Monthly Archives: April 2013

Just Because I Like Them

This final post of photos from the Cincinnati International Quilt Festival features quilts that just appealed to me.

Holly At 4 - The Year of Discovery

Based on drawings saved by Holly Altman’s mom, this self portrait is called “Holly At 4 – the Year of Discovery.”

Birds In My Yoyo Garden

“Birds in My Yoyo Garden” by Joanne Johnson and Kim Norton combines redwork and yoyos in an ingenious method of connecting quilt as you go blocks.

Sunflower Exchange Project

This “Sunflower Exchange Project” involved 4 separate quilts made with a common fabric palette.  Before binding, the quilts were cut in fourths and each creator got 4 pieces to sew together and finish as she desired.

Paper pieced feather applique

Not all the work was on the walls.  One attendee used Marie Horner’s paper pieced feather to create her appliqued skirt.

In The Pink

“In The Pink” by Cher Cartwright is an improvisational piece that just cheers me up.

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How Long Did It Take To Make That?

Some quilts command your attention by dint of their incredible detail and bravura workmanship.  Japanese quilters seem to have cornered this market.

Flowers in My Heart

In “Flowers In My Heart” (detail shown) Noriko Kido hand pieced, hand appliqued, hand quilted, and hand embroidered her take on the Dresden Plate block.  Those little yellow circles are all hand appliqued.

Departure

“Departure” by Kiyomi Takayanagi shows yet another Japanese master of hand work.

Five Bar Blues (detail)

Diane Loomis’ “Five Bar Blues” (detail shown) is machine pieced and machine quilted with silk thread.  She used lots of trapunto.

Present (detail)

I’m not a big fan of hearts in quilts (so sue me) but the sheer number of them, and in a scalloped border, struck me in Toshiko Matsuo’s “Present.”  Of course all the work was done by hand.

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Views at the Quilt Show

I’ve often thought that creating a good landscape in fabric is daunting, but exhibitors at the Cincinnati International Quilt Festival seemed to have had no difficulties.

Lakeside Solace

Noriko Endo continues to wow me with her multilayer technique.  Here in “Lakeside Solace” she uses an unusual perspective on the solitary heron.

Rainy Day San Francisco

Sally Wright used her own photo of the San Francisco Bay Bridge to create “Rainy Day-San Francisco.”  I love the atmosphere conveyed in this quilt and in the Endo quilt.

Prairie Fire

Ruth Powers’ “Prairie Fire” won awards at the big Houston show and has been shown lots of other places.  Ruth does an amazing job of using all commercial fabrics to create her scenes.  I couldn’t photograph her SAQA entry, but the journal she kept while making that piece was of even greater interest to me than the work itself.  If you have a chance to see the SAQA Seasonal Palette exhibit, please spend some time with the artists’ journals.

Marmelade Sunset

Ludmila Aristova does cunning things with pleats and prairie points in “Marmalade Sunset.”  The shimmery fabrics used really capture light reflecting on all that glass.

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Cincinnati Show Modern

Next up from the recent International Quilt Festival are photos of modern style quilts that caught my eye and camera.  These are a mix from a national exhibit and a Dresden Plate challenge by the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild.

J Rock Star

“J Rock Star,” by Victoria Findley Wolfe, is a riff on the classic diamond patterned star that skews the symmetry a bit and uses the red lines to create the diamonds.  I’m amused at how the background fabric changes directions.  I remember being admonished to choose a nondirectional fabric in such situations.

Reds-Den Plate

“Reds-Den Plate” by Janine Keeton is part of the Cincinnati guild’s Dresden Plate challenge.  I like the limited palette and the reconstruction of the block, and who could resist the punny title.

The Dresden Files

“The Dresden Files” by Kelly Biscopink, quilted by Angela Walters, is separate from the Cincinnati guild exhibit, but it also takes on that classic block. I just love the allusion to the popular fantasy series in this quilt’s title. Check out how Kelly carefully rotated the position of the colors in each plate.

IMG_2226

The two blue arcs in “Convergence” by Latifah Saafir really make it sing to me.  I did channel my inner quilt police to note that it doesn’t hang as straight as it could, a condition in more than one of the modern quilts on exhibit.

Ripple by Dnaiel Rouse

“Ripple,” by Daniel Rouse, takes apart the drunkard’s path and remakes it into something like alien symbols.  Again, there are technical issues, possibly with the batting or with the unquilted areas. I hope you noticed it’s the first quilt in this post that doesn’t use red.

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A Big League Quilt Festival

The weekend before last I helped put on a quilt show.  This past weekend I attended one – the International Quilt Festival in Cincinnati.  I much prefer paying admission and enjoying the fruits of other people’s labor to doing the heavy lifting.

For four and a half hours I wandered the exhibits that ranged from modern quilts to SAQA art quilts to traditional quilts to the Hoffman challenge quilts.  And I admired the work of artists from Israel, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Japan, and elsewhere.  Yes, I also wandered through the vendor area, though I mostly bought thread.  I did succumb to two Malaysian batik fat quarters, but a mere half yard fabric purchase is almost like fabric abstinence.

Oddly, I found I recognized some of the quilts on exhibit, especially the modern ones. The Quilt National 2011 exhibit allowed me to revisit quilts I had seen at the Dairy Barn.  I guess that’s the downside of the internet’s vast reach.  It also probably reflects the tendency of some quilts to be on “the circuit” of several national shows.  No photography is allowed at the SAQA exhibit, but even so I had seen pictures online of a few works from that exhibit.

