PERFORMING: A E I O Ukes
A E I O Ukes is Northampton's ukulele club. It was founded by Downtown Sounds' owner Joe Blumenthal after a workshop with Jim Beloff in 2010. Most of its players are beginning musicians who like to get together to sing and strum and have fun. The group has a weekly sing-along at Forbes Library, and does occasional public performances. Its first such performance was at the Ukes and Yo-yos show at Northampton's Academy of Music in 2011, and they also played the Beatles in the Really Big Show at the Academy in 2014.
ON DISPLAY: Fabric Art by Dawn Allen
"In Full Bloom" highlights two series by fabric artist Dawn Allen. All of the pieces are made from fabric using modern art quilting techniques and her own method of transforming the usually flat quilt medium into three dimensional art.
The first “Larger Than Life Flowers” series, created in 2015, was inspired by the moment in the Wizard of Oz when the movie turns to color and the camera pans across giant colorful flowers. This series is fun, exiting, and happy.
The second series, “Doris and Irma Go Wine Tasting,” created in 2016, is inspired by the exaggeration of gardens. Allen says, “I thought about stones, wood, sky and flowers and how those natural elements could be made to look more three-dimensional, more colorful, and have extreme patterns and texture.”
Dawn Allen creates innovative fabric art, based on quilting but the resulting artwork is not like the quilts you have seen before. She created a technique for inserting wire in-between the layers of the quilt to create three-dimensional flowers. While she sometimes uses high quality commercially available cottons, she mostly designs her own textiles. “I take my photographs of nature and textures and manipulate them digitally to create dynamic, brightly colored digital images. I then have those images printed on organic cotton sateen fabric by a print on demand company.” explains Allen.
Allen has always loved color. “My favorite toy when I was five was a box of crayons”, she says. “I didn’t color with them, I just spent hours arranging them in color families.” As a young child she often wondered if everyone saw colors the same way.
Her interest in how people may see differently became very meaningful in 2014 when she was diagnosed with a visual issue. “As I started wearing glasses” says Dawn, “I saw the world differently.”
At first Dawn’s new vision was unsettling but soon she became inspired to create a new body of work; exaggerating color, movement, and dimensions. She often refers to her pieces as “happy art”.
“The fabric art that I create is happy because it is bright, colorful, and often large in scale, has intricate bead work, and conveys a sense of dimension and movement. It makes me happy to create art, and I know people can feel that joy when they look at my work.”