Athens time

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

An evening with Ferret

Yesterday evening, was the triannual meeting of our local Quilters Guild; The Thanet and District Quilters. The speaker was to be Ferret.

Now I had had a bit of a day, with rain lashing down, the roof leaking and the home maintenance man in the attic with me running up and down the scaffolding outside to see whether we could locate where the water came in... so by the time he had gone, I had made dinner and should be getting ready to go, I had about 5 minutes left... What to do.. dress nicely, put some lippie on? No, I quickly googled Ferret and found her blog, skimmed through at lightening speed and found she had just bought a beford campervan... awesome !!

Arriving at the venue, the van was proudly parked outside and first thing I said to Ferret when I met her was "awesome van!!", instead of the "awesome quilts!" she probably was expecting ! She must have thought I was a total nutter....

Leaving in such a hurry, also meant that I inadvertently left my camera behind... I KNOW !!! ME and NO CAMERA !! it felt a bit like having my right hand cut off... and sooooo many beautiful quilts and SO inspirational... ooooooohhhh.... Luckily Ferret turned out to be a wonderful warm and genuine person who graciously gave me permission to blog about her here and use some pictures of her own sites. (Ferret Fabrications and her blog Ferret Fabricates). THANK YOU FERRET !!!

Apart from the amazing van, awesome quilts there were too.. as soon as you entered the hall, there was an enormous beautiful eyecatching quilt hung in a frame to which the eye immediately got drawn..

Ferret's Phoenix, entirely made of hand dyed cotton sateen. All the feathers are individually quilted and the overall result is just stunning! (here pictured at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham).

Ferret was introduced as; (and here is a quote from her blog profile;)
"Award winning long arm quilter, textile artist and all round fabricator. I mostly work on textile art, but I can also be found repairing ballistic jackets and building fences."
and is said to be equally happy welding and tinkering with oily engines as doing delicate quilting work.

She went on to show us an amazing and diverse body of work (literally in some cases.. excuse the pun..:-) and entertained us with her stories of how the quilts came into being. Not only that but she also freely admitted early mistakes she had made and we all were able to learn from that as well as laugh along with her ('I started with a stretchy cotton sateen...BIG mistake!! then decided to do a mariners compass type star..with all those points an even BIGGER mistake! ha ha ha Ferret, I can just imagine!! we've all been there and it is so reasurring that an artist like Ferret has been there just the same as I have!)

The above quilt is a sample quilt designed by Ferret herself. She had this quilt with her in several versions of absolutely beautiful colours! There was such a variety and intensity of colour combinations, you felt like chomping at the bit to make one too! Luckily Ferret has just written her first book on this and you can buy her comprehensive guide to how to make this quilt from her website HERE.

This particular blue version has been made by her 'wonderfully supportive and long suffering boyfriend' (as she introduced him) who was there and helped showing the quilts and manning the sales table. he has been involved in the typesetting and proofreading of the book and thought that unless he tried the instructions (never having quilted before), he would not know if they made sense, so he did and you would not believe this is Tet's first quilt ever would you! Way to go Tet!! (he got a lot of admiring applause!). The back is also beautiful but I could not find a pic of that.

This quilt is a wholecloth quilt. This means that the background fabric is in one piece and all that you see is not fabric but machine quilting. The intensity of the quilting from one bit to the next is varied, which gives it this beautiful 3D effect. Breathtaking... from afar and equally close up.

The same technique was used in this coloured star wholecloth quilt. Ferret carefully chooses her bobbin threads. Sometimes the same colour, sometimes a different one. The result is that this quilt is totally reversible and it is as beautiful on the back as it is on the front. When helping her fold the quilts for transport later, one of the ladies had to locate the label to see which side was the front!

The photo of this star quilt just doesn't do it justice.... In real life, the starts are twinkling and nearly jumping out of the quilt. All the stars are pieced into blocks in the quilt and not appliqued as you would assume. Very intricately done and beautiful.

Maybe by now you have tried to determine 'the thing that Ferret does' (as you can often categorize quilters in -the lady who does baltimore/applique/bargello etc), but if you thought you were getting the drift, Ferret throws you again in a totally different direction.. There is no such thing as 'what Ferret does'.. What she does do is surprise you at every new corner.. Above a quilt she made after visiting the National Gallery and being influenced by the impressionists... see that bridge? see the blossom? remind you of something? and yet Ferret used a unique technique and came up with a piece totally of her own...

One of her better know pieces (and one, which, with hindside I had seen in a magazine before) is this herd of 'cows'. When she took this picture, she was in a field of what the farmer called 'cows' but turned out to be a field with 60 bulls, one of which tried to mount her... Although flattered (she says :-)not really enamoured by the idea and once safely behind the electric fence she took a picture against the dramatic red sky..

This art quilt is built up totally of fabric pieces. Then quilted to the background. The human eye is an amazing thing because very close up, it is a collection of beautifully matched bits of coloured cloth.. Stand back a bit further, and the picture reveals itself as being almost of photographic quality.

The same technique was used for this quilt. The player part of a band (I forgot the name...) (It's Apocalyptica, thanks Lynz!!) which used to play classical but now plays rock and sometimes links their pieces with a bit of classical music... which sounds totally awesome!! And how beautiful is this quilt? I must say, of all Ferret's quilts she brought and all her techniques, this type of artquilt is my favourite.

I saved my favourite quilt of the evening for last. Same technique again and doesn't it look amazing ? I so would like to buy that quilt but I don't even have to ask as surely even if it were for sale (which I think it isn't) this would be totally out of my pricerange!

All in all it was a wonderful evening and truly inspiring. I am itching to go and try some new things out, but alas... chores await first.. and some things have to be done... In actual fact what am I still doing at the computer? well... it was such a lovely evening with such an funny, informative and lovely talk, not to speak of the fantastic quilts that I wanted to share it with you all.

Thank you Ferret, you are a lovely person and I am so happy to have met you. Thank you for your permission to blog about you and introduce you to my blogfriends and thanks so much for using your photos.. it's a big ask, I know, I promise to bring my own camera next time; and thank you for a lovely evening!

Visiting Ferrets blog this morning, I saw she and Tet had packed up, driven all the way up to Harrow on a clogged up M25, and still she wrote her blog post about this visit at half past one in the morning... There's energy and dedication for you.. I am lagging behind!


Me and Ma said...

Those are just amazing, true works of art, can't believe that they are made with fabric ! Just don't be getting ideas about asking for blocks to build a quilt like that from the bee, might just be beyond us, maybe one day LOL :)

Unknown said...

omg amazing works of art, I'm off to look at her blog now

Catherine said...

What an amazing collection of quilts, all of them beautiful! The whole cloth ones amazed me the most. I shal have to go and check out her website now!

Lynz said...

What an amazing evening!! Fascinating work (and that rock cellist is probably from the band Apocalyptica - imagine me knowing that. Heh heh)

myBearpaw said...

Wow thanks for that Marg, amazing quilts, I can't even work out how she made them! Would love to inspect them up close...

margaret said...

have just been given your link to Ferret quilts following posting some of her quilts on my blog that were at the Harrogate quilt show, her work really is amazing so glad I have seen these too.

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