2014 Finish #1: "Chicago {by train}"; and an example of an artist's statement

Friday, March 21, 2014


Recently, my guild (Chicago Modern Quilt Guild) partnered with the Naperville MQG to challenge their members to create a mini-quilt, 36" on one side and 36" or smaller on every other side, with the theme being:

...once our quilts were complete, we were encouraged to submit an application to have them entered in the IQF's Rosemont, IL, show as a special exhibit. The IQF will select 10-15 quilts per guild for their show.


I'm not sure if mine has been or will be accepted or not, but it was a fun challenge to participate in.

I decided to theme my quilt on the map of the iconic Chicago rapid rail system - the "L" or "El" (elevated train). Chicago uses a color-coded system to denote each line within the light-rail system, as shown below.
Image Courtesy of CTA.com
...and here is my spin on it:
"Chicago {by train}"
24"x 36"
by Erin Davis of Sew at Home Mummy
Improv pieced & machine quilted
"Chicago {by train}"
detail
...I had to include an artist's statement, and I had a heck of a time drafting one. Which, if you know me in real life, writing and talkin' yer ear off isn't usually a problem for me. I've kissed the Blarney more than once and it shows.

I thought I'd include it here, just in case anyone is ever at a loss when writing their's and needs a bit of inspiration. I'm not sure if it's really all that brilliant sounding, but I think I got my point across.

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Modern in the City: "Chicago {by train}", by Erin Davis (CMQG) 
 My quilt, "Chicago {by train}", draws inspiration from the Chicago Transit Authority color-coded map of the city's elevated rapid train system - A.K.A. "L" trains, which first began operation in 1892. These trains are an iconic element of the city, as well as a striking visual element of Chicago's urban environment; to me, the way in which these colors become abstracted on a map represents the many different neighborhoods and cultural diversity that Chicago holds. From the "Red Line" running north to south, to the Blue, Pink, Brown, Orange, Green and Yellow lines that crisscross the city in numerous directions, color plays a vital role in how we conceptualize our city's transportation system. The cold grey background, representing the urban pavement of the city juxtaposed with the cool blue right edge, representing Lake Michigan, provide a Chicago-esque background for the vibrant colored lines of the train system.
In visualizing this multi-colored system as a simplified series of interconnected lines, I have re-contextualized something very old - which, when simplified, appears very abstract, new and modern.




So, that's that. Finish #1 of 2014, check that one off the list! linking up to Sew Fresh Quilts, hosting TGIFF today!



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17 comments:

  1. Erin I love your quilt, it is so fun and modern. I have been to Chicago once and stayed by a friend in Naperville and took the train to Chicago.
    Britt-Inger in Sweden

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  2. Erin, this is brilliant, I love your inspiration! your execution! and your quilting! Can't wait to see this in person (at the show)!!!!!!

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  3. Oh, this is wonderful! I'm impressed with the planning it must have taken! Have you seen some of the other quilts from CMQGers on Facebook? I'm so excited to see yours hanging in the show, which I'm sure it will be!

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  4. I love your little quilt. I traveled to Chicago quite a bit for work and your quilt brought back some really fun memories for me. Always loved your city and miss it. :-)

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  5. Very cool. This turned out great and I really like your directional quilting.

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  6. This is awesome! I've always adored train/subway system maps, and Chicago's is so fun. Love the quilting too!

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  7. Yay, yay, yay! I love transit map quilts, Erin. Great job with yours. Love that you did with with solids too. Way to go with the artist's statement too!

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  8. What a fabulous design! This is awesome, Erin! Reminds me of the sights of the city as I was driving through to visit in Milwaukee. The solids were a perfect choice!

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  9. Awesome quilt Erin! Your so talented:)

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  10. What a fun challenge. I've ridden a few of those lines. I like both your quilt and your statement. Good luck on getting chosen.

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  11. You nailed the challenge ~ brilliant! I hope you submit it to QuiltCon 2015.

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  12. What an interesting post. It's lovely to see your process, from your initial inspiration through to your submission, and of course seeing the completed quilt. Good luck with it, I'm sure you'll do well.

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  13. This is awesome. I LOVE the design.

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  14. This is FANTASTIC, and you really did kiss the Blarney stone with that artist recap, I think I need to get a dictionary out!

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  15. Love your quilt! The straight line quilting accentuates the colours so nicely.

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  16. Great recreation of the Chicago train system Erin! I love your vision for it. Thanks so much for sharing your artist's statement. I enjoyed reading it :o)

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  17. Lovely quilt! What a great interpretation.

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