27 Feb

Field Trip to Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival

I went to the Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival today with my art quilt friend Lorie and her friend Elizabeth. We had a grand time checking out all the quilts and sharing our reactions. We also had lunch with my Hawaii Quilt Guild friend JoAnne and her friend Dorothy. Plus, we saw several other locals we know from art quilt events, like Sandy and Lisa. I have to say, it’s kind of fun to run into people I know in random places.

The show is what I would consider to be a typical large quilt show. I pretty much knew what I would be seeing and was not surprised or disappointed when we got there. It is actually a perfectly sized show — large enough to have a decent variety of work and to attract some quality pieces, yet small enough that you can see everything in a day and not be completely exhausted or overwhelmed like the Houston show. We concentrated on the quilts and just had a cursory look at the vendors.

I took a few photos with my phone and I will warn that they are pretty crappy. My sincere apologies to the makers of the work because it all looks far, far better in person. I’ll also warn that everything I write here is my admittedly biased and terribly opinionated opinion. I am making no attempt at being fair or inclusive in my review of the show.

That said, the main focus of the show is their annual contest. This year’s theme was Silver Lining. There were a lot of quilts with a lot of quilting, and not a few with crystals and some glittery fabrics or threads. Everything was very “accessible” and easy to decipher. There was a lot of technically nice work, but nothing that really spoke to me. I feel that way about most of the quilt shows I visit though.

My SAQA friend Diane, who is one of the few people whose work with digital images on fabric I like, got a ribbon! Best Use Of Color. My photo sucks though and you should really go see a better image on her blog.



The Hoffman Challenge didn’t speak to me. There seemed to be an underlying peacock theme, which maybe I even sensed a few years ago at Houston. Maybe that’s a Hoffman thing?

There was a group of quilts in the back corner that may have been based on a Jinny Beyer class or something. They all seemed to have a similar fish eye optical illusion thing going on and were all meticulously made. Part of, or next to, that group was this beauty. It’s called Seymore and is by Barb Hollinger. It is my favorite quilt from the whole show. (You never know what I’m going to be attracted to.)


What grabbed me first off is the unlikely combination of the Lone Star section in it’s perfect Jinny Beyer color gradation and the stylized Jane Sassaman leaves, floral center, and wavy border. If you know anything about contemporary quilting, you’d never think of combining the styles of these two designers. They really shouldn’t work together, but here, they do! I love unexpected, quirky combos like that. The leaf shapes are so beautiful, and I’ve never seen a treatment of the background on a Lone Star anything like them. I love the name too — based on the voracious plant in Little Shop of Horrors (very Jane who I know likes pretty with a little danger on the side). To top it all off, the quilt is well made and skillfully quilted. It’s more purple and green in real life, and who doesn’t like purple and green?

I think that I posted a bunch of Baltimore Album quilts from Houston the last time I went. There’s something traditional and charming about them that seems to draw me in every time. This Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival had a large exhibit called “A is for Appliqué” by the Baltimore Appliqué Society. We really liked this black and white one called Black and White and Baltimore All Over by Janice Reece because, well because black and white! The tree in the third row is just absolutely charming, and the last block on the top row looks much more complicated just because of an excellent fabric choice.


Tonya, this Halloween album is for you! Bad me, I forgot to get the name of the maker. She did a great job though.MAQF 4


I almost walked by this Texas themed Album Quilt by Polly Mello, titled Deep Within My Heart Lies a Melody: A Memory of Texas. I admired the longhorns along the bottom and was about to move on…MAQF 5

but then I noticed the creepy crawlies! There also seemed to be critter footprints quilted all over the quilt (but not in this detail).MAQF 5 det 1

And look, a fuzzy tarantula! Yup, I’m impressed by a well-appliquéd velvet tarantula.MAQF det 2


Speaking of velvet, Lorie and I were inspired by this piece called Chavela by Cecelia Gonzales-Desedamas. It took all our strength not to touch it all over. I want to roll around in it’s pebble-quilted velvet sumptuousness. Yes, we’re going to incorporate quilted velvet into everything now. Yummy!MAQF 7 MAQF 7 det


Chavela was part of the SAQA exhibit “Color Wheel of Emotions.” I was a little stumped by this exhibit. I didn’t get the color wheel thing, and I didn’t feel much emotion either. We wondered if it was the way the quilts were hung. The exhibit is in a series of three-walled “cubicles” and maybe having the work separated like that lessened the connection between them. If they were all in one line or one room where they could play off each other in more than groups of three, maybe the color wheel would have emerged. I feel bad that I feel meh about the exhibit.

This last one is also a mystery to me. It’s called Jumping Jehoshaphat and it’s by Anne Kimball. I didn’t want to like it. But look at those New York Beauty triangles on the big guy’s shell, and the flying geese in his tail. They are really well done, and honor the fact that this is, in actuality, a quilt. So does the compass sun. The armadillos’ ears are dimensional too. That’s so gimmicky I should hate it, but it’s working for me. And the fuzzy fringe on the big one’s ears? Ack! I can’t explain it, but the more I stood in front of these armadillos, the more I liked them.


Maybe that was the sign it was time to go check out the vendor area.