I had not entered a quilt into a quilt competition for over a year. I’m not sure why. I had just been focusing on my Windows series for most of the year. It’s hard to focus your attention on creating a body of work plus have the time to respond to all the calls for entry. Also, I wasn’t sure that my new direction would be recognized or understood by quilt show judges.
As art quilters, we walk this narrow line between the art world and the quilting world. Sometimes I feel like we are looked at as though we are strange creatures by both sides. Nevertheless, I decided to enter two quilts into the Quilting and Sewing Fest of New Jersey this year.
I was pleased to learn that both quilts got a ribbon. Autumn Windows won Best Innovative Style Quilt.
Dialogue won Judges Choice.
I’m grateful for the positive comments from the judges and for the acknowledgement that there is a place for new direction in the quilt competition world.
I still have lots to learn from the technical precision of the traditional quilting realm. One comment spoke to the fact that Dialogue had not been “blocked”. No, I’ve never blocked any of my quilts. Blocking means you soak the quilt in a bath tub and then lay it out completely flat to dry. This is done before binding or facing the quilt. I probably will never block a quilt since I use a lot of silk but I do understand that the goal is a quilt which lays completely flat against the wall. I’ve often redone facings to make them shorter when I’ve realized one side of the quilt has a slight wave to the edge. Sure enough, when I took “Dialogue” out of the box upon it’s return from quilt fest, it had a slight wave on one side. Back to shortening that facing a little bit!
My new venture will start in a few weeks when I teach my first quilting workshop at NeedleChasers of Chevy Chase. We’ll be learning the art of couching (stitching) yarn to the quilt surface for added definition and texture. I’ve presented lectures to quilt guilds and have learned to relax in front of a crowded room. How is it that I’ve performed music so many times in public but lecturing could be so terrifying? The first time was torture but now it’s very enjoyable.
The new part of this is teaching a quilting class in a more intimate setting. I love my craft and can’t wait to show others how I make it. I’ve also taught music for years so the instruction part is also not a problem. I’ve been told that some of what I consider “easy” is not so for others. I also work very fast. I hope I’ll be able to break down construction elements into easy to understand increments so that it becomes easy for everyone. Wish me luck!
I currently have one lecture and two workshop topics to offer and you can find them here.