31 May

Homefront & Downrange

It’s almost here! The day after tomorrow, I’m packing up my show and on Wednesday I’ll drive to North Carolina to set it up. There are all kinds of events planned around the event, to include  two receptions, a talk at a major sponsor’s place, hosting a SAQA regional meeting, a special military day (which sadly, I won’t be able to attend), and what is sure to be a fantastic exhibit with my textile art, photos by Hunter Rudd, and selected pieces from the Combat Paper project.

Homefront & Downrange


June 5th – July 10th, 2015
Arts Council of Moore County
Campbell House
482 East Connecticut Avenue
Southern Pines, NC 28387

Using art as a catalyst for conversation, reflection, discovery, and education, HOMEFRONT & DOWNRANGE will take a deep and personal look at many aspects of military life:

An Army wife’s story through narrative textiles by Kristin La Flamme; A soldier’s story through photographs by Hunter Rudd; The story of returning home from combat through artwork selected from the Combat Paper Project; The story of military children through artwork selected by the Military Child Education Coalition.

08 Feb

Home Fires at Etui Fiber Arts

Last weekend I drove up to New York to hang my exhibit Home Fires at Etui Fiber Arts. We had a reception on Sunday which was unfortunately quiet — probably because of the impending storm and the Superbowl. The show looks fantastic though. The space is light and bright and shows off my work so well. The great news is that the show has been extended and will be on view at Etui until March 14th! We will have an artist talk on the 14th as well as a workshop by my friend Natalya Aikens, and an opportunity to just hang out and work on stitched or knitted projects. So, if you missed the opening reception, please join us for a closing party in March! And, of course, one can see the show any time between now and then.

Home Fires Exhibit


I would be remiss if I didn’t also say that Natalya was instrumental in helping me hang this show. She’s awesome. Plus, I got to hang out with her all week-end which is great. We went to the Katonah Museum of Art to see their current exhibit Line Describing a Cone, which was quite fascinating. It’s great to go to an exhibit with a friend and be able to discuss what we’re experiencing. We both really liked a very organic piece made with zip ties, and I liked a sculpture defined by light, while she was entranced by an installation with mirrors.  For most of the weekend (and bonus snow day) we talked and talked and talked, and, as happens every time we’re together, I came away with an inspired list of things to work on and new enthusiasm for my work. Artist play dates are great and I am so thankful that I have a group of wonderful artist girlfriends who all inspire me every day. I look forward to returning in March.


Home Fires Exhibit

Home Fires Exhibit

Home Fires Exhibit

Home Fires at Etui

11 Dec

On Finding One’s Audience

Zeitgeist web

I love this quilt. I think it’s funny, I think it’s snarky, I think it’s topical, and I think it’s well made. I am proud of it.

So now what? As an artist I kind of feel like my work is a conversation, so it’s not really complete until someone besides me has a response to it. I very much want this giant cat to go out into the world and talk to people.

Zeitgeist is my “fan art” inspired by the Grumpy Cat internet meme. I combined the cat with the styling of Louis Wain, a Victorian era illustrator who’s large eyed cats and zany patterned backgrounds were thought to be an expression of his mental illness. To me the combination of Grumpy Cat’s pessimism and Wain’s schizophrenia perfectly expressed the current mood of the US. To embody this in a quilt large enough to wrap one’s self in further pushed the wackiness of the concept. Yes, comfort yourself with your crazy cynicism.

My first impulse was to submit it to IQF Houston’s annual World of Beauty show in 2013. The Houston show responds well to representational, bright and bold work. Besides, between Quilt Market and Quilt Festival, that’s a lot of eyes on any quilt in the show and that’s a great conversation. Unfortunately, I paid a long arm quilter to quilt Zeitgeist which means it was work for hire and thus disqualified from entering.

So, I settled for the New England Quilt Festival and Pacific International Quilt shows. They were OK, but not really who I thought my target audience was. These were, in general, not the crowd to get excited about an internet inspired, bold fabric using, subtle commentary kind of quilt. Mostly, I think people wondered if this was just a portrait of my cat.

