“Quilting in Steel” Notes from Trisha Hassler’s presentation at Surface Matters

(For those of you who were unable to attend the recent Surface Matters Symposium or were at a concurrent talk, we have asked fellow SDA members to write about about the various presentations. In this post, Lorraine Edmond writes about Trisha Hassler’s presentation, “Surface Connections.” )

Trisha describes herself as a mixed media artist. She started in quilting at a young age, and now describes her work as “quilting in steel.” Trisha’s earliest textile efforts focused on designing felt clothing (for her troll doll—who remembers those?) As she outgrew dolls, she moved on to clothing. Trish still has some of the elaborately embroidered work shirts and jeans she created in the 70s.
Trish works from her home studio. Her home is an open warehouse/loft in the Pearl District of Portland. (She also rents space in a metal shop from a welder for the messier parts of the process.) An idea board holds an important place above the ironing board in her studio. It is covered with images, words, type, skeletons, and so on. Those come down from the board when she is ready to work on them. She also keeps stacks of journals and sketchbooks. Her studio has no design wall, because the steel is too heavy to work with that way. Instead, she uses the floor to arrange the pieces, then stands on the stairs to look down at the work.
She began working with metal in 1999—in the early work, the metal was simply a frame. After taking an improvisational piecing class, she began cutting the metal into pieces and “stitching” it back together to make the frames. Next, she tried making tables, but the work was not spontaneous enough (people actually want tables that sit flat on the floor).
Some of the metal-framed work she did had openings where you could see past the quilted fiber pieces to the wall. She did enjoy working with the negative space, but realized she wasn’t choosing the composition because she did not control the color of the back wall.
As Trisha’s work developed, she began to work with found objects in addition to sheet metal. Her metal comes from a place on the river called The Steel Yard, which caters to artists. They have a selection of reclaimed construction steel and you can walk through and look at the piles. Much of it is rusted, and a lot of it is too heavy for her usesShe takes 10 x 4 ft sheets and cuts them down small enough that she can move them alone. She loves the rusty metal and sometimes has a tough time deciding which side to use. She uses the steel “as is” and simply seals it with polyurethane on both sides before bringing it into the fabric studio.
Trisha’s most recent work involves both piecing and bolting the frames, some of which are constructed in shadow box forms, 3” deep with the inside piece constructed as a quilt, and others are even more three-dimensional, constructed in a “house” form. Trish enjoys the engineering aspect of working with metal and making the pieces fit the way she wants, plus “who doesn’t want to play with fire?” she asks.
Her way of working with these two disparate materials is best explained by the opening text on her web site (http://www.trishahassler.com/):
“When I work in fiber, the experience is quiet, calm and clean. I do it in my home, dressed in yoga pants. The movements are intuitive, small and precise. This work requires patience, focus and good light. My love of this material runs deep in my bones.
When I work in steel, the experience is loud, hot and dirty. I do it at a metal shop, dressed in a leather apron. The movements are intuitive, large and fluid. This work requires strength, focus and safety equipment. My love of this material runs deep in my bones.
When I mix the two I enjoy discovering the place where they each hold their own and speak together.”

Kay Khan to teach Quilted Vessels at the Pacific Northwest Artschool

But first………

SDA member, Zia Gibson also wanted to let fellow SDA members know about her new collaboration with Sue Taves called Broken Mended Hearts.  You can visit the website to learn more by clicking HERE.


Fall Offering at the Pacific Northwest Artschool

Kay Khan, – Quilted Vessels – Oct 22-26, 2012

Artists should often suspend judgment and indulge in play.  In this workshop, we’ll experiment with ways to create a heavily worked surface by stitching together layers of fabric, paper, and felt using machine and hand quilting, drawing, and collage.   We’ll find ways to embellish and build up the surface that will simultaneously add structure. The goal is to create a flexible but strong working material – thick with imagery, thick in layers – that we can then cut and stitch to create three dimensional forms.  We will make a paper pattern for the shape of the quilted sculpture, cut sections from the thick fabric material we create, bind the edges, and then build small vessels.

Quilted Vessels: Experiments in Building with Fabric and Collage

Instructor: Kay Khan
October 22-26, 2012
Tuition:  $595/Deposit:  $100

To learn more about this class and to register, click HERE.

To see all the fiber classes being offered at the Pacific Northwest Artschool, click HERE.

Sketchbooks and Journals – Topic For May 6 Eastside SDA Meeting

Interested in the topic? You don’t need to live on the Eastside to attend.  All SDA members are welcome.

Sketchbooks & Art Journals.

Sunday, May 6, 2012   from 3-5 pm

Do you use a sketchbook or art journal?  In what ways?  How does your sketchbook influence your work?  What techniques do you use in a sketchbook?  Please bring any sketchbooks or supplies you use in your art journal that you’re willing to show to the group.  You can even bring along a blank book and use the session to get started using it!

We’ll also be planning our topics for the July-September meetings.

As always, any projects you have in process or have completed are welcome to be shared (and critiqued, if you wish.)

For your calendars, our next meeting will be Sunday, June, 3 and the topic will be Hanging, Finishing and Presenting.

QuiltWorks Northwest Classroom
121A 107th Avenue NE, Bellevue, WA 98004
Phone: (425) 453-6005 :: Toll Free: (877) 295-7222

If you need more information, please email Christina Fairley Erickson