Thursday, August 12, 2010

Quilt Odyssey 2010 - Hershey, PA

I attended Quilt Odyssey last month. All I can say is, WOW.

There were far too many quilts being exhibited for me to get pictures of them all. But I did take quite a few pictures you can go to my flickr photostream to view the set. The photo above shows just one of several stunning quilts. Update: I have removed the pictures so as not to violate any copyright, etc. laws.

I chose to focus this year on prizewinning quilts. What is it that makes a prizewinning quilt a prizewinning quilt? I can't help but think that, at least in some small way, it is subjective, and depends upon who the judges are and what they want in a quilt--on that day. Honestly; some quilts that were passed up were beautiful, and no less breathtaking than the winners. But, I'm not the expert; the judges are, right?!!

I focused on these types of quilts at the show, because as my quilting group has recently been toying with the idea of holding a quilt show in the future, I came to the realization that I don't really create exhibit-worthy quilts. Now, I LOVE my quilts, and I think they're beautiful, but worthy of being in a show? Hmmm. This issue has given me pause for a couple of months now.

So, I have therefore begun to look at quilts differently, and with a critical eye. Certainly, every quilt can't--and shouldn't--be show quality. I believe very strongly in the utilitarian nature of quilts. All but two of mine (the antique one, and the white one that is my avatar) get used. And, besides, my children are still young, and I homeschool them to boot, so my time to quilt is limited. I not only love the clean lines of large block quilts, but they are ideal for my lifestyle, as they go together very quickly.

Yet, even if I do it one block at a time (the way I'm creating my string quilt), I have to try to eventually figure out how to slowly but surely create quilts from time to time that are worthy of being hung in shows. And, as I now have this goal in the back of my mind, I find that a couple of things have happened. First, I am more tolerant now of "traditional" quilting than I was before, and am beginning to like patterns that I didn't previously like. Second, I have to make an effort not to become discouraged about quilting altogether--since, you know, the kind of quilts I want to try to make take more time.

So, along with the busyness of life, this is a really good explanation as to why you have not heard as much from me recently. I love quilting no less than before. I have just had to, by necessity and through re-evaluation, take a wee step back.


  1. Last summer, as I was working on the Persian Rug Quilt, I kept thinking "this is going to be the quilt that I can finally enter into a juried show". But I lack Long-arm Genius and there were issues that were invisible to the recipient, but obvious to quilters that kept it from being shown. The recipient, in fact, was delighted with the issues as Persian rug makers make intentional mistakes.

    Now my goal is to make quilts that make the recipient say "WOW" in "Wow! you made that for me?" or "Wow! that must have taken forever" or "Wow, I could never do that."

  2. Those pictures are amazing! I don't know how people do it. I wish I had that kind of creativity and talent.

  3. Thank you for sharing how you have been thinking and rethinking about the art of quilting - this is how change happens in making and the community of making!
    Sometimes handmade items that are farther forward in the future get rejected because they look strange to our eyes.
    The quilts you posted are beautiful and at times very startling. Keep up the looking and making - I am looking forward to seeing what you will be doing.


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