Thursday, May 17, 2007

Visionary Art; A Man who Quilts

I loved living in Wadley, Al. Several of my members were quilters, and good ones at that. One of them had her own quilting room that her son built her. She made some of the prettiest quilts. The church I served in Columbus, GA had a quilting group that made their quilts to sell, and their proceeds would go to Missions. I love those women, they would quilt in the room across the hall from me. I loved going in there to see what they were quilting, and what the latest buzz was. They made some nice quilts. Bob's mom was a quilter, and quilted a quilt for each child and grandchild getting married. She was amazing and made some fine quilts. I am not a quilter and don't even remember one of my relatives being one either. I just admire the gift to do one, and one when they are done. Today, I want to introduce you to a man who is a self taught quilter.
Chris Clark has become one of the South's most admired visionary artists. Born in 1958, he began making and painting "story" quilts in 1987. He sews the quilt pieces together and then paints Bible stories and other scenes over the quilt. He says his Grandmother and others that he first showed the quilts to discouraged him from making them. They simply couldn't understand why anyone would want to make a quilt that you hang on a wall instead of using for bed covers. But Chris persisted in his work moving on to painting children at play and other "happy images". He also makes "spirit sticks" from found objects and paints on suitcases and furniture. As a young man, Chris served in the Army then held a variety of factory jobs until he started losing his vision. His eyesight would come and go; he was sure he was dying. Later he was diagnosed with severe diabetes. After treatment and months of recovery, his eyesight began to stabilize. He first sold his quilts in a nearby flea market but soon came to the attention of folk art galleries. He is a regular participant at many art festivals and is a featured artist in the books,. REVELATIONS and SPIRITS OF THE CLOTH.

Chris Clark, started quilting in the late 1980s after a bout with diabetes put him in the hospital. It was a craft at which his grandmother and great grandmother excelled. But rather than simply sew together pieces of fabric, Clark painted pictures on them as well. His grandmother scoffed --but changed her mind when one of his big quilts sold for $1,000. Like many self-taught artists, Clark uses “found’’ objects – discarded furniture, buttons, soda cans, beads, machine parts – to create paintings, pastiches, hats, sculptures and his signature quilts. Many are reflections of dreams and childhood memories. Chris has his own website also:


Vicky said...

His is an amazing story. Someone to think about if you're ever down in the dumps. :}I make hand painted fabric, scenic and landscape wall hangings so love his colorful work.

Serena said...

These quilts are beautiful! Thanks for sharing this.