Sunday, 1 February 2015

Judy Villett - Judge & Quilter

 Judy Villett of Vancouver, BC was one of the judges for the CQA/ACC National Juried Show 2014 at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario.

For many years Judy taught the principles of judging quilt shows, trained new judges, and offered classes for interested quilters who wanted to learn more about the judging process for quilts and textile pieces. Now, as one of CQA/ACC’s Certified Judges, she is looking forward to participating in more judging opportunities, while encouraging others to become interested in this aspect of the quilt world. 

Judy recently completed a large piece of textile art called “Aspen Grove,” which is now hanging proudly in her new studio space in New Westminster, BC. 
Always one of Judy’s favourite trees, the aspen is known for the fluttering of  leaves in the slightest breeze, their smooth, gray-green bark, and random branching with rich green leaves that turn brilliant yellow in the fall.
Judy’s “Aspen Grove” captures this feeling and connection to her beloved aspens very precisely in this large installation piece, now on display at Braid Street Studios. It is a new studio space for 16 artists to work, teach and display their art.   
The piece consists of 18 fabric panels, 7 inches wide, all of varying height, not less than 5 feet. True to the definition of an aspen grove that moves and flutters with the slightest breath of air, Judy’s piece moves as well. In this dramatic space with 20 foot ceilings and wonderful light, half of the panels are suspended from a wall using exposed nail heads and raw earth magnets. The other half are suspended from a free-standing rail and move as people walk by. As an accomplished machine quilter, Judy planned to scatter life-size leaves over the surface, letting the piece dictate their placement. Due to time pressure, she opted to hire Moira Perlmutter, who operates her long-arm quilting studio in East Vancouver.
 Using both their skills, the final machine quilting was a perfect finish for the panels. Moira is a watercolor artist as well as a quilter, so her eye for colour for the machine quilting threads was ideal.

The result is stunning.  Each leaf motif was placed on the panel, in the spot where Judy wanted it to be, outlined by Moira who then connected all the leaves with swirling machine quilted lines simulating their pathway as they fell from fall trees. 

This was one of the first opportunities that Moira had to work on an art quilt and the first time that Judy has used the services of a machine quilter. Both are delighted with their new knowledge and with the final results. Batting and seam allowances were trimmed by Elizabeth Murdoch, Judy's studio apprentice. The initial piecing was done during a working retreat in Courtney BC with painter friend Martha Jablonski as they started a joint "tree" design project. The fabrics were purchased during a road trip with husband Michael Scales who patiently stopped at every quilt shop from Vancouver to San Francisco.  "Aspen Grove" is a true collaboration!

Barbara Spence

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