Category Archives: Quilt Shows

I May Beg To Disagree

Recently I made a list of all the quilt shows and exhibits I’ve entered. It turns out I’ve been in more than I thought. To make my list I had to go through my files, which led me to the judges’ comments sheets I had kept from various shows.

Judges’ comments on Phosphenes, above:

First, the sheets offered insight as to what my work was being judged on. Second, they offered clues as to what weight the various criteria were given – design, workmanship, etc.  Here’s a sample of judging criteria used in the shows I’ve entered:

General appearance (10 points); design – top and borders, quilting, use of color; (45 points), workmanship – construction, techniques, finishing of edges (45 points)

Design and use of color, top construction, sashing & borders, quilting, edge treatment, embellishments, backside (no information on whether all are counted equally)

Best features, areas that most need improvement

Design – artistic impression/graphic impact, use of design/pattern in quilt top, use of color & fabric, degree of difficulty, quilting design, innovation/creativity; workmanship – piecing/applique, quilting technique

Appearance & design, construction, quilting, finishing, neatness, special techniques

Design – color, design, border/edge treatment, quilting design, degree of difficulty (50 points); workmanship – clean/straight, piecing and applique, quilting, finishing, backing (50 points)

The weight given to the various criteria is sometimes specified, as with the points systems above. More often, the entrant can only assume each criterion counts the same. Some shows use a scale from excellent to needs improvement. Others simply record comments with no criteria or “grade” given.

Another nuance of quilt show judging is the entry categories offered. The idea behind judging by category is to compare like to like. The categories can be by size (bed, lap, wall), by technique (pieced, appliqued, mixed), or a mixture. Some shows have started to offer an art or innovative quilt category.  A recent regional show ended up with subcategories under art quilts – images, color, abstract, etc.

I appreciate the efforts of quilt show organizers to be inclusive. I’ve been there. However, I still can’t wrap my head around the use of criteria such as backside (backing fabric complements front, seam lines run vertical) for art quilts. Conversely, I find it strange to judge the design of a quilt pattern or kit as that’s predetermined. If a Judy Niemeyer paper pieced pattern gets high marks for design, that is due to the pattern, not the quilt maker. The quilt maker should certainly get credit for color use if she chose the colors, but from there on it’s about workmanship.

Back to those judges’ comments on my work. The critique rated Phosphenes excellent for all aspects of design. Then for workmanship, the quilting technique was marked satisfactory, but the piecing was marked needs improvement because “points in straight blocks should match.” What?  I assume the comment refers to the diagonal pieced lines as I know the corners of the dark blue rectangles meet. I didn’t want or mean for the diagonal lines to meet. I wanted them jagged to convey a disjointed effect. Lesson learned: my meaning didn’t come across to the judges. A puzzling comment on another quilt concerned the back finish on the facing – “keep corners mitred on back binding.” While mitering is one way to join facing edges, many quilters (including big names) use squared off joins.

Overall, I get higher marks for design than technique, but I have to brag on the “very good applique technique” comment on Winter Fields.   Of course, they also wanted more quilting.

Finally, I’ve found that my work I think is great doesn’t win ribbons, while work I think is OK does.

The upshot for me is to stop entering most all-inclusive quilt shows and concentrate on art-focused exhibits and shows. If I want my quilts to be judged as art, then workmanship assessments are beside the point. Certainly any work of art should display good technique, but I don’t think painting awards are based on brush strokes. The art shows often are juried, so inclusion in the show is praise enough.

16 Comments

Filed under Commentary, Quilt Shows

Artistic Endeavors – Protest in Art

Art has been used for many ends, including social criticism.  Honore Daumier, George Grosz, Francesco Goya and William Hogarth are a few of the well known artists who addressed their times through their art.  Graphic Witness, a website devoted to social commentary through graphic imagery from about 1900 on, has some lesser known examples.

Council of War – Daumier

Pillars of Society George Grosz

In these politically fraught and divided times even quilters are using their medium for social comment. The protest quilts exhibited at the recent QuiltCon as I understand it, weren’t part of an organized exhibit, but reflected the views of their individual makers. These quilts addressed women’s rights, guns, incarceration, racism, police brutality, and many other flash point issues.

I have mixed feelings about such quilts in that I look for artistic qualities in how the message is conveyed. Some are heartfelt but I don’t think they’re aesthetically pleasing. I am indeed a snob. Here are a few I felt were effective in combining art and message.

Jessica Wohl White America

Liz Havartine She Was Warned

Juli Smith B4U

Karen Maple Black, Brown and White in Orange

Miriam Coffey The F Word

For a more traditional approach to a social commentary quilt, check out what Love Those Hands At Home is making. And bear in mind that not all social commentary quilts are social protests.

