Wise Craft Quilts Contributor Lisa Solomon

Lisa Solomon
One of my favorite sections in Wise Craft Quilts, is the one about quilt labels. To me, this was a section that had to be included in the book- sewing a label on to the back of a quilt is such a huge part of the storytelling process. In the book are full sized labels in the book that can be printed out at home (I use these ink jet printable fabric sheets) and filled in. (A set of all five labels, ready to use, will be available in my shop later this week.)
While writing the book, I reached out to some of my favorite artists and asked them to design a quilt label. I was over the moon with what they sent back! Each label speaks to the style of the artist who made it, and interprets the idea of labelling a quilt in their own unique way. I’ll be posting interviews with each of these very inspiring women! Today I am bringing you an interview with one of my very favorite ladies, Lisa Solomon. I’m asking her a little about her work, inspiration, work space, and her thoughts on creating a label for Wise Craft Quilts.
Lisa Solomon

Lisa has been exploring the number 1000 throughout her recent work. Detail of 1000 giant french knots, above.


Blair: What is your primary art medium? How long have you been creating in this medium, and what drew you to it? 
Lisa: I always find it hard to answer this question as I don’t have a PRIMARY art medium. I use whatever materials I think will help me make the piece that needs to get made. That said, I do use a lot of watercolor and drawing materials… I embroider on almost all my drawings at some point. I crochet a lot. I also use non traditional art materials and sometimes make big installation. The latest was a based on Senninbari so I hand dyed and made 1000 giant sized French knots (pictured above).
Blair: Could you describe your current work to us and what is inspiring you right now? 
Lisa: In my personal work I am currently in a complete state of flux. I’ve been working with the number 1000 in Japanese culture for 6 years now and I think I’m done with it [gasp]. So right now I’m trying to figure out where to turn next. I have some pieces I’ve wanted to do around Japanese Internment – so I’m looking at that. And Pagodas [the buildings and stone garden statues] are also on my mind, as well as “The Pillow Book”, and a specific phase in the wearing of Kimonos. In the mean time I’m working continually on color meditations  – this is a painting practice I’ve been doing for the past year where I repeat a shape or mark but change the color as I work. It’s been a great process and it helps warm me up and keep me loose.


Lisa Solomon 4
Chroma Installation
I, though, am also working on a big project with my collaborator Christine Buckton Tillman – we’ve put up a crowd sourced installation 2 times before – once in Baltimore at Gallery CA, and once at Rare Device in SF, but we are doing a permanent version for an apartment building in Washington DC this summer. There’s more info on the blog for this project – and if anyone wants to send us stuff, we’re collecting for a few more weeks. More about that and where to send is in this post.
Lisa Solomon
Chroma Installation
Blair: Describe where you work.
Lisa: I work in my backyard studio. It’s a little over 200 square feet and my grandmother told me to use the inheritance she was leaving me to have it built. I was pregnant at the time and she knew it would be hard to keep up an art practice without a useable nearby space. She was SO right. I’m forever grateful for her making my studio a reality. I also have to thank John Riordan who designed it for me.
Lisa Solomon
Blair: While you work- coffee or tea? Music or podcasts? 
Lisa: TEA ! I only drink one cup of coffee in the morning. So then it’s tea, bubbly water, home made kombucha….
I’m more of a podcast/NPR person than music. I love music, but it can be so tricky to find the right stuff for the right mood. I feel like it influences me quicker and more severely – so I like talking – I can tune it out or pay attention. If I’m doing something pretty mindless I watch movies, or shows or documentaries too.
Blair: Have you ever made a quilt? If so, and if this is not your usual type of creative project, what inspired you to make it?
Lisa: I have such a love for quilts. You would think I would have more of them under my belt. In my adult life I’ve only made ONE functional quilt – for my daughter. She chose the fabric and then I made blocks based on the illustrations of the fabric she chose. It was super fun [ok except for the binding part].
Lisa Solomon
I did make a couple of what I call quilts for my work. I made these weird freehand felt quilts that were based on a NASA photo of a deforested Bolivian jungle.


Lisa Solomon
And I made a felt quilt map of the United States and all the places Fugo Balloon Bomb parts had been found in the US during World War II. I totally had to wing this from beginning to end. Good thing felt is so easy to cut and doesn’t fray !!
Lisa Solomon
If I had endless time and energy I’d love to make Gees Bend type quilts.
Blair: When I proposed the idea to you to design a quilt label for the book, how did you approach the project? Why color or why black and white? Did you envision someone writing info on it, or embroidering on it, etc?
Lisa: I love hex quilts. Never have made one – probably never will, but I love the shape and how they get pieced together. It seems so satisfying to me… I had actually designed a logo for a company using a hex quilt shape, so I just returned to it and revamped it for this label. Color for sure because I can’t seem to escape it… and I envisioned people writing or embroidering or doing whatever they wanted with it. I think it’s so important to label quilts. I love when I come across them and they have labels on them – just thinking about the person who took the time to make such an object is always satisfying.
Blair: What elements of your own work/style did you include in the design of the quilt label?
Lisa: The colors – just slightly off of primary and secondaries… the use of gray instead of black… fonts with a vintage feel to them. Oh and it’s square – cause I tend to like squares…. The dotted line also alludes to embroidery/stitching – which is almost always a factor in my work.
 Blair: Do you have any special fabrics in your life that you have been saving for a someday quilt or other sewn projects? (Fabrics from a loved one, or that you’ve collected, etc.)
Lisa: I have a crazy amount of fabrics. None that I’m saving for a quilt per se, but… I recently went to a show called Scraps at the Cooper Hewitt and the way Christine Kim of Dosa inc made yardage out of scraps and then clothing from that yardage was really inspiring. I would love to do that…. [someday].
Lisa Solomon
Blair: What are your personal creative goals for 2017? How do you challenge yourself to grow creatively?
Lisa: My creative goal this year is simple: FIND WHAT I WANT TO MAKE NEXT. Ok. it’s not so simple. I feel like if I just listen while I’m working the work teaches me how to grow and push myself creatively. It’s always demanding weird R+D to find the right material, or for me to learn a new skill. I just have to keep moving forward.
Also I’ve been experimenting a lot lately. I just made a bag out of rope [rope that I bought that was too small for the Senninbari project]. I learned peyote bead stitching from Tania Skevos and I’ve been going nuts making rings – now that I think about them, they are kind of quilt like. I feel like all of this might inform what happens next.
Lisa Solomon
Blair: Where can we find you?
Almost daily updates/inside studio peeks/inspirations/etc https://www.instagram.com/lisasolomon/
You can find more about me on my website http://www.lisasolomon.com/
Or read random infrequently posted thoughts on my blog http://lisasolomon-musings.blogspot.com/
My last solo show was with Walter Maciel – http://www.waltermacielgallery.com/lsolomon2016.html
Thank you Lisa!!!
Lisa’s quilt label in Wise Craft Quilts is very much Lisa’s style- clean and colorful. I love that she loves hexies, they are such an iconic quilt shape. Here I’ve used an Identi-pen made by Sakura to permanently create a label for Gracie, our cat. Because she thinks every quilt in our house belongs to her and she really only needs one.


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