Quilt National '13


Show features 84 art quilts selected from 851 entries from around the world



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Luanne Rimel's art quilts will be on display at Quilt National 2013, running Sept. 20 through Oct 27 at the St. Louis University Museum of Art, 3663 Lindell Blvd. photo by Diana Linsley (click for larger version)
September 13, 2013
Textile artist Luanne Rimel, of Webster Groves, admits there's an enigma within "Enigma with a Flower," her art quilt that will be on exhibit during Quilt National 2013.

Rimel is one of 85 artists whose work was chosen from 851 submissions for Quilt National 2013, to open on Friday, Sept. 20, and run through Oct. 27 at the St. Louis University Museum of Art. Admission will be free.

Rimel's "Enigma with a Flower," at 23 by 42 inches, is the largest art quilt she's done. It was created using a photograph she took of a statue in a St. Louis cemetery and putting it - in sections from the larger image - through a wide format printer to transfer those image sections to white cloth.

Then, she stitched the fragments together to create a whole image, layering it and basting it on to quilt batting. After that, she began a hand quilting process.

"People have commented on the fact that I'll lay in at least one tiny, rectangular patch on top of my art quilts, with the image continuing on the patch or patches - they wonder what it's for," Rimel said.

Rimel, age 60, spends her days as director of education programs at Craft Alliance in both University City and Grand Center in St. Louis.

"I tell people there are no holes under the patches. They represent the inspiration I get from women in the past, who patched and mended things - my homage to their handwork," Rimel said. "For everything I make, I recreate at least one small section of the image and lay it over the work and hand stitch it in a different direction from the rest of the stitching."

Quilt National, held every other year in St. Louis, was organized in 1979 to showcase artists who pushed the boundaries of traditional quilting into a new form of expression known as the art quilt.

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Luanne Rimel's "Enigma with a Flower," at 23 by 42 inches, is the largest art quilt she's done. "There's a serenity in such an image, evoking a quiet look and time, a dignity, a reflective mystery," Rimel said. (click for larger version)
This year's event opened in May in Athens, Ohio, and St. Louis is the only location outside of Ohio where the full-scale exhibition can be seen. It will be divided into smaller exhibits for two-year tours following the St. Louis event. It includes art from exhibitors representing 27 states and seven countries.

"I was very honored to be chosen for the 2013 event, and I was also in the 2011 Quilt National in St. Louis - that was the first year I entered," said Rimel, who grew up in University City.

She's been an artist all her life.

"I made my own Barbie doll clothes using a hand cranked Singer sewing machine for kids," Rimel said.

"I was always interested in cloth and textiles. I originally liked drawing and painting and that evolved into what I'm doing now," she said.

Her work blossomed even further when she decided in about 2000 to go to Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville to get a graduate degree in textiles.

"I was very interested in photography, " she said. "When I was at grad school, the wide format ink jet printer was introduced for use by artists, and that led me to explore taking my photos and putting them through the ink jet printer to get my ideas on to cloth. Especially over the last five years or so, I've been leaving painting behind and getting into printing images on to cloth, with hand stitching over the entire surface of the image."

Her art quilt work has been about time and memory, Rimel said.

"But I'm taking that theme to another level regarding the time it takes to make an art quilt - I can do a 3-by-3-inch section within about an hour, but 'Enigma with a Flower' took me all summer of last year," she said.

Most of her images are of statues found in public places or cemeteries, and she'll crop the picture to focus on a part of the statue, such as a hand or part of the face or clothing in stone.

"There's a serenity in such an image, evoking a quiet look and time, a dignity, a reflective mystery," said Rimel, who uses repurposed flour sack cloth as fabric.

Art runs in her family. Her mother, Martha O'Leary of Webster Groves, is a traditional quilter.

Roger, Rimel's husband of 39 years, is a jeweler who works in Kirkwood and creates stone jewelry that he exhibits around the country.

Their son, Will, is a ceramic artist now doing a residency ceramic program in Iowa.

And daughter, Anna, just got her master's degree in library science and makes little handmade books.

Rimel calls her own artwork "a wonderful addiction."

"If I haven't stitched for a while it bothers me, because I have to be creative," said Rimel, who has a website at www.luannerimel.com.

"I love getting an idea and seeing how it evolves. Each art quilt I do is a path of discovery for me as well as the person looking at it."

Quilt National Assists In Ending Domestic Violence

Quilt National 2013 will serve as a fundraiser for Safe Connections, a 37-year-old nonprofit that serves 13,000 to 15,000 people a year through its work to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

Safe Connections provides no-cost individual and group mental health therapy to women and teens, a 24-hour crisis hotline and education to students in middle school through college.

Kirkwood's Deb Cottin is Safe Connections' director of development and marketing.

"We started bringing Quilt National to St. Louis in 1988," Cottin said. "We've had so much expansion over the years, and Quilt National has helped that happen."

Quilt National fundraising to benefit Safe Connections is done through sponsorships by individuals who make monetary gifts and in return get their names on banners.

"That money goes into our general operating fund, which can be spent on any needs we have, to fill in funding gaps," Cottin said.

Quilt National 2013

Quilt National 2013 will be on display Sept. 20 through Oct. 27 at the Saint Louis University Museum of Art, 3663 Lindell Blvd. (63108). Opening reception is Friday, Sept. 20, from 6 to 8 p.m.

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