A juried exhibition presented in conjunction with the members of the Northern California/Northern Nevada region of SAQA, Studio Art Quilt Associates.
Prism Play is a unique art quilt exhibit, developed with a 24-step color wheel as inspiration for individual creativity. Each participating artist selected their color, developed their design, and created work with their chosen techniques and materials.
For this exhibit, technique and design style had no bearing on a quilt’s acceptance. Rather, each quilt needed a color focus; and each quilt’s color and design choices needed to promote the flow of color across the spectrum—much like color flows around a color wheel.
It was an honor and a privilege to jury the 2022 exhibit, Prism Play: A Full Spectrum of Art Quilts, organized and sponsored by the members of the Northern California/Northern Nevada region of SAQA. As a decades-long quiltmaker and designer, I not only love color, I am enthralled by the many illusions that can be created in fabric through the manipulation of color. So it was with great enthusiasm that I began my quilt-selection task for this exhibit.
As I first surrounded myself with all the entries, I was spellbound. In a nutshell, the quilts were unique in design, technically diverse, and beautifully colorful—and I loved the long narrow shape of the quilts. As the 100+ entries encircled me, I could easily envision the work flowing beautifully around the perimeter of a hall, moving ever so subtly from one color to another— monochromatic notes building to the crescendo of a wheel of glorious color..
I placed the quilt images in a continual line around my room, moving from yellow to chartreuse, warm greens, greens, aquas and cyan and then through the blues, violets, purple, fuschia, and magenta hues. The various reds then move toward orange hues and the quilts featuring orange-yellows and the warm golden yellows completed the circle. I then divided the quilts into small color groups. This allowed me to study each quilt closely within its own color group. All the quilts that provided good color use within their designs moved on to the next phase of jurying. Others were set aside.
The task of rearranging the quilts so that each quilt’s colors flowed into its neighboring quilt’s colors was the next step. After rearranging the order several times in the first two days, I set them aside for a week. I laid out the images the following week with fresh eyes. For three days I mulled over placement, rearranging, adding, and deleting. Finally, I felt happy that each quilt included was in its best position. Again, I let time pass for several days. Finally, after more rearranging, I was ready to commit to a final selection and placement.
I then took photos of the quilt order and listed the quilts. Upon awakening the following day, I decided to take one more look. Laying everything out again, I found with a few subtle changes here and there that I was able to include three additional quilts, which made me very happy.
Although I am happy about the quilts placed in the exhibit, I am a bit heart-broken at not being able to include several quilts in Prism Play that were quite amazing. Standing alone, they were beautiful works of art and would be award-winning quilts in another show. Due to the theme of this quilt exhibit, each quilt in the show has to work in chorus with each of its neighboring quilts, allowing the flow of color to continue its movement throughout the entire exhibit.
It is a difficult feat to balance color within a quilt so that it promotes color movement beyond its borders. I have great admiration for all who accomplished this. I thank all of you who created a quilt for Prism Play. Your quilts totally awed me. I am so impressed by your talent, your creativity, and your abundant technical skills. I hope that our paths cross sometime in the future. Keep creating! Keep playing with color!!!
Joen Wolfrom began quilting in the early 1970s after she left her career in the educational field to become a homemaker and stay-at-home mom. Her interest in color and design soon surfaced. Besides enjoying color and design exploration, Joen found herself enjoying the challenge of innovative piecing.
These early explorations led Joen to become recognized as initiating the landscape-quilt genre four decades ago. Her exploration of curved designs in the early 1980s brought forth a popular explosion of curved-pieced quilts. In the late 1970s and 1980s Joen created commissioned textile art for many private clients and corporations. Her work has been included in collections both nationally and internationally.
Joen has taught and lectured extensively throughout the United States since 1981. Her international engagements include working in England, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Canada, Germany, Holland, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Currently Joen teaches a yearly 8-month in-depth design class via Zoom and she does a limited number of yearly teaching and lecturing engagements for guilds and other organizations.
Joen is the author of fifteen books and products. Her last book, Color Play Second Edition, was published in 2014. Several books were best sellers, including Adventures in Design, Color Play, The Visual Dance, The Magical Effects of Color, Landscapes & Illusions, Visual Coloring, and Patchwork Persuasion. Joen has developed several tools for quiltmakers and artists. These include the 3-in-1 Color Tool, The Studio Color Wheel, The Companion Color Wheel, and the 2021 Take-Along Mini Color Wheel.
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