Liz Axford

Liz Axford At the heart of my work is a sense of contradiction. I consider freedom and constraint, order and disorder, the overt and the hidden, the clear and the obfuscated, and attempt to find resolution of these conflicting forces.

I began making quilts in 1986, the same year I took a leave of absence from the practice of architecture. To my surprise, textiles satisfied my design instincts and my love of process in a way that architecture never did, and my leave of absence became permanent. While initially attracted to quilts for their clear graphic qualities, I found that there are a multitude of ways to contradict that clarity: irregular piecing; careful juxtaposition of printed fabrics; hand-dyeing; resist-dyeing (shibori); painting; printing and over-printing. These ideas kept me engaged for 15 years.

In 2001, I was introduced to the technique of selectively removing the sericin from silk organza and learned that this lightweight material could be laminated with wool to create subtly patterned felt. The patterning imposed on the silk, no matter how regular it might be, distorts as the wool shrinks to become felt – perfect! I quickly reasoned that I could sandwich wool roving between two layers of degummed silk organza and create a sort of a felted quilt. Stitching, though not required to hold the layers together, completes the concept of the quilt and serves to reveal the relationship between the patterning on front and back; most of these quilts are intended to be seen from both sides.

2008-2012 brought many changes to my personal life. As my husband neared retirement age, we made plans to relocate from Houston, TX to Whidbey Island, WA. It was not a time of great productivity for me as we built a new home and studio and I split my time and focus between the two locations. During this time, I began to explore over-dyeing Procion MX dyes with vat dyes, a process that both removes color and lays down new transparent color in one step. It’s temperamental and magical, difficult to anticipate or control – in short, my kind of process. I’m just beginning to produce finished work using these processes and can’t wait to see where it might take me.

Liz Axford
December 2012

Copyright © 2012 Liz Axford, All Rights Reserved