Margaret Blank – Series #3 – Agnes Meets Judy in the Spring

In keeping with my exploration of “Seasons in the Abstract”, I’ve moved into a closer study of Canadian-born, American painter, Agnes Martin (1912 – 2004).  She was a complex personality, a “character”, whose Muse dictated her painting — mainly in a quiet, deliberate, sometimes almost invisible style.  Latterly, her work featured translucent, gentle colours and a penchant for grids, as shown below:


“As It Ought to Be” – Agnes Martin, 1960

There is another “Martin” whose work I follow — that of textile artist and SAQA Juried Artist Member, Judith (Judy) Martin of Manitoulin Island, Ontario.  While not so often working in grids, her pieces are quiet, rhythmic and deliberate.  She too listens closely to her Muse.  I was first introduced to her work through the Manitoulin Circle Project, which inspired in part my own Mark on the Body Project.

In this third piece for the Series project, I have attempted to blend the work of these two talents in my piece entitled Agnes Meets Judy in the Spring:


Agnes Meets Jane in the Spring - finished

Agnes Meets Judy in the Spring  (C) 2017


I selected a soft green palate in strips alternating between my own hand-dyed cotton fabric and a commercial poly-cotton.  These strips were done “quilt as you go” with the “flip and stitch” technique, using 80-20 cotton-poly batting and a commercial cotton on the back.  I then created a subtle grid by hand quilting using a hand-dyed silk floss that toned in with the background, and stitches ranging from 1/8″ to 1/4″ in length.  I took some care to mark with dots the first line of each pair, but stitched the second line without markings.  I also measured so that each pair of lines is about 1 1/2″ apart across the piece.


Agnes Meets Jane - detail

Agnes Meets Judy — Detail


As I’d decided to apply the facings around the piece before I did the hand-stitching — so that none of the hand-stitching would be lost in a facing — I found to my chagrin that the quilting shrank the piece from it’s original 15″ square (faced) to 14 1/2″ square (faced and hand-quilted).  Nonetheless, I am pleased with the piece and find it soothing and calming to look at.   I expect there will be more emulations of Agnes and Judy as I continue to explore their work.



Quilts in Series:

M Blank          

Quilt 1                             Quilt 2                                Quilt 3

  1. Soft colours to welcome Spring highlighted by your simple lines something to think about as Spring in my area is vibrant with reds yellow and whites against the greens of the native trees and bushes.

  2. carolinehiggs

    An interesting take, I would have liked to see the introduction of a stronger colour, maybe in the stitching.

  3. Thanks, Caro…but a stronger colour would have broken the mood I wanted to evoke…reminiscent of the style of Agnes Martin (muted, almost to the point of invisibility).

  4. joanbrailsford

    I like the quiet yet fresh spring colours you have used, that also represent spring in this corner of the world. The idea of creating the hand stitched grid gives the piece a gentle feel, that also reflects the feeling of spring. A lovely piece.

  5. Chantal GUILLERMET

    It is a very quiet piece. Like Caro I feel the need of colour : may be more quilting with two or three colours evoking flowers would have had a discrete touch of colour.

  6. A gentle quilt with subtle detailing that calls for close viewing. Very peaceful.

  7. A beautiful soft piece has a lovely spring feel

  8. Very subtle colors that represent an early spring. As Helen says it gives you a very peaceful feeling.

  9. Lovely colours. Quilts like this would be great in series with a variety of lines.

  10. I can see the way you blended the work of the two artists using translucent colors and grid hand stitching giving this piece a quiet, peaceful, early spring feel.

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