Lucinda Ward Honstain The Reconciliation Quilt (1867)

 

 

 

8 Comments

Filed under Art quilts, Commentary, Quilt Shows

The 2017 Mutton Hill Quilt Show

The third annual Mutton Hill Quilt Show, organized by the Summit County (Ohio) Historical Society, took place in mid-October. As in the past, I volunteered with quilt intake and judging, and worked the show itself. In between stints at the raffle ticket table I prowled the floor to look at the quilts.

Unlike some shows, Mutton Hill combines a judged show with special regional and national exhibits. This year I viewed the 2017 Hoffman Fabric Challenge, Ohio SAQA’s trunk show, and part of the national SAQA trunk show.  These exhibits give the show an intriguing mix of traditional and art quilting.

Following are some pieces that caught my eye. There’s no rhyme or reason to my selections. I just liked them. They all seem to have purple in them.

Staying Humble by Marilyn Edwards

Sherman Double Wedding Ring (heirloom)

Blue Pineapple by Marie Petric

Bewitched! by Elizabeth Bauman

Pantheon di Hoffman by Susan Garrity

Spring in San Luis Porte by Wendy Lewis

New York Fashion Week by Pamela Katz

The last group of photos are part of the national SAQA trunk show. They measure 7.5 by 10 inches.

Eucalyptus Metallicus

Super Moon

Rissagabba and the Moon

Elegance

Winter Meadow

Hold Near and Dear

You can see all the SAQA trunk show pieces here.

 

 

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under Quilt Shows

“With These Hands” Exhibit

On the way to my Sue Benner workshop my travel companion and I stopped at the Ross Art Museum in Delaware, Ohio, to take in the With These Hands art quilt exhibit. Actually, I made the stop a condition of doing the driving, as I have a piece in the exhibit. I hadn’t realized the quality of the company my quilt was keeping until I got there.

The exhibit was organized in conjunction with the Quilt Surface Design Symposium (QSDS), which is held each June in Columbus, Ohio. The works shown are a good cross section of art quilt approaches and techniques, though a bit light on the Nancy Crow style solids, which are plentiful at this year’s Quilt National exhibit. The Ross Museum exhibit is up until June 30, so if you’re driving I-71 through central Ohio or near Columbus, consider stopping by. I can find no online photos of the whole exhibit.

One approach I saw on several quilts was segmentation, either with separate strips or with panels sewn together after much of the work was done. Here are some examples.

Frauke Palmer made ten narrow panels connected only at the top.

Wen Redmond tied 21 panels together after creating variations of the same photo.

In “shell river” Lee Thomson created four panels separately, then hand sewed them together and added the button river.

Other quilts emphasized surface design.

Dominie Nash used crocheted pieces to print from in “Grandfather’s Garden.” Various shibori dyeing techniques are featured in Sharon Weltner’s “The Gateway to Night Time Vision.”

Some stood out for their color.

Trance by Kathleen Kastles grabs your eye from the entrance to the exhibit. Those blues and the narrow shape make it dramatic.Lots of little pieces of fabric make up the “rocks” in Beth Porter Johnson’s “Rhythms Within III.” Four Story Walk-up by Linda Strowbridge also uses small bit piecing.

Theresa Rearden used wonky half square triangles set in curves in “Off The Grid.” The detail of the ribbon overlay and the quilting shows below. There are also lots of french knots.Sandra Ciolino’s quilting in “Voluta #6 Solista” is exquisitely controlled.Finally, here’s my The Language of Pink Elephants, punching well above its weight.

8 Comments

Filed under Commentary, Quilt Shows

Random Bits From My Inbox

You know those websites or articles you come across and think, people might be interested in that? Here are the ones I’ve been saving up.

First, I came across this article directed initially at textile artists, though it speaks to all kinds of artists. I recognize my own tendency toward being a technique junkie. The lesson here is learn to do a few things very well in a way that serves your art. I’ve been sharing this one with the groups I belong to. Thanks to Ellen Luckett Baker for bringing this to my attention.

Ellen also drew my attention to the website for Sewn Together, an exhibition of Alabama quilts. I enjoy the site’s pairing of vintage and more contemporary quilts, and the historical perspective on the quilts shown. I’m sure it was great to visit the exhibition, but the archival information adds so much. You can learn about the work of the Alabama Department of Archives and History, which co-sponsored the exhibition. There’s even a curated Spotify playlist of Alabama musicians who represent a wide variety of musical styles from the period when the quilts were made.