For the sake of contrast and to introduce it to a different audience, I entered Zeitgeist into Art Quilt Elements 2013. Based on the types of work that usually get in, I was pretty amazed that the quilt was even accepted. That piece had no business being at Art Quilt Elements given what is normally accepted and awarded prizes, and yet it won Best of Show. It was the connection to current culture that spoke to the jurors. Yet I wouldn’t have guessed that it would win anything when I entered it.

All along though, I was waiting for the call for entries for the 2015 QuiltCon (biennial) show. The Modern Quilt movement that puts on the show blossomed online. It markets itself to the youthful quilter or at least the quilter with a “fresh” aesthetic. Bold prints are popular amongst many Modern Quilters. Their quilts are meant to be used, not to go on the wall — though there’s plenty that are wall sized. And while I don’t believe that Zeitgeist exemplifies Modern Quilting (and that’s why it was rejected from the Modern Quilt Showcase in Houston), I did believe that the internet surfing, meme generating, bold pattern using, hip, younger show-goers at QuiltCon would understand and appreciate my quilt. I thought that could be an audience that would get excited about it and talk with it.

I’ve been processing the rejection from QuiltCon for a few hours now, and the thing that really sticks out to me is just how hard it can be to find one’s audience. I’m not emotionally crushed, just kind of baffled as to where and how I should be showing my work in this vein. My friend Lorie tells me I’m fishing in the wrong stream. I need to look at the Art world. My work may be grounded in the quilt tradition, but the quilt tradition in any of it’s guises is not my audience. I’ve been mulling over the idea of a “Craft the Internet” show. I admit that I’m scared and apprehensive to put on a curator’s hat and do the work required to create a show, but maybe that’s the way to get my work into spaces where it can converse with an appropriate audience.

24 Nov

Around The World Blog Hop

My buddy Deborah Boschert tagged me in an Around the World Blog hop in which we answer four questions about our creative process and then tag two more bloggers to do the same. Check out Deborah’s blog post to read her answers and follow her links to read back through many other fascinating blog hoppers.


1. What am I working on?
I’ve usually got several things going on at once which each appeal to different moods and need.
• Right now I’m working on the next in my series of Security Blankets. This one has to do with the TSA and incorporates those blue figures I was working on a while ago, plus floral weaponry.
• I’m also working on a piece, or collection of pieces, for my Army Wife series. Inspired by eye momentos, either photographs or miniature paintings set into jewelry as a reminder of absent loved ones, I have transferred images of my husband’s eye (at specific time periods) onto hankies and am now in the process of embroidering the dates and locations of his corresponding deployments onto the hankies.
• And, in the background, I am working on creating a business in which I make stylish lap quilts from military uniforms. It will be called Modern Military Quilts and I hope to have more to say about it soon.

Star Quilt sm

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
This is a tough question for me because I’m not entirely sure what my genre is. I love to draw on the history of traditional quilts, but my work is definitely not traditional. I suppose I could categorize my work with improvisational quilters, but mine has narrative underpinnings. Of course, every quilt has a story, so it’s really just a matter of how far that story goes. I call myself an art quilter, and I suppose my work differs from many in that genre in that I don’t stick to just the quilt form, but work in other fiber techniques as the concept of the individual work dictates. But, already I can think of many artists who work in various fiber traditions simultaneously, so I’m not so different in that way. My work is definitely concept driven, but there is a precedent for that both in the art quilt crowd and in the greater art world. In fact, I worry that if I call my work conceptual I’ll be too readily compared to others who are far smarter than I in their artwork. Maybe my work is different in that it doesn’t easily fit into a genre, but that’s a little too self-important for my tastes. We all like to think we’re different in our own ways.
Momento of an absent loved one


3. Why do I write/create what I do?

I make art because I am, and always have been, compelled to do so. I love working with my hands and there is no lack of ideas in my head to fuel those hands.
Floral Weaponry

