First off, nothing beats seeing your own work on display. It always looks better at a venue than it does stuffed somewhere in the studio. Context helps too. Needless to say, seeing any artwork in person is better than online or in a book. That’s not always practical, but it is so worth it when possible.
Second, the whole weekend series of events around Quilt National was fun. Like going to the IQF quilt show in Houston, there’s inspirational work to see, but much of the adventure is about meeting one’s peers and connecting over shared experiences and insightful conversations. Quilt National is the premier show for contemporary art quilts, and much more than the basically traditional IQF, or QuiltCon shows, this is my element. Gallery type shows like this, Art Quilt Elements, Visions, and the like are where my work fits best, and where I can connect with peers who approach to their work in a mindset similar to my own (that’s not to say any group is exclusive or monolithic).
It’s great to see old friends and acquaintances and to make new ones. I made the trip with my good friends Lorie McCown, who had work in the show too, and Jill Kertulla who was just plain curious about this art quilt world she’s recently entered. I love seeing Betty Busby everywhere I go. Her smiling face and welcoming attitude is just a joy. And now I can add Maria Shell amongst others to my growing list of inspiring ladies I know. And yes, there was a lot of laughter and silliness with these ladies and more.
Here’s Juror Rosalie Dace talking to Betty about the scale of Betty’s fantastic vessel. That may really be what the weekend was about: three days of talking to each other about all aspects of our art. So so so fun and interesting and fulfilling.
In addition to the small group chats that happen organically at the meal table, and with a glass of wine by the pool, or on a walk between the Barn and the hotel, each artist attending had the opportunity to talk more formally about their specific piece. These two minute recordings will soon be available to view via the Dairy Barn website. My photo of Deidre Adams was unflattering so yo only get to see teeny tiny Deidre on the camera. Her work is one of those that must be seen in person to be fully appreciated.
Here’s Inge Hüber’s work two ways. What often gets lost in photos is that the colors shift as you view it from different angles.
Diane Nuñez’s dimensional work grew when installed because the lighting adds wonderful patterns to the floor.
I only took photos with my phone, and didn’t even spend much time at that, really wanting to soak up the people while I could. Rather than share crappy photos of peoples’ beautiful work, I’ll just show a few details that caught my eye and suggest that those interested can seek out better images via each artist.
The splatters and thin lines of Sandra Poteet’s “Open Spaces” intrigued me.
The lovely drawing and spare stitches in Kate Gorman’s “A Keeper of Secrets and Parakeets” reminds me of the delicate illustration style that is popular in other arenas.
“Femoral Fracture: A Fall” by Helen Geglio was full of lovely hand stitched detail, as is my friend Lorie’s work “The Story Quilt.” We decided the two pieces must be cousins.
Pam RuBert’s “London – Wish You Were Hair” included a fun surprise.
Overall, I thought the show was of consistent and high quality. The jurors gave a talk on Saturday and were unanimous in stating that they picked the best work from what was presented, without regard to ratios, themes, or trends. Just art that had good visual impact and something that made you want to come back and learn more. With that I’m heading back to my regular life, but now with my creative tank full, and hopefully ready to contemplate and then create more worthy art.