06 November 2011

A Quilter's Gathering 2011

Top left: Patrons examine quilts
Bottom left: detail,
Life in a Northern Town, Jeanne Aurelio.
Middle: quilter in patchwork jacket.

Top right: detail,
Irish Cream, Linda M. Roy.
Bottom right: Blue Hawaiian Hibiscus, Janet A. Elia.

On Sunday, November 6, DH and I went to the regional quilt show, A Quilter's Gathering, in Nashua, New Hampshire. This year's show showcased the theme "Sisterhood Swirls" , focusing on collaboration and collectivity in quilt-making. For example, the invitational exhibit featured works by textile artists who work together, sometimes literally fashioning one work of art through a collaborative process, or through providing mutual support and expertise as each member fashions individual works. These sustaining groups can be families, friends, communities and guilds.

Kesa for Wu-Men, Carol Anne Grotrian.

Carol Anne Grotrian, with whom I studied the shibori dyeing techniques featured in the quilt above, belongs to an ensemble of women called "The Crit Group," who have been meeting for over twenty-five years. More about "The Crit Group" at Carol Anne's website: www.carolannegrotrian.com/About/critgroup.htm

September Fabulous Imperial Gloriosa,
Barbara Persing and Mary Hoover.
Left: detail, machine-quilting on reverse of quilt.

The work of actual sisters was on display, too. Barbara Persing and Mary Hoover are the creative team of Fourth and Sixth Designs, named, aptly, for their birth order in their family of six children. Barbara and Mary lead several classes at the show this year.

Their engaging website is http://www.4and6designs.com/

Left: Paniers du Soleil, Maribeth Schmit.
Right: Feedsack Baskets, Ildiko Tary.

Sometimes the theme was expressed in sister quilts - two quilts gestated from the same pattern. I have no idea if the makers of these two quilts - one resident in Massachusetts and the other from Wisconsin - know each other. Although the one on the right won an award, I like the way the baskets "pop" from the background of the quilt on the left.

Cynthia's Quilt, Amy Fitzpatrick.

This quilt was made in memory of a deceased member of a group of quilting friends. The beehive motif, which is just charming, is especially poignant, as the beehive is a symbol of harmonious community endeavor, and is particularly appropriate given the quilt show theme.

Top left: Thyme to Water, Terry Burris.
Bottom left: Applique on Black I, Maggie Judd.
Center: Birds & Blossoms, B. Foote-Lacroix.
Right: Needs Full Sun, Mary Ginn.

For whatever reason, excellent quilts featuring imaginative applique motifs and techniques were plentiful and varied in this show. Even when using a commercial pattern - Needs Full Sun is from a pattern by designer Cynthia Tomaszeski - the implentations featured inventive borders and colorways.
Top left: Mom and Auntie Jean Play Gin, Rana O'Connor.
Bottom left: detail, Inside Out, Catherine Berry.

Top right: Finnagin, Jaci Lawson.
Bottom right: detail, Two Roads Diverged, Patricia Washburn.

The quilt show was packed, the parking lot full, and quilters had to watch their elbows in the crowded vending areas. Quilt shows are an interesting phenomenon - well-attended exhibits of non-commercial art, mostly created by people with self-taught artistic and technical skills. Women used to be enslaved by the burden of sewing and needlework, but affordable, mass-produced clothing has made stitching and sewing a leisure activity for self-expression.

This is the last time this show will be mounted at the Radisson hotel, as that facility is closing, and I hope the new venue, which rumor has it will be in Manchester, New Hampshire, will have better illumination. Kudos to my little Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 for capturing these quilts in tough lighting conditions.

Stone Cottage, Kathy Rich.

While many of the quilts on display are the work of experienced artisans, the basic log cabin design above, executed in a very pleasing color combination, is beginner-friendly. Ms. Rich credits Judy Martin's Log Cabin Quilt Book as her pattern source.

Pinwheels in Provence - my quilt gets its fifteen minutes of fame.