Friday, October 7, 2011

From bits and pieces: the art quilts of Gerald E. Roy

Over the years of collecting for the famed Pilgrim/Roy Collection, Gerald Roy put aside interesting pieces of antique cloth, along with favorite worn clothing. From these bits and pieces he has created a striking collection of original art quilts. Each piece is a study in color, texture and shape: essentially, an abstract work of art in textiles. He says: "I refer to them as Paintings in Cloth because my decisions for selecting, shaping, and placing my pieces are similar to the choices made when painting".  His quilts will be exhibited in a gallery show of Quilts by Men (opening October 26; there will be transportation available from the Quilt Festival in Houston).

Pockets and Parts, 38 x 48”, by Gerald E. Roy at Pilgrim/Roy Antiques and Interiors

 "Pockets and Parts" incorporates pieces of blue jeans, including whole pockets, bringing to mind the intact jeans as they would have been before deconstruction. Regarding the challenges in constructing quilts from such materials, Gerald Roy says:  "Using bits and pieces of cloth, cut from things that already exist, forces one to use unfamiliar shapes, sizes and arrangements. The thickness of the variety of materials requires different and sometimes very creative methods of joining these materials." 

Quilt by Gerald Roy:  Blue Jeans, Antique Ticking, Old Upholstery Material

There is no doubt that this quilt is made with used blue jeans.  Certain areas - such the knees of the jeans - are nearly white from wear, providing interesting focal points. Gerald Roy incorporated whole pieces of the jeans legs, piecing the curves into the straight lines of the other blocks. 

Quilt by Gerald Roy:  Antique Ticking, 1910 Yardage, Wool, Antique Linen Homespun, Blue Jeans

We love this bold, graphic quilt which 'reads' mostly black and white; three relatively small pieces of blue denim provide the color contrast.  The care in the design can be seen everywhere: notice that a few of the plaid rectangles are set askew, disrupting the orderly arrangement of the other lines.

Many more of Gerald Roy's original works can be viewed at his online galleries. And do you know about the Pilgrim/Roy Invitational Challenge, named for Gerald E. Roy and the late Paul D. Pilgrim? You can see the 2011 quilts, and the traveling exhibit schedule, at the National Quilt Museum online.

Image credits:  Images are shown with the generous permission of Gerald Roy.  He is a quilt collector, appraiser, designer and artist (for a complete bio, visit the Pilgrim/Roy website).  The Pilgrim/Roy collection is composed of 2,500 quilts for sale and show and quilt-related objects.

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