Category Archives: 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.


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.






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.


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…



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


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



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


Filed under Art quilts, Quilt Shows

Where Old and New Met

The recent Mutton Hill quilt show served up both art quilts and heirloom quilts and coverlets. First, the old.

The Summit County Historical Society featured its collection of early to mid nineteenth century woven coverlets as well as quilts.

The show had about 30 art quilts entered. Here are the ribbon winners, in order of placement from first to third. The first place winner was also Best of Show.




There were six honorable mentions, four of which are shown below:





My Torii Traces also won an Honorable Mention, as did a quilt called Indian Summer by Cyndi Dininger, which I somehow missed in my photo session. In the interests of completeness, here’s Torii Traces at another venue. Lighting was dim where it was hung at the Mutton Hill show.

Torii Traces Final





Filed under Art quilts, Quilt Shows

Of Course I Took Pictures At The Quilt Show

It’s disturbing to think that many of you will assess the quality of the quilts at the Mutton Hill Quilt Show from my bad photos. The lighting works against the accuracy of the colors and my adventures with Google Photo on my new smartphone didn’t help.

That said, here are my viewer’s choices. The quilt titles and makers’ names are given in the image title. Some photos show only part of the quilt.

I think I’m drawn to quilts that suggest a story, based on my selection above. Many but not all these quilts won ribbons.



Filed under Quilt Shows

Thoughts on Quilt Show Judging

Recently I spent 9 hours volunteering as a scribe for the Mutton Hill Quilt Show, and have to tell you I’m tired of hearing about bindings. I joked to one of the judges that there  should be ribbons for best binding.

Let me back up a bit. At show judging scribes write down the comments the judges make about the entries. The judges may say a lot more in discussion with each other, but the scribes write down only the official comments which are directed at both the strong and weak points of each quilt. The comments give more feedback than just ribbon/no ribbon.

The comments are meant as learning tools, not as hurtful criticisms. Often the comments concern technical points about quilt construction and quilting – are points sharp, do pieces match, are borders straight, are corners 90 degrees, are appliqued curves smooth, is quilt stitch length consistent, etc. Comments may also cover color choices in fabrics and quilting threads. Occasionally there are comments about a quilt’s design. Judges admire careful attention to detail and little extras in the way of matching up fabric patterns and embellishments. The little things do indeed count.

I typed up a lot of comments about bindings. They weren’t completely filled with batting, they were uneven, they were crooked, the corners weren’t mitered well, they weren’t securely sewn down.

Now, a carefully sewn on binding is one of the easier aspects of quilt making in that it’s all technique. You can get fancy with bias binding or changes in binding color, but it’s about squaring up your quilt before binding and careful sewing. Steam pressing and school glue can help a lot. I have links on my tutorials page about such techniques.

I get it’s a pain to be fussy about binding, but if you make a quilt you intend to enter into a judged show, then please save yourself from some negative comments by doing the binding well.

Other sources of negative comments? Dark fabric shadowing through light fabric. The solution is either to line the light fabric or make sure the dark fabric in a seam is cut narrower than the light fabric. Or, even simpler,  you could press toward the dark fabric if feasible.

Then, there were comments about backtracking on machine quilting and obvious starts and stops. I think this may be more an issue with long arm quilting. Again, it’s attention to detail.

The judges were also wowed by quilts and said so in their comments. They joked with each other about drooling on the quilts, and were delighted to point out wonderful features to each other like kids in a candy shop.

If you enter a quilt in a judged show please look at more than any negative comments. The judges want to encourage you to improve your quilting and are happy to note the good points, too.



Filed under Commentary, Quilt Shows