Trends spotted:

  • Noriko Endo’s techniques have been adopted by several quilters
  • Glittery embellishments were much less in evidence and used more sparingly
  • Japanese quilters continue to produce immensely detailed work sewn by hand
  • The number of medallion quilts was much less than in previous shows
  • The color palettes used were much brighter and “prettier”
  • There seemed to be less use of variegated thread in quilting
  • Big stitch hand quilting/embroidery was popular.

I plan to post photos of some of the quilts that caught my eye.  I hope to group them by type – art, modern, etc. – but I reserve the right (it is my blog) to change my approach on a whim.

First up, my favorite creatures, a platypus and a kangaroo from Dreamtime by Antonia Hering from the Netherlands:

Dreamtime platypus

Dreamtime platypus

Dreamtime kangaroo

Then, for an amazingly tactile bird, there’s Captain Kimo by Nancy Martin and Karen Sistek:

Captain Kimo

Here’s an owl from the Hoffman Challenge by Christine Bagley.  Love the use of flower petals for feathers:

A Flammulated Owl

Yet more birds by Beth Schnellenberger in Black Beauties:

Black Beauties

More pictures to come in future posts.

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What’s A Quilt Worth, Revisited

Sunday morning I was browsing the New York Times as I sipped my coffee.  I turned to the styles section for amusement (do normal people look like those models?)  and a picture of a quilt on page 3 caught my eye.

Let me quote the Times.  “The quilts are an ode to traditional American craftsmanship, made in Sugar Valley, Pa., by Amish artisans who pieced together the panels of hunter-green neoprene, lavender silk and cobalt-blue wool by hand.”  The quilt itself features large blocks of solids and looks to be tied rather than quilted. It is made from repurposed materials used in a fall 2013 fashion collection, and is available as a limited-edition pre-order for a mere $3,400. It is 71 inches by 57 inches.

Kroll quilt

It’s to laugh. I have nothing against this quilt, but the pretentious wording – Amish artisans, ode to traditional American craftsmanship – must add at least $1000 to the price.  And I’m glad they’re using the fabric leftovers from the clothing collection, but shouldn’t that make the price less? Or does the repurposed fabric add enough cachet to tack several hundreds more onto the price?

I must remember this approach if I ever try to sell my scrap quilts.  Let’s see – “eclectic collection of hand selected fabrics that reveal the changing history of women’s material desires .”  Oops, forgot to use the word “artisanal.”

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Quilt Show Perfection – Or Something Like It

Last Saturday at about 5 p.m. my guild’s quilt show was officially over when the last quilt was picked up.  We closed the doors at 4 p.m. By 4:45 all the quilts were unpinned from the drapes, folded, and sorted by entrants’ last names; and the pipe and drape was disassembled and neatly stacked on the rental outfits’ carts.  Mind you, we dismantled that ourselves with lots of help from a church youth group.

As God is my witness, I’ll never co-chair a quilt show again.  It’s nothing to do with my co-chairs, who were wonderful, or the stalwart guild member volunteers.  It’s just too much work.

But enough of that.  Let me share a photo of a fabulous quilt from our show.  Enjoy.

Judges-choice-O'Connor

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Behind the Drapes

…at a quilt show, that is.  For the past year I’ve been embroiled in co-chairing my guild’s show.  It opens April 5 and closes on the 6th.  So, what’s the big deal, you think.  Just collect a bunch of quilts, stick them up in a room, and invite people in to look at them.  If you want to get fancy, give out ribbons.

quilt show sign

Oh how I wish it were that easy.  I suppose it should be, but… First, you have to find a place to hold the show that’s available for more than a weekend.  Most places charge, often by the day, to use their facilities. Yes, that includes churches. Usually you’ll need to use the place for more days than the show itself.  There’s quilt intake, judging, and setting up the quilt display before the show even opens.  And that means either your guild has a bottomless checking account or you have to charge people to look at the quilts.  And if you’re going to charge, then you need to throw in a few extras – raffles, auctions, vendors, special exhibits.

Then you need to decide what kind of show you’re going to have – exhibit only or judged.  And if judged, are you going to use categories or a points system?  Categories are a special form of hell, as quilt techniques and sizes get mashed together, despite the best efforts of organizers to group by pieced, appliqued, mixed techniques, and the like.  Instead guild members insist there be a category for, say, crib quilts, or large bed size.  That leads to large bed size pieced, large bed size appliqued, large bed size mixed, and so forth.  And someone will always complain that her quilt was put in the wrong category.

So, use the points system, you say.  That’s what we’re trying for this show, but we’ve found some people object to this approach and refuse to enter their quilts.  I’ll let you know how well this works out after the fact.

What else goes into putting on a quilt show?  There’s finding vendors willing to pay for space, publicizing the show (and creating all the bookmarks, flyers, etc.), lining up the pipe and drape on which to display the quilts, setting up a show registration system, arranging labels for the quilts, putting together the program, finding volunteers to help with all this plus staff the show itself.  And then there’s the ancillary stuff – the raffles, auctions, etc.  I don’t have space here to share my to-do list with you.  Suffice it to say I’ve told my husband he won’t see me from Tuesday until Saturday night.

So why do it?  It’s something to bring guild members together, though as with all such endeavors a few are doing most of the work. We hope our show will raise money the guild can use for workshops, speakers, and other endeavors.  We’re really watching expenses because our past shows haven’t been especially profitable. Part of our raffle proceeds always go to a local charity. Our show allows local quilters to strut their stuff and maybe win a ribbon or two. It gives us a chance to have small exhibits of modern and art quilts.  More generally, it gives the non-quilting public a chance to see what all this quilting stuff is about.  And finally, it always seems like a good idea at the time.

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