Decorating with Textiles Series: Uta Lenk’s Home of Hand Dyed Quilts
My name is Uta Lenk and I have been actively using my hands ‘making something’ all my life. I live in Germany. My grandmother taught me how to knit even before I entered school, using a magical ball of yarn: she un- and rewound a ball of yarn, putting little goodies into it that would reappear as I was using up more and more of the ball. In the very middle there was a coin – it might have been one Deutschmark, quite a bit of wealth for a little girl at that age! Those little surprises certainly kept me going. At the age of twelve I designed and made complete wardrobes for my Barbie dolls, thinking I would one day become a famous fashion designer. Spinning, weaving, macramé – I’ve done it all. What got me hooked, however, are quilts. Patchwork and quilts have been with me since my year as a high school exchange student in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. When I ended an academic career, I decided to become a full-time quilter, teaching patchwork and making quilts.
I also started a fabric club for hand-dyed fabrics (www.justcolours.de) and am slowly building up a stronger presence at craft fairs as my little son is growing older and it is getting easier to leave him with my husband for a couple or more days.
Textiles have been in our home, too, of course. My quilts can be found on every wall. Here is one above our staircase:
The following ones were hung by my husband more for a sound-functional purpose than for decoration. Our son decided he wanted his drum set in the living room, so we aimed for at least a pretense at sound insulation:
This family heirloom of an armchair came to me from my mother’s side, dating back to at least the late 19th century. The wall next to it is the foreground for changing quilt exhibits:
Recently it had the honor of featuring the first of a series of pillow cases which I am now making to take to markets. This intricate traditional pattern is not my usual style of quilt making, but I found the finished block in a box of fabrics and thought it would be too bad to just let it sit there.
And, of course, a quilt covers my bed during day time.
One of my weaving results is quite aged now, has faded, and is even developing some weaknesses and becoming threadbare. However, it still serves an important function as a dirt catcher in front of our back door which we use quite a lot as an entrance into the house and when coming back in from the garden.
Despite covering almost all of our walls, there are still a number of quilts that need to be stored:
So, it is always good to have some of them either traveling in international exhibitions or on display in solo exhibitions. Current and upcoming shows include one in Freiburg, a textile interpretation of a poem by E.E. Cummings traveling with SAQA‘s show, “Text Messages” and at the Prague Patchwork Meeting in April (2014).
As you can see, the textile techniques have been a big part of my life since childhood and now they are my life’s work. I invite you to follow along on my blog and visit both of my sites to see my quilts and my fabric club. Hand dyed fabrics are great to work with! The colors are soft and varied, bringing warmth and an organic feel to the designs. Please feel free to leave comments here if you have any questions or through my sites:
Decorating with Textiles Series
Many thanks to Uta for sharing her home with us for this series. Uta joined TAFA in October of 2011 and we have loved having her on board! She has been an active member and supported us financially as a sponsor for which we are ever so grateful! We encourage to connect with her and get to know her warmth and talent personally.
Would you like to participate in this series? The Decorating with Textiles Series is an ongoing project on this blog. Participating in this series is open to all of you out there who love textiles. Many of our TAFA members make beautiful decorative textiles and functional work as well and showcasing these homes can help stimulate new ideas of what to do with textiles. Seeing a photo online is much different from seeing how a textile will function in an environment. Many people appreciate textiles but have no idea how to display them or what to do with them. We’d like to have many people participate in this series, each bringing in their own ideas and tastes. You do not have to be a TAFA member to participate.
Contact me if you are interested and would like to submit a post:
rayela [@] comcast.net (remove spaces and brackets)
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About Uta Lenk
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