Keith F. Broad
Special to the Chief
In 1997, Cher Cartwright lived in a brown house, wore black, grey and blue business suits, communicated only with words, and practiced law. She was the quintessential establishment icon. But the real Cher Cartwright was yet to be born.
"I was amazed when this thing erupted out of me! I realized that I was living in such a monochromatic world that I'd forgotten how much I loved colour, and how much fun you can have with colour," she said.
Cartwright's first foray into the quilting world was to make a blanket for her friend's baby. With lengths of hot-pink, purple, green, and turquoise fabrics, and boundless enthusiasm, she created, what she refers to as 'a complete mess', that so embarrassed her she decided to take some courses at her local quilt shop. Over time, Cartwright became aware that there was much more to quilting than traditional quilts based on traditional patters - she discovered the emerging art form of art quilt making. Nancy Crow, Cartwright's mentor and, considered by many to be the preeminent art quilter in the world, now says of Cher Cartwright, "Her workmanship is beautiful, intricate and incredible. She has a strong sense of colour and she uses it richly." Nancy Crow's art quilts hang in the Renwick Gallery, the Smithsonian Institute Washington, DC, The American Craft Museum New York City, and in the Museum of American Folk Art.
Nancy Crow added, "What I try to instill in my students, is to think like a painter in terms of composition, to work improvisationally, to not be afraid to fail, and to give yourself permission to be free. Cher Cartwright definitely has a fascination with complexity."
Cartwright's new world of art quilting is anything but monochromatic. She no longer practices law; she just makes art quilts. Her pilgrimage from novice to artist is dramatically evident when you compare the angular, orderly structure, and the cool, subdued colours of her earlier series, Fruition with the erratic, circuitous elements in a riot of vivid, primary colours in spheres. (preview these pieces at www.chercartwright.com)
View Cher Cartwright's art quilts at the Squamish Public Library Foyer Gallery April 4 to May 8.
"It's a Frame-up!"
Don't forget to return your framed mirror masterpieces to the Squamish Public Library no later than April 1. All masterpieces will be put on display for silent auction from April 4 to May 7 so support the arts in Squamish by bidding on your favourite!All proceeds go to operating and improving the Foyer Gallery.