4. How does my writing/creating process work?
I start with an idea, of course. Then I go to my sketchbook, which is more like a diary or log book some days; I write the basic idea and then a conversation with myself about ways I could interpret said idea. Sometimes things flow, sometimes I let it percolate for a while and add notes a day, or a week, or on occasion a year, later. At some point, it’s time to get to the making, so I gather my supplies — which may be fabric from my stash, but recently has meant deconstructing a flag, culling photos from our albums, or experimenting with methods of sun printing human bodies. If I need to prepare a cartoon or grid to follow, as in Zeitgeist, Selfie, or Temporary Safety, now is the time for that and it includes some time at my computer working with Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. Click on the link to Selfie for a nice blog post about the process of creating that particular artwork. Of course, each piece is different, so for example, the process of actually making Selfie is very different than the making of embroidered hankies. I almost always have an idea in my head of what I want the finished artwork to looks like, generally, but it really takes form in the making. I never know exactly how each fabric or element is going to affect the others until I see it in the cloth. That keeps the process fresh for me. There is always room for adjustment, surprise, and serendipity while I’m making something. A piece is finished when I feel like I can walk away from it.


I tagged my local friend Lotta Helleberg to join the blog hop next. Be sure to check out her post next Monday, November 31st. Since tagging a second person was confounded by our good friend Murphy and his laws, my friend Terry Grant graciously offered the post she wrote only a little while ago. You can read her answers and follow her links right now.
14 Nov

Houston Quilt Festival 2014 (part 2)

I took a lot of photos of quilts that were interesting to me in one way or another. They are not particularly good photos, so part of me feels like I am doing a disservice to the makers of those quilts. On the other hand, I know that those who can’t make it to a particular show often enjoy seeing even a part of it vicariously through those who did go. I know that I’m often that person. So, here’s a completely subjective, not at all cohesive or inclusive, handful of quilts that I enjoyed seeing at the Quilt Festival in Houston.

The big draw is IQF’s annual World of Beauty show. It’s the one with the big prizes and about a million categories. The big prize winners were impressive as always and can be seen on IQF’s website. Overall, I tended to like the second place winners best.

Growth by Maria Elkins
Growth by Maria Elkins. I just loved the ovoid shapes and the way the colors gradate from pastel to jewel and the background from dark grey to white. It’s a refreshing change from the currently popular rainbow method of organizing color. I don’t remember which category this was in.


GMOs Gone Wild by Betsy Brandt-Kreutz
GMOs Gone Wild by Betsy Brandt-Kreutz in the Art-Abstract, Small, category attracted me with it’s wild milifiori look. We decided that it was definitely a commitment to a look, and I have to respect that conviction. This may have been in the Embellished category. I like that too — embellished but without the usual glitz.


Eight Branchlets by Janet Steadman
Eight Branchlets by Janet Steadman. I think this was in the Art Quilt, small, category. I really liked the crafts(wo)manship on this. Also, it’s just plain lovely.


The Messenger by Marlene Shae
I found The Messenger by Marlene Shae in the Whimsical category to be utterly enchanting. I love the somewhat folkloric style of the illustration and the fabric choices. I’d love to see an entire book illustrated with quilts like this.


Shared Destiny by Patricia Kennedy-Zafred
Shared Destiny by Patricia Kennedy-Zafred was my favorite in the digital imagery category. There were a few variations on this multiple versions of a single image theme, but I think one was done the best. I appreciate that the ground fabric is patterned and I like the insertion of contrasting fabrics within each image as well as the addition of Flying Geese motifs.

Shared Destiny by Patricia Kennedy-Zafred (detail)
Shared Destiny, detail


Towers and Spires by Paula Tanner
Towers and Spires by Paula Tanner used miles of satin stitch in an interesting way. This also may have been in the Embellished category.

Towers and Spires by Paula Tanner (detail)
Towers and Spires, detail


Hudson Trader by Coleen Wise
Hudson Trader by Coleen Wise. You can’t go wrong with blue and white. I like how this one seems pretty traditional and basic at first glance, but then you notice the illusion of the spheres and the subtle changes in their size and it just becomes sublime. Well, to me at least.


Somewhat, but not too surprisingly, I absolutely loved the exhibit of 500 Traditional Quilts. There was no photography allowed, so I have nothing to share. There is wonderful, inspiring, and varied work in the collection though so I may have to buy the catalog (along with the catalog for the Walsh collection we saw at the Quilt Museum in La Grange).


Another special exhibit that is always a favorite of mine is Tactile Architecture.

