A collaborative painting

May 27, 2011

This is the Upper School Art Show of the Mounds Park Academy in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The show is open from May 17 to June 3, 2011.

How do I know about it ? That is a real nice story.  One that happened thanks to Internet, quilting, a painting class of  15 students between 15 and 18 and their dedicated art teacher, Renee Sonka, in the heart of the Midwest, Minnesota.

From Africa to Switzerland and on to Minnesota/USA

or how African fabrics are  inspiring and travelling !

You may remember this quilt of mine, an African mosaic I posted on January 2009 as I started this blog.  It is a logcabin pattern made with countless scraps of fabrics I brought back  home after a stay in Africa with my family.

The art teacher, R. Sonka, had a particular project in mind for her painting class. It was entitled : AFRICAN TEXTILES as inspiration for mixed media paintings. The designed plans were to study the textiles, infuse mixed media, think about subject and meaning, become the composer, develop sketches and realize one’s  idea !

In addition the students were to create a larger collaborative painting where each of them would be responsible for small sections of the whole. Together with the picture of the  quilt, I had also posted a detail of it. This is what the students chose to create painted versions of sections of my quilt.

A few students are working on their individual compositions.

Developping sketches

Glimpse  of a larger panel that students are working on collaboratively. The quilt image has been divided up so that each one can contribute a section to the larger whole.

Drawing inspiration from patterns and colours in African textiles.

This is the collaborative painting of a section of my quilt ! I cannot express how honored, admirative and touched I am as I look at the work of those 15 talented students. They used acrylic paint on canvas. Never would I have imagined that my quilt could be such a source of inspiration. It is a beautiful project and you can all be very proud of all you achieved !

The other three pictures represent individual compositions designed by students. More inspiration from patterns, textures, colours found in African textiles. They used acrylic paint on plywood, some include other materials such as fabric, cardboard and raffia.

Panel created by Avalon Levey

Panel created by Greta Gangestad

Panel created by Annette

The art teacher, R. Sonka,  sent me all those pictures, for which I am very grateful and happy to share with you.  Thank you Renee for all your mails and details; without them I would probably not have been able to explain well enough the development of this great project.

This is the school Art Show that represents the drawing, painting and ceramics classes. A beautiful compilation of weeks of work, individual and collaborative. I like this concept very much.

Congratulations and much gratefulness to each and everyone who participated in this fantastic and creative project. With many good wishes for the continuation of your teaching and studies.

Here is a link about the Art Show and the Mounds Park Academy in Saint Paul/MN.



33 Responses to “A collaborative painting”

  1. Cindy said

    Oh well done, you must be so proud that your beautiful quilt inspired these people on the other side of the world!

  2. This is amazing to see happen! I love the idea of collaborative art in schools. When my kids were young, the PTA had developed a fused glassed project with a local glass artist. Each child created a tile that was glued on a canoe which became a permanent display in the school library.

    What an honor for you to have been involved in such project. Specially when your quilt already held a special place in your heart..

    • Many thanks Sujata. I imagine your own quilts would be a wonderful source of inspiration for this type of collaborative painting. Yes, this particular quilt means a lot to me and I love the fact that others chose it for inspiration.

  3. sartenada said

    This is great. Your quilt is really awesome! I do love it. It is really nice to know that in the world of Internet time also young people are interested to do things by their hands.

    My wife is still on beading course and among them there is only one young person, what a pity. What is nice that in Finland there are courses for adults. That is important also from my mind. My post of today shows what people made on glass painting courses during last winter.

    Happy week-end!

    • Lovely to read your words, Matti. Adults’ courses are very popular over here and you can learn a lot in all sorts of activities. I look forward to visiting your post about glass painting courses, one that I had in mind… There is a vitromuseum nearby and I will write a post about it too. Thank you.

  4. montucky said

    Your quilt is absolutely beautiful and it’s no wonder it inspired the others. I certainly commend R. Sonka for creating that art project and congratulate the students for terrific work on it!

  5. That quilt is stunning! The overall pattern is so beautiful, and the closeups reveal how intriguing each fabric scrap is! Sewing is not a talent I possess, so I really admire it in others. 🙂

  6. truels said

    It is great to see how many people around the world love your quilts – like I do. What a wonderful idea this art teacher here has got to work based on the quilt. She must be a very talented and inspiring teacher. Interesting and beautiful post, Isa!

  7. Karma said

    C’est un grand histoire!

