• Hero

    Carrie Strine: Steps

Exhibition

Exhibition: Carrie Strine is about to blow Philadelphia's socks off with some incredible quilting

Posted by James Cartwright,

We’ve been following Carrie Strine on Instagram for a good few months now, watching her large-scale textile projects evolve and develop over time. She’s a New York-based quilter who specialises in doing everything by hand, which means she has the patience of a saint. She’s also got an exceptional eye for colour and composition, meaning her quilts are nothing like the tawdry swathes of fabric your grandma used to pile up on her bed – these are vibrant, exciting pieces of bold geometric pattern and minute hand-detailing that it’s actually possible to lust after.

The culmination of her past three years of hard work is about to be displayed at Philadelphia’s Art In The Age in a new show called Handwork, and to celebrate the occasion we asked her a few questions about her show, her life and her process.

  • Carrie-5

    Carrie Strine: Scraps V7

  • Carrie-6

    Carrie Strine: Scraps V6

Quilting is a very traditional discipline, how did you get into it?

While completing my MFA and working on a series of photographic installations, I started a tiny project hand-sewing tiny little pieces of fabric into a pair of pillows. It started out just for fun – I didn’t even have a sewing machine – then it became really clear that there was a relationship between my quilting and the installations I was making in my studio. I used to think quilting was just a little hobby that would keep my mind from getting lazy while away from my “real” work, but it’s just not the case these days. Quilting has become central to my practice.

Is it just quilting that interests you or do you experiment with other crafts too?

I’ve always just been someone who has an aptitude for making things with my hands, and I have the patience for the tedium that sometimes comes with fine craft work. I’ve dabbled in a lot of different things, but mostly textiles have been my jam. I used to be a really wild knitter and spin my own yarn, but I got sick of the connection to garments and fashion.

How long does each one take?

It can vary a lot. I always have one project going that is done completely by hand. My most recent hand-stitched project, the Medallion quilt, took me over three years to stitch and quilt. Most of the time I will machine-piece and hand-quilt, and a bed-sized quilt can take somewhere between six weeks and one year depending on the complexity and my engagement. Projects that always take so long get tiresome though, so there are also quilts that I churn out for some relief in a weekend or two.

Is it a meditative process or do you have to concentrate incredibly hard?

There are periods of concentration when planning certain parts or strategising, but most of the time is very meditative. I will also think for weeks about what my next step will be with a colour or fabric while working on a certain part of the quilt. I really enjoy having the space to work slowly.

Are there themes or ideas running through the work or is it a pure craft?

There are a lot of artists who work with textiles like Louise Bourgeois who actually remove the materials and techniques from their intended function, but I’m actually really interested in the function and tradition of quilts. I think there are a lot of interesting ways to think about how traditional quilt patterns adapt as they’ve been worked by generations of makers, or how the quilt itself has had a variety of roles in the American home. Sometimes I’m interested in how a quilt will wear over time and select materials that will wear in a certain way. I’m definitely striving to make my work something beyond pure craft, but at the end of the day you could say my quilts are just thoughtfully designed. You could say that about a lot of fine craft, but I believe it’s art as soon as the maker starts thoughtfully bringing more complicated formal and contextual concerns into their work.

Talk us through the quilts that are going to be on display in the show

You can see my latest quilt, Steps, which is an interpretation of a traditional Courthouse Steps quilt. It’s a project that’s very much about understanding the interactions of colour, while if you view it from the right distance it really makes the connection between the traditional patterns and digital imaging (more specifically a raster image). I think of the colours in this quilt building up the same way pixels do in a photograph.

Also my Medallion quilt will be on display, which is actually a replica of an English quilt worked in the same pattern from the 1890s. It’s a meditation on quilting by other makers of times and places not my own, and the ways that quilters communicate with their works. You can read a bit more about the project and the other modern quilters inspired by this quilt on my blog.

Tell us about the upcoming show.

Handwork, opens at Art in the Age in Philadelphia, PA this Friday, February 7th and will be on view until March 31st. Its a collection of my newest works, both large scale bed quilts and smaller wall pieces.

  • Carrie-7

    Carrie Strine: Medallion

  • Carrie-2

    Carrie Strine: Steps

  • Carrie-1

    Carrie Strine: Hankies

  • Carrie-4

    Carrie Strine: Scraps V5

  • Carrie-3

    Carrie Strine: Hand Work Flyer

Jc

Posted by James Cartwright

James started out as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our two editors. He oversees Printed Pages magazine and content wise has a special interest in graphic design and illustration. He also runs our online shop Company of Parrots and is a regular on our Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Exhibition View Archive

  1. David-james-uma-thurman-int-list

    Lucien Freud, Kate Moss, Joaquin Phoenix…it reads like that list of dream dinner party guests you have to reel out in awkward “getting to know you" games. But it’s more than that: this all-star list is just a sliver of the cast that creative director David James has worked with over the years. David has been creative director at AnOther Magazine for the past decade, creating iconic images with photographers including Craig McDean, Willy Vanderperre and Nick Knight. If you missed out on getting the mags IRL, don’t fret: today sees the launch of Everything that Matters – an online retrospective of David’s editorial work. It makes for a lovely little scroll, even if it does make us feel pretty old to think that the time that’s passed since 2005 is retrospective-worthy.