Rooflines #8 by Colleen Kole
Rooflines #8 by Colleen Kole is to me a perfect combination of quiltiness and implied imagery. It’s also influenced by both the quilts of Gee’s Bend and Nancy Crow/Lisa Call, but too derivative.


Rooflines #2 by Colleen Kole
No surprise that her other entry, Rooflines #2, appealed to me too. This one is more derivative of the School of Nancy Crow/Lisa Call, but appropriate and well executed and therefore no less appealing to me.


Bedolina Threads by Maggie Vanderweit
And for something completely different, I loved the stitchiness of Bedolina Threads by Maggie Vanderweit.


I couldn’t enter Zeitgeist into the World of Beauty show because I paid for it to be long-arm quilted (entries by more than one person must be collaboration — no work for hire), so I submitted it to the Modern Quilt Showcase for another stab at it being seen in Houston. It was rejected, and so I was curious to see what quilts were ultimately chosen. As I suspected, my cat would not have fit in the exhibit because though it might appeal to a “modern” audience, it does not exemplify Modern quilting. I did enjoy seeing what does exemplify the movement though. Two of my favorites:

Entropy by Elisa Albury
Entropy by Elisa Albury

City Center by Angie Henderson
City Center by Angie Henderson


The pursuit of Happiness by Robin Felton
The Farm to Table special exhibit was also predominantly Modern in it’s aesthetic. I just loved The Pursuit of Happiness by Robin Felton for it’s bold simplicity and nod to both furrows and flag.


Finally, these cheerful mola-style dogs kept jumping out at me from the It’s Raining Cats and Dogs exhibit.

Los Perros de Panama by Kathleen Kennedy-Dennis
Los Perros de Panama by Kathleen Kennedy-Dennis

08 Nov

Houston Quilt Festival 2014 (Part 1)

It’s a little hard to explain or wrap up Quilt Festival. It’s big and overwhelming, and I think it’s different for everyone. The first year I attended, it was mostly about curiosity, and a little bit to thank sponsors for supporting my husband’s IBOL project to get sewing supplies to women in Iraq. I was completely overwhelmed and definitely had the feeling that everyone else knew what was going on and I was clueless. The second time I attended was when Twelve by Twelve, the online quilt challenge group i belonged to, had a special exhibit. I had a home base at the exhibit and a bunch of good friends to experience the show with. It was much more fun and I know I got a lot more out of the experience. This year, I went for three reasons: one, I have a piece in this year’s Dinner@8 special exhibit and I wanted to experience being part of that group of ladies; two, it was a great excuse to visit my bestie Deborah and spend time with her; and three, I’m at a point in my “career” where making contacts is important to moving forward and Houston is a good place for that (though I suspect Market is better than Festival, but I’ll take what I can get).


IQF Ruby Jubilee exhibit of red and white quilts


2014 is/was Quilts Inc’s 40th Anniversary so they celebrated with a Ruby Jubilee. Overall I was super impressed with the look of the show. I think there was great use of vertical space and an unexpected variety in ways of exhibiting work. As soon as Market opened a week before Festival, it seemed everyone was posting photos of the dramatic vortex of red and white quilts. I was curious as to whether it was part of the Infinite Variety show that had been in New York a few years ago, or not. Info at the show confirmed that this collection was very much inspired by Infinite Variety.

Impressive display of red and white quilts


I’m not entirely sure what this photo exhibit was about. It may just have been to fill some space and/or show that quilting is worldwide. What I did like was that it was floor to ceiling. All that use of vertical space broke up the rows and rows of eye level quilts in a nice, and surprisingly unobtrusive way.

IQF Houston 2014


The Tristan Boutis was probably the most inspired exhibit I saw. A boutis is a french style of quilting with only two layers stitched together and stuffing in select spots to accentuate the design. This is a reproduction of a historic boutis showing the story of the knight Tristan. I love the way the glowing display highlights the construction of the textile.

Tristan Boutis


There were a few other plinths too. As a viewer, it was very engaging to be able to see things at eye level, but also to look up and down and way up.

I was impressed by the variety of ways quilts were exhibited


Here’s one side of the Dinner@8 exhibit with my friends Deborah and Sarah discussing the work. The colors story on this wall was gorgeous.