  8. DaveSonka said

    Isa, this is wonderful to see! My wife, Renee, was thrilled to find you and your inspiring work, and was very excited to introduce it to her students and conduct this collaborative project. Thanks for sharing in her enthusiasm, and for being so supportive! Your compositions are amazing and her students were able to create such a magnificent piece because of them.

    It is incredible how the Internet and the international language of art and design can can link people together from different continents, and result in such beautiful things.

    All the best to you!
    Dave Sonka
    Minnesota, USA

    • Thanks a lot for your wonderful words, Dave. I really appreciate them. This is a common project and I am so admirative of the artwork Renee and her students created. The correspondences between art and design all over the world are an encouraging sign for all the positive that we are able to do together. No matter what our differences.
      I enjoyed visiting your blog too. I suppose that the various stones you use for landscape design are from your area ? Very beautiful shades and textures. We make a lot of dry stone walls over here.

  9. Reggie said

    Wow… those are incredible images. I find it wonderful that your quilt has inspired so many different works of art in this way. What a brilliant idea!

    • Thanks for your visit and words, Reggie. Just like you I find it incredible that this quilt of mine – one dear to my heart, I must say – has inspired such a creative project. Much gratefulness !

  10. Kathy said

    I can see why you would be honored, Isa. How delightful that your quilt is continuing to create and teach and inspire others around the globe.

    • I am happy you liked this blog, Kathy. I sewed this quilt with a great pleasure, thinking of all the people or places that were related to the fabrics I was assembling. Isn’t it amazing how anything we do in this way has a kind of inspiration for others ? I imagine writing has the same impact, you surely noticed it with your own blog 🙂 Thank you Kathy.

  11. Martha said

    Glorious inspiration and collaboration. It makes me think of the Chinese folklore that a red thread connects us all. I can imagine this going further to the African fabric makers and beyond this community to inspire a deeper insight into art, culture and travel.

    • Very nice to read your words, Martha, thanks for visiting. I like this idea of a red thread connecting us all in a way or another. For me art, culture and travel are unique paths to bring people together, create deeper links and better understanding of one another. I like your thoughts about it.

  12. I love that your quilt making has inspired collaboration because at the heart of things quilts are about community. What an honor Isa.

    • How right you are! Community and “communion” in many ways. Reminds me of Whitney Otto’s wonderful novel “How to Make an American Quilt”. Yes, indeed, I feel honored and deeply touched that my quilts of African fabrics, as diverse as the people I knew there or the places I visited, has touched other people too. Thanks for your words, Sherri.

  13. J’ai toujours admiré les quilts et les personnes qui ont la patience nécessaire pour travailler sur un quilt! J’aime beaucoup ce que tu fais et le fait de pouvoir de cette manière encourager des jeunes de cultures différentes, vraiment, comme on dit, l’art et la beauté sont un language universel.

  14. Merci Joumana 🙂 un quilt – patchwork de tant de tissus – est comme un lieu de rencontres et d’apprentissages multiples, non ? J’aime tes mots :”l’art et la beauté sont un language universel”. Art and Beauty are a universal language.

  15. This is absolutely the best story on the internet. Well done Isa! I love that you are the inspiration for this class and their beautiful show.

  16. Thanks a lot Tammy for you enthusiastic comments. I hope teachers and students will read your encouraging words as they are well deserved for their beautiful art show.

  17. Giiid said

    Congratulations Isa, this is really a wonderful story about how clever people can make things happen. I do understand how happy you must have felt, to see the photos of the students working with your art. It is almost like a growing flower getting buds all the way round.

    Your quilt is beautiful. As usual. 🙂

    • What a lovely comment, Birgitte, thank you ! I like this idea of a “growing flower getting buds all the way round”. Buds like different images and creative interpretation on the same theme. Always different and subject to personal perception.

  18. Janice said

    How wonderful! I did see your quilt before and thought then that it was very beautiful. But for it to be the inspiration for this art project and indeed as a foundation for the study of African fabrics is truly wonderful. I know you feel honoured – rightly so, and the students have used it as inspiration to produce wonderful work. Very well done to everyone concerned!
    And thank you for your lovely comments about my completed embroidery project, Isa!

    • It is a truly wonderful project, you are right, Janice and I do feel honoured and grateful to all who participated in this artwork. Your own Hungarian Embroidery could also be very inspirational for this kind of project. I was looking at it again and trying to imagine a wide field of all kinds of flowers, like the ones you beautifully embroidered. How would they look under the brush of an Impressionist painter ?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: