

The textile artwork of Erin Wilson at first seems effortlessly simple. Small boxes are repeated in a composition that includes regular rows and columns. However, when you consider that each small frame has been individually and consciously designed as a unique composition, and that some of Wilson's finished pieces can incorporate a large number of individual small framed art pieces, then the task set by the artist becomes much more one of quiet construction, with each individual square being seen as a world in itself.

All the fabrics are hand dyed by Wilson and so therefore, each compositional piece of artwork takes that hand dying into consideration, bringing a harmony and balance to the many individual works that go into making Wilson's textile pieces.

Illustration: Erin Wilson. Short Story #5, 2009.

In some respects, the artist has taken the idea of the mechanics of quilting and the production of pattern work into the realms of personal exploration and identity. Each one of the squares shown in these examples of Wilson's work is a window to a creative story. What is impressive is the number of unique creative stories that the artist has incorporated into some of her finished pieces of work. There are textile compositions where the artist has incorporated up to 168 individual squares, each one personally produced with the optimum in balance, proportion and harmony.

Wilson's work is one of both dedication and a unique awareness of the many individual aspects of creativity that layer each piece of textile artwork. She works hard to harness the compatability of all strands of her compositions. Her work can be seen and appreciated in both close detail and as a larger whole. There is an accord between each individual frame and its neighbour. All can then become part of a much larger and more dynamic framework. 

Illustration: Erin Wilson. Short Story #3, 2009.

In many respects, Wilson's compositions can be seen as representations of tenements or housing blocks. Overall, housing blocks are standardised and constructed from mass produced elements with no room for personal flare or individuality. However, within these externally standardised communities each window bares a slightly different vista to the world, despite the regular repetition of each frame. This gives us an analogy whereby we become aware that even though all windows are the same, the people looking through them are all uniquely individual with a life story of achievements and dreams that are unique to them and shared by no one else. However, all the unique windows go on to make a larger whole, so while we are all relatively isolated in our uniqueness, we are still all part of the human community and the ongoing story of that community. In fact, as the titles suggest, these can all be seen as varied and universally distinct short stories.

 Illustration: Erin Wilson. Short Story #1, 2008.

Perhaps Wilson is giving us a glimpse of our own potential to be creative within the framework of our lives. We may all be made from the human template, but we also have the ability to create the parameters of our own distinctiveness.

Erin Wilson is a full time textile artist and has shown her work across the US. She has a comprehensive website where much of her unique work can be seen. The link to her website can be found below, as always in the reference links section.

Illustration: Erin Wilson. Short Story #2, 2009.

All images were reproduced with the kind permission of the artist.

Reference links:


Gerrie said...

I love these pieces!! Thanks again for introducing me to a new artist - new to me, anyway!!

L. Eckstein said...

Wonderful variety within the controlled palettes and repeated format.

pansypoo said...

louise nevelson(sp) of fabric.

Robbie said...

I'm struck by your sentence: "We may all be made from the human template, but we also have the ability to create the parameters of our own distinctiveness." Interesting! I might just keep this on my desk! Thanks again for keeping us inspired, educated and just entertained!

John Hopper said...

Thanks for all your comments about this and the other posts concerning some our contemporary textile artists.

There will be more artists to follow shortly.

Kari L√łnning said...

How fun to read this now (in 2014) and to see how Erin's color palette has grown, and flourished. WOW!

John Hopper said...

Yes, these articles were written some time ago now Kari, and a lot of the artists have moved on from these early days, but as you say, it is interesting to see where they are now compared to these articles.