Much fun was had taking selfies in front of my Dinner@8 quilt, Selfie. I was so excited to see “the Donnas” and Cheryl from the Hawaii Quilt guild. Here’s Donna E and I with my quilt.

Houston Donna


Deborah and I participated in The Quilt Alliance’s Save Our Stories project and filmed three minute interviews with our quilts. She talked about her piece in the Festival of Art Quilts: Home exhibit and I brought my pop art Zeitgeist to hang just for the interview.

Me and my Zeitgeist


Open Studios is a nice place to rest one’s feet and pick up a few tips and tricks. Betty Busby has charmed a big group of ladies with her paintstick on silk technique (and her bubbly personality, of course). I seem to run into Betty everywhere and it’s always a joy.

Houston Betty OS


In addition to the exhibits and the Open Studios, Houston is all about the vendors. I am sorry to say that I did not budget my time appropriately (maybe my wallet isn’t so sorry) and I did not get the chance to do any of the shopping I wanted to do. I actually had a list of fabrics and threads to check out. I did stop by Aurifil’s promotional booth and won a few spools at their gaming tables. Good fun — these guys know how to maximize promotion. I also took the opportunity to talk long arm options with a half dozen sewing machine vendors. I’m not ready to invest, but it may be the answer to the project I’m brewing.

Gaming for Thread


Of course, the socializing is a big part of the experience, and this year I went with the intention of matching names of people whose work I admire and their real-life selves. Dinner with Deborah, Chawne, and Sarah was so much fun. Not only did we have intelligent and interesting conversation, but we’re compatible on the goofiness scale too. here’s where we see that we all share the ability to roll our tongues.

Houston Silly


After Quilt Festival, Deborah and I continued on to La Grange, Texas to the Texas Quilt Museum to see an exhibit from the John Walsh collection. The trip was sooooooooo worth changing my flight and making the detour. John Walsh is the preeminent art quilt collector of the day and I have admired many of the works in his collection. Just about every art quilt I’ve ever looked up to as where I would like to be on my path is owned by John Walsh. It was great to see these pieces in the cloth. Some were surprising in the details and construction that one just can’t tell from a photo. All of them stood up to in person inspection. My favorite was New New York Beauty by Katherine Knauer (a new name and quilt to me), and Deborah’s was Tim Harding’s Surf Swimmers (deft use of simple folded and stitched bits of fabric to evoke water scenes).

Houston TQM



After the Quilt Museum, we continued on to San Antonio where we watched Deborah’s daughter’s high school band compete. It was quite the spectacle and they won silver in the state championships. All in All I had a fantastic five days in Texas and I definitely look forward to my next fiber art adventure with friends. My next post will be about some of the quilts I saw and liked at the show.


25 Mar

My Takeaway

Art Quilt Elements 2014

Click on the link above for an overview video by Lisa Ellis. I didn’t take any photos of the artworks, but they can be seen in the video and of course in the catalog and hopefully on individual artist’s blogs.

In conjunction with Art Quilt Elements 2014, Wayne Art Center hosted a SAQA regional symposium and a talk with AQE artists and jurors. The symposium and talk are over, but the AQE exhibit will be up until May 3rd.

I skipped the symposium because it cost money and I already felt like I had spent enough entering the show, paying for shipping of my artwork, driving to PA, and two hotel nights. Besides, My mom and I wanted to see a little of Philly while we were there. But, I am really glad we went to the gallery talk.

One of the jurors was from the art quilt world, which is good for technical insight, trends, and context. The two other jurors were from the greater textile art world, which brings in a fresh view, broader context, and an eye towards artists concerns rather than technical ones. Unfortunately the art quilt juror wasn’t present, but i thoroughly enjoyed hearing what the other two had to say.

These jurors liked large scale. There were no really small artworks in the show, and there were several comments about wanting to see some of the selected art being even bigger. They appreciated good technique but were not nearly as charmed by it as so much of the art quilt world seems to be. The jurors wanted proof of content and intent.