Next, I came across a series of YouTube videos put together by Craftsy called The Midnight Quilt Show. Angela Walters is the refreshingly breezy host of these videos that show her putting together some fairly basic quilt patterns. Angela’s essential tools include popcorn, chocolate, and wine. The mistakes stay in. You may recognize some of them. I did find my heretofore hidden inner quilt police coming out when Angela didn’t press before sewing. Ditto her use of a ruler that was way too short. But it sure beats those deathly earnest quilting shows that are guaranteed insomnia cures.

For visual candy here’s a collection of spiral staircase photography by Nancy Da Campo, all in Barcelona. The We and The Color website is a great resource for striking photography.

If you’re interested in printing your own fabric or purchasing fabric custom designed by others, then check out the new Spoonflower digital catalog. Lots of ideas there for creating wallpaper, clothing, baby items, and home dec.

Finally, here’s a slide show of the SAQA Two by Twenty exhibit now touring with the Original Sewing & Quilting Expo. I recently represented SAQA at the Cleveland, Ohio, stop of the expo. (That means I chatted with viewers about the show and promoted the organization.) It was great to see how much even very traditional quilters enjoyed the work displayed. Some may have gotten the push to venture into original work. Really, folks, it doesn’t matter if you can’t draw.

Here’s one of my favorites from the exhibit, Everglades by Deda Maldonado.

 

 

.

 

4 Comments

Filed under Commentary, Quilt Shows

Circular Abstractions Exhibit

Earlier this month I traveled to Lancaster, Ohio, to see the Circular Abstractions exhibit curated by Nancy Crow, and had my eyeballs bombarded by intense color and pattern, in a very good way. The Ohio Decorative Arts Center there is hosting the exhibit until April 23, 2017, after which it will move on to other venues in the east and northeast.

The 51 quilts in the show were made at Crow’s invitation by some of her former students. Like most of Crow’s work, they are large (at least 60 inches square,) feature highly contrasting solid colors, and follow the bulls eye quilt format. They are pieced, with no raw edge applique. Most also feature matchstick type quilting, sometimes spaced as little as an eighth inch apart.

I went around the show three times and could have spent even more time, but my group had lunch reservations. The venue was tight and the quilts were large, as I mentioned, so displays were creative. Some quilts were wrapped around large pillars so the quilts showed in the round. Others were grouped by fours on L shaped metal frames, so the quilt mid lines met at the center. Luckily, our group had the place to ourselves for a while, so we could peer at details and back up to see the quilts from a distance.

We weren’t allowed to photograph the show, but I found photos online by some of the quilters and the museum that organized the show. I’ll start with room shots, and then show some of my favorites.

The above photos were taken by Heather Pregger, one of the artists, at the Muskegon Museum of Art.

Here you can see the quilts wrapped around the pillars. This photo and others below are from WOUB Digital.

The black and white quilts are all pieced, not appliqued.

One of my favorites, Maren Johnston’s Emergence, is against the far wall. It features beautiful small pieces skillfully blended with each other. I found it more refined than some of the other quilts.

This is one of two quilts by Ohioan Maria Elkins. We spent a lot of time puzzling over whether she painted all those dots or used fabric. Turns out she used fabric, which had to be bias cut and pieced.

Finally, here’s my favorite by a whisker. It’s Rise by Carol Hazen. The bull’s eye elements are secondary to the letters, but give a lovely transparency effect. The light colored quilting thread also enhances that effect.

More photos are available at the Muskegon Museum of Art’s website.

Special Ohio events related to this show are a lecture by Nancy Crow on April 2, and a day long workshop on making bull’s eye motifs on April 1. You’ll need a reservation for either.

10 Comments

Filed under Art quilts, Quilt Shows

A Local Art Quilt Exhibit

Group = Layers of Textile Art (LOTA); members = 15; quilts on display = 34.

Four of my quilts are on display at this group exhibit at the Solon, Ohio, library until November 21.

Our pink thread challenge quilts. One member had a lot of leftover spools of 12 weight pink thread, so…

lota-library-show-2016-9

lota-library-show-2016-10

Our splatter fabric challenge quilts. The fabric was designed by one of our members as part of a SAQA/Andover Fabric contest.

lota-library-show-2016-5lota-library-show-2016-6lota-library-show-2016-7lota-library-show-2016-8

And the artists’ choice section. We work in a variety of styles.

lota-library-show-2016-4lota-library-show-2016-3lota-2016-show-1

lota-library-show-2016-2

As you can see, Please Do Not Touch The Quilts was well represented.

11 Comments

Filed under Art quilts, Quilt Shows