I really didn't know what to expect. I thought that it would be about the same size as the National Quilters Association show in Columbus (it was) and that it would have a lot of traditional quilts (it did) in the "open" category (meaning not invitational exhibitions). I also thought that there would probably be quite a few vendors as quilters seem to spend money no matter what the economy brings, indeed, I counted 55 vendor's booths.
While wandering through the exhibition, I wondered if I wasn't getting just a tad jaded. While I really enjoy traditional quilts, it seemed to me like the major effort in the current mode of quilting is to make intricate applique quilts in bright colors, and put as many sparkly crystals on them as you could....this is a trend I have seen elsewhere as well. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't mind crystals, as long as they serve a design purpose. I rarely use them myself. But it seems that since about 2005 or so, quilters have a competition to see just how many sparkles they can add...even if it doesn't really add to the quilt. Or is it that the quilt is boring without the crystals? I looked at the Pilgrim and Roy exhibition, hoping that a modern quilt would be there to rival some of my favorite antique quilts.....I wasn't terribly taken with them over all, but instead I was drawn to the special exhibits...especially the Ultimate Guild Challenges. Why? These quilts were more individualized. They showed the hand and mind of the quilter. Some had a lot of the quilter's personality...and it wasn't just about what trend they could follow, or who could execute someone else's design with the highest technical precision. While I appreciate craftsmanship, for me, this isn't the be-all and end-all of a quilt. To be sure, the quilt police were out in force.
I really liked JoAnn Hoffman's "When Life Gives you Scraps" which was in the Alliance for American Quilter's exhibition. Her rendition of the tree branches was superb as was the black bird....the nest was dimensional and this was done in the specified format, 19.5" to the apex of the house, and 12" high until the "roof" and 15" wide. The quilts will be auctioned starting November 12, 2012 and ending December 10, 2012. You can see all of the quilts here.
Of the individual entries, I think I liked this one best for an abstract. It is Jennifer Emry's "Organic Log Cabin #4. " I love the motion and the colors she used in this quilt...Obviously, I can't be too far off as it won an award.
I will be talking about other aspects of the show over the next several days....I'm STILL recuperating....I am sadly finding that walking around with my chemo side effects isn't easy...
The show continues through Sunday...and if you get a chance, go. I think you'll be happy you did.