Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Jenny Bowker Class

The other day I was reading one of the arty blogs I follow, and the artist mentioned how hard it is to get back into things after a trip.  I immediately sympathized!  I've been back from our wonderful trip to Asilomar for an Empty Spools Seminar for almost three weeks and have been so busy I haven't made time to even talk about the trip.

As always, my mom and I had a wonderful time.  This year we took a class called Arabesque with Jenny Bowker, primarily focused on designing tile designs (which I'll talk about more later).  Jenny spent many years living in the middle east as wife of the Australian ambassador, and much of her beautiful work features middle eastern themes and people, including Islamic tiles.  The class was great, Jenny shared more hilarious stories she than I think I've ever heard.  These are just a couple of her quilts she showed us- definitely check out her website or pinterest board for more (and better!) pictures.

c. Jenny Bowker, This was inspired by various photos from her time in Damascus

c. Jenny Bowker, This piece features the Australian landscape-  Uluru I think?

c. Jenny Bowker, this is one of her pieces from a series depicting Egyptian men.  Her portraits are just phenomenal.

c. Jenny Bowker

Jenny is also particularly well-known for her efforts over the last several years to bring attention to the stunning work of the tentmakers of Cairo.  This is a historical art form still practiced by men in Egypt, characterized by precise needle-turn applique of complex geometric patterns onto a canvas backing.  Watching them work is pretty amazing-they applique faster than anyone I've ever seen.  The AQS is the authorized US distributor for tentmaker work, so you can see more pieces on their website, and find more information on the tentmaker page on Jenny's site.  Originally, this type of work was done to entirely cover the inside of the giant tents used in the desert empires.  Here's an example of one from the 17th century Ottoman Empire.  These are a few pieces Jenny had with her in class just to show us what they were like.

Next time, more on what we did in the class!


  1. Shannon, were you the the week starting March 27, or the one before? I was there (in Hilde Morin's class) but I don't think I remember seeing any of the folks in your photo...

    Jenny's work is pretty cool!

  2. Amazing work, both Jenny's and the tent makers.