I was struck by a difference between what the jurors saw and what the artists spoke about. In the pieces the jurors wanted to speak about, they saw stories and points of view. They were drawn in by intriguing details (Eleven 3 Thirteen by Marianne Burr and Random Thoughts by Elizabeth Brandt), by mysteries that needed unraveling (Greek Revelation by Kristin Hoelscher-Schacker, by plays and modulations of color and pattern (Hostas by Jill Ault, Call for Entry by Sandy Gregg). They wanted to be taken on a journey and to have that journey mean something (Anxiety No. 8, David by Judy Kirpich). They liked when there was a provenance (Home at Valley Forge by Lois Charles). They looked for the concept that drove the work.

When the artists spoke about their work, many seemed to focus on their process or technique. It was about arranging fabric until it seemed right, or focusing on details. It was attention to surface design or patterning. Any concept or intent imbued in the work seemed to have been serendipitous. Of course, we didn’t hear from all the artists and there were few that did start with specific intent, and us artists are not always good at explaining our inspirations or motivations on the spot. But I did find the differing points of view to be noteworthy.

Another area to think about, brought up by the jurors, was dimension and breaking the plane. Things could wrap, or move in and out, or just suspend away from the wall.

Context came into play. Thinking more in terms of installation and including other non-fiber elements to further the story. Asking why cloth? What is the best medium for the message? Of course, these are questions I ask myself all the time so I just ate up all that they were saying. I’ve been frustrated of late with the constrictions of many quilt exhibit venues, so this validated my desire to break away from the 4″ sleeve and move out onto plinths or forms, to work extra large, or to just hang away from the wall.

What the jurors liked about my quilt was what it said about our world right now. It’s provenance is here and now in our world of memes and social media. It’s current. They also appreciated it’s visual impact, bold use of color and patterned fabric, and the way the zig zag border became an integrated frame as well as referencing the quilt medium. Things to think about would be what hangs with it outside of a survey show like AQE. What else could I make? Where else would it work? Get it out of the quilt world and into the milieu of pop and other current art. (Although I do think that QuiltCon needs it.)

Some of the pieces that interested me personally:

From further away, Complements by Naomi Adams looks textural and complex. Up close, it’s beyond textural — it’s dimensional. And its also simple. I liked it’s contrasts.

From Stone drew me in with it’s organic shapes and fissures created with denim and dense stitching that modulates the colors. The big surprise was that it was by Hollis Chatelaine who is known for her portraiture.

Diane Firth’s work is pristine as always. Low Tide‘s contrast between sheer tulle and subtly dyed felt is softly serene. Her play of substance and shadow by use of sheers is very elegant.

I enjoyed meeting Benedicte Caneille. She is so friendly and charming. Her work is beautiful too. Benedicte’s Units 27: Sunburst and Julia Pfaff’s Contrast XIII hung next to each other and played off each other’s acid greens, deep blacks, clean construction, and contrast of busy and relatively quiet to a marvelous effect. Kudos to Susan Hirsch for hanging those two together. Fun for me to get to meet Benedicte and to see Julia again to represent Virginia art quilts!

My favorites were Random Thoughts by Elizabeth Brandt and Otaru Winter by Cynthia Vogt. The shapes in Random Thoughts reminded me of Robert Motherwell, but remain in a quilty context, and the quilting itself is fantastically scribbled and patterned. It has to be seen, not described. Otaru Winter is very simple and the most like a traditional quilt in that it is made up of many small white log cabin blocks. But all those blocks are made of silk and the way they are quilted really accentuates the subtle shimmer of the whole piece.

I also liked the way Greek Revelation by Kristin Hoelscher-Shacker plays with foreground and background. First it looks like interesting pebble-like shapes on a green ground, but then you notice that the shapes are really little windows into a scene in the background and all of a sudden you are looking through them trying to puzzle out the story. This is also one of those rare instances where I like the use of the digital imagery.

Stroke by Lori Lupe Pelish: commercial fabric as paint!

Finally, for Deborah, some statistics:

  • 43 quilts in total, chosen from over 600 entries
  • Six Figurative (four humans, one robot, one cat)
  • Seven that looked like recognizable things
  • 30 purely or predominantly abstract
  • Nine utilizing digital prints
  • Five using repeated quilt blocks
  • One constructed of plastic bags, two using Tyvek, one predominantly denim.
  • Two artists named Kristin — and we both spell our names the same!
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.