I went to Northern Virginia yesterday to see the Sacred Threads show. It’s up until the 28th, so there’s still time to go see it! Click the link for all the details.
I will be the first to admit that I underestimated this show and did not budget enough time to see it. An hour was insufficient. Overall, the work was very representational, which I often have problems with, and it could be trite, which I don’t like either, but really, that is totally irrelevant to what this show is about.
After the show, I joined a group of local SAQA members and visiting artists for tapas and conversation. Chatting with Chair Lisa Ellis brought it into focus for me. She said Sacred Threads would never be a Quilt National or Art Quilt Elements type show, looking for artistic excellence and cutting edge work. Nor is it an IQF or Mancuso event with an eye towards the traditional and pristinely executed. Sacred Threads is about the emotion behind the artwork. It is about the maker’s vision and their process. It is less important that the work is well resolved or mature. The show is meant to be “a safe [and] welcoming venue for quilters who saw their works as a connection to the sacred and/or as an expression of their own spiritual journey.” That opens up a whole different set of criteria for appreciating the work. It became much more about the statement and how well the work reflected that.
I didn’t take any photos. I was focused on reading (almost all) of the statements posted next to each quilt. There was extra audio information for each one if you had a smart phone, which really intrigued me, but I quickly realized I was short on time so I couldn’t indulge in the techy extras. I liked the effort though. I made notes on 18 of the nearly 200 quilts.
Things that caught my eye:
The zoomed in simplicity of Stephanye Schuyler’s After The Storm.
The over the top wackiness and visual treasure hunt that is Kristy Moeller Ottinger’s Off to Babylon or How I Spent My Summer Vacation. It reminded me of what I saw at the Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.
I was charmed by Albert Feldman’s A Tribute to Kilmer. His digitized quilting shows the possibilities of what we can do with our tools.
Both Stacy Hurt‘s Moon Sisters, and Gates of Heaven and Hell. Simple, black and white, with lots of scale of line and imagery. In the case of Moon Sisters, I enjoyed finding the hidden script, and in Gates of Heaven and Hell the use of pattern attracted me.
The deft marks and light touch with dimensionality on Annette Rogers‘ Peaceful Waters. I was not surprised to learn later that she is indeed a painter in addition to a quilt artist.
The unabashedly quilty Route 211 by Maggie Ward. It’s green and purple too!
Artist in residence Dominique Ehrmann and her three dimensional fairy tale-esque quilt, exquisitely constructed and charming to look at.
The folky mola style of La Famille by Helene Blanchet.
I liked how effectively watery Catherine Waltz’s Water was, but liked her Maelstrom even more because it didn’t remind me of anyone else’s work.
Everything about Sharon Collins‘ Winter Came too Soon spoke to me. It’s such a nice balance between simple and detailed.
The evocative color in Just Harry by Martha Wolfe.
The thoughtful use of materials in Susan Clayton’s Funeral Pall, and that she didn’t try to get too fussy with the quilt.
Most everything about Remembering My Family by Helena Scheffer. The quilt blocks, fabric choices (especially the grey stripes), and hand stitching were all so thoughtfully chosen.
The well-integrated amulet in Healing Pathway by Cheryl Costley.
The use of iridescent and shiny fabrics that actually felt right and appropriate in Archangel Haniel by, uh oh, I didn’t write the artist’s name on this one. Maybe someone else who saw the show can let me know.
The photo manipulation and not too fussy quilting of The Bowl Judgements by Virginia Greaves (the colors of which glow nicely in person). I see from Greaves’ website that she also did the Beach Guardians, also in Sacred Threads, which I thought was a popular technique, but done well, and Just Call Me Jack, which I remember seeing and admiring in Houston a few yearts ago for the same reason.