FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions)
by Studio Artist Dottie Gantt
Page 1  

Photo of antique "Favorite" sewing machine owned by Dottie Gantt

My 1896 "Favorite" treadle sewing machine in its original oak cabinet.  The antique dress mannequin was used by my Grandmother.  The wall hanging is "Myself and I" 1999

Photo of antique "Favorite" sewing machine owned by Dottie Gantt
 
         

What is a Quilt?

What is an Art Quilt?

What is Fiber Art?

How do I maintain and handle fiber wall hangings or art quilts when not displaying them?

How do you hang fiber wall hangings or art quilts?

How do you design your work?

What kind of sewing machine(s) do you use?

How long have you been an artist?

How long have you been creating art quilts?

How have you learned the different techniques that you use in your art?

What are the "things that you know for sure"?

What is Collage, Assemblage, and Montage?

What is Melange, Ephemera, and "Stuff"?


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What is a Quilt? 

Photo of solo exhibit by Dottie Gantt at Wachovia Gallery, Columbia, SC

Photos Above and Below
A solo exhibit in the Wachovia Gallery
of the Richland County Public Library


Photo of solo exhibit by Dottie Gantt at Wachovia Gallery, Columbia, SC

A Quilt is often viewed as a utilitarian household coverlet for a bed, consisting of multiple (two or more) layers.  The most common quilt construction consists of a top layer, a bottom layer, and a layer of padding in-between], joined together by stitching or tying of knots.

What is an Art Quilt?

The Art Quilt is contemporary art for walls, not for beds.  Quilt National, a juried exhibition describes the technical distinctions that define the medium as "All work must possess the basic structural characteristics of a quilt. It must be predominantly fabric or 'fabric-like' material (to which other materials may be added) and must be composed of two distinct layers - a face layer (which may be pieced, appliqued, and/or painted), and a backing layer. The face and backing layer must be bound together by hand or machine-made functional quilting stitches or tied embellishments that pierce all layers and are distributed throughout the surface of the work."

What is Fiber Art?

Fiber Art includes art which can be wall hangings in the form of quilts and tapestry, floor coverings and rugs, sculptures and installations,  clothing, paper, surface design, weavings, mixed fibers, and objects in all forms made from natural or man-made fibers.  Fiber art can combine two or more techniques.  Fiber art can be an amalgamization of techniques, media, and materials.

       
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Photo of solo exhibit by Dottie Gantt at Wachovia Gallery, Columbia, SC
Solo exhibit in the Wachovia Gallery
of the Richland County Public Library

 


How do you hang fiber wall hangings or art quilts?

Each wall hanging or art quilt I create is made to be hung on the wall and viewed as a painting.  A special sleeve is already provided for hanging on a rod (for example a curtain rod) or a 1/4" thick wood slat which has been sealed with varnish, shellac, or acrylic paint.  The rod or slat may then be attached to the wall, or can be hung from the ceiling using decorative chain, cording, or monofilament wire.  Some wall hangings can be hung using Velcro strips. 

If you wish to have your artwork framed, a good framer will be able to ensure that only acid-free materials are used.

The method of hanging your artwork can be discussed at time of purchase or when we decide the details of your commission.  I will be happy to work with you on how to hang your artwork

     
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How do I maintain and handle fiber wall hangings or art quilts when not displaying them?

All my fiber art works should be maintained and handled with the methods of normal textile archival conservation.

Light - Ultraviolet light (direct sunlight) exposure should be prevented or avoided

Climate - Extreme heat, dampness, or humidity are damaging; as is any rapid fluctuation in climate.  Air circulation will reduce the chance of mold or mildew forming.

Pollution - Smoke and fumes should be avoided

Cleaning of Dirt - Normal dirt and dust accumulation can be controlled by dusting and vacuuming once a year.  Use a hand held vacuum with low suction and a soft brush attachment.  Do not use an attachment with a rotating brush.  Vacuum both sides.  Do not have any type of textile or fabric artwork dry cleaned.

Pests - Protect fiber wall hangings from rodents and insects by regular cleaning - see information above.

Storage - When not displaying the fiber art, lying flat in an acid-free environment is preferred.  Do not store in plastic boxes/containers or ordinary boxes.  Plastic emits toxic chemicals that eventually damage the textile, and ordinary boxes have acid materials that will also damage fabrics.

Folding with sharp creases should be avoided.  Pad each fold generously with crumpled acid-free tissue paper.  Refold periodically (2 or 3 times a year) on different lines to prevent creases.  Rolling the wall hanging around an acid-free tube that is several inches longer than the work and at least 4" in diameter to prevent rolling too tightly.  Roll with the back of the work inside the roll and the front out. Cover with acid-free tissue and then cover with a cotton sheet.

Enjoyment - Most important is the artwork be displayed appropriately for the enjoyment of the viewer, in a setting where one can get close enough to appreciate the texture, color and design of the fibers, as well as the overall design.

Below are excellent resources on the care of textiles

>> "The Display and Care of Art Quilts" by April Niino, Penny Nii Quilt Art

>> "How do I store antique textiles at home?" - Encyclopedia Smithsonian: Storing Antique Textiles - http://www.si.edu/resource/faq/nmah/antqtext.htm

>> "First Aid For Family Quilts" by Nancy O'Bryant Puentes - ISBN 0-9602970-6-5 Moon Over The Mountain Publishing Co.
   This book is excellent for the care of antique quilts, as well as other types of textile and fiber artwork.

>> The Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum - This web site has a very good page on Quilt Care

If you have any questions about taking care of your fiber art, please don't hesitate to Contact Us.  Care and maintance information will be provided with delivery of your fiber art purchase.

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How do you design your work?

Sometimes I start with a very rough sketch, and then I refine the sketch and enlarge it on freezer paper with a projector.  I cut the pieces out and pin them to my design wall in different configurations.  If I'm satisfied with the design pieces, I make duplicates of the freezer paper with a light box.  I use the duplicate freezer paper pieces to cut out my applique pieces from fabrics.  I'll audition different backgrounds and different pieces of cutouts until I'm happy with the "look" and "feel" of how it is all coming together.  I let the piece "talk/speak" to me.  While this isn't a complete description of how I make a wall hanging, it should give you an idea of the process I use part of the time.  The rest of the time, I just cut and sew as the spirit moves me.  I may already have an idea in my head or I just let it happen.  Creating is both a technical and an intuitive process. You know when it feels right!

Photo of initial design of "She's So Vain" art quilt by Dottie Gantt

She's So Vain 2001
Initial design and audition of fabrics

                         
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All items listed are personal opinions and recommendations by Dottie Gantt. These link and FAQ's pages will always be a work-in-progress. The information will be updated on a regular basis. If you have suggestions, please feel free to contact us. We will review and consider your input. Your input and suggestions are welcomed. All photos are art works by Dottie Gantt unless otherwise indicated.


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