  2. Andrew-bruce-_-anna-fox_-norman-tebbitint-list

    If ever you needed a reminder of the occasionally ludicrous caricatures that have made up British politics, a new show of images of the Spitting Image puppets will be in London just before the election in May.

  3. Neil_kenlock_untitled_young_woman_seated_on_the_floor_at_home_in_front_of_her_television_set_c-_type_print_london_1972__neil_kenlock_victoria_and_albert_london-int-list

    The new exhibition at London’s V&A Museum, Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience 1950s -1960s came as the result of a conscious decision by the organisation to broaden and enrich its collection, curator Marta Weiss explained at the opening yesterday. “Over the last seven years the V&A has been working with Black Cultural Archives to acquire photographs either by black photographers or which document the lives of black people in Britain,” Marta says, “a previously under-represented area in the V&A’s photographs collection.”

  4. New-listdr-lakra's-record-covers-collection.-magnificent-obsessions_the-artist-as-collector_-barbican-art-gallery.-%c2%a9peter-macdiarmid_-getty-images

    I’ve always been quite partial to bric-a-brac, but it’s never been more compelling to me than while I was wandering around the Barbican’s new exhibition Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector yesterday. The show is effectively a paean to the idea that you are the stuff you keep, and as such it’s a hoarder’s dream.

  5. Paul-rand-list

    Designs that transcend time, the fripperies of fashion and taste and the brand they’re attached to are ones that ensure their place in the canon; and one man who created such work is Paul Rand.

  6. Vivianesassen-pinkinslee-int-list

    Very few photographers straddle art and fashion photography as successfully as Viviane Sassen, a fact London’s galleries are very much aware of at the moment. The Dutch photographer has only just seen the end of In and Out of Fashion, an experimental show at The Photographers’ Gallery which used large-scale projected slideshows moving quickly across large, temporary walls in the dark space to the accompaniment of a melodious and hypnotic soundtrack. Yet today the ICA is opening another show of Viviane’s work, entitled Pikin Slee.

  7. List

    In 1915, two years before the Russian Revolution took place, an exhibition took place in St Petersburg which turned the art world upside down. Entitled The Last Futurist Exhibition of Paintings: 0.10, it included one of Kazimir Malevich’s now iconic black square paintings, a profound and original offering in a 20th Century society which repressed modern ideas almost as furiously as it bred them, and it’s this spirit of radical thinking in the midst of a restrictive society which sits at the root of the Whitechapel Gallery’s new exploration of abstract art, Adventures of the Black Square.

  8. List

    With photography now a ubiquitous medium gifted to everyone for the price of a smartphone, it’s easy to forget that it was once the preserve of only a select few pioneers, whose experiments with light-sensitive chemicals and simple mechanical structures gave birth to something we all take for granted today. But a new show at The Science Museum’s Media Space seeks to remind us of the pioneering endeavours of modern photography’s forebears.

  9. List

    The name Jeremy Deller conjures up all manner of conflicting images in my mind’s eye; of frivolous inflatable sculptures and brass bands playing acid house; of turbulent clashes between miners and police and the rusted bodies of motor vehicles. He’s got a real knack for uniting ideas that feel inherently opposite. So his latest show at Modern Art Oxford shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise in its bringing together of two figures who seem very much at odds with each other.

  10. List

    There’s not a pie in the cultural world that James Franco isn’t ready and willing to stick a finger into, and to prove it the actor, director, poet and musician has just announced a new exhibition of his artworks, entitled Fat Squirrel, which is to be held at London’s Siegfried Contemporary gallery. The show is an undeniably eclectic collection, including a number of self portraits of the artist in the guise of various famous historical figures, a deer orgy entitled Triple Team, and some bright painterly collages, not to mention the eponymous overweight rodents which are undoubtedly our favourites.

  11. List

    There are equal doses of pleasure and frustration to be had in stumbling across the work of a photographer you’ve never seen before. It’s classic FOMO on a macro scale, coupled with joy at the prospect of showing off the treasure you’ve found. At least that’s what I felt when I discovered that photographer Mark Neville was to be showing two of his photo-series alongside one another in a new show entitled London/Pittsburgh at London’s Alan Cristea Gallery.

  12. List-flyers-for-the-institute-at-sexology.-photography-by-russell-dornan_-design-by-liam-relph-(3)

    London’s Wellcome Collection space always hosts explorations of the things that fascinate us most. It’s covered death, it’s exhaustively explored the human body in all its glory and grotesquery, and now it’s moved on to surely the most fascinating of all – sex, or more precisely, how people have studied it.

  13. List

    How’s this for a collaboration? Artist Quentin Jones, who counts photography, animation, painting and filmmaking among the tools of her trade, has teamed up with spatial designer Robert Storey to create the setting for her new exhibition in the The Vinyl Factory Space on London’s Brewer Street, with Robert creating a set for each of Quentin’s works.