Showing posts with label quilt canada. Show all posts
Showing posts with label quilt canada. Show all posts

06 May, 2010

Throwback - A Digression

I'm not a quilt history expert, I'm just pretending to be one right now. After a week of browsing the quilts and exhibits of Quilt Canada I am very tempted to stand up and declare that there is no such thing as modern quilting.

Hold on, so far I only said I was tempted to say it.

Let's take a few steps back. You've heard me say before that I don't like to believe that I have a style in the quilts I do. To me a style meant that you could look at one of my quilts and instinctively know it was mine, or a rip off. I'd like to think I am adventurous enough to try lots of different things and that I can't be pinned down. (Pardon the pun.)

My first observation in having a quilt hung in the Invitational Show at Quilt Canada and seeing it up there next to some 500 or 600 other quilts is that I do kind of have a style. Or at least what I did was markedly different from 99% of what was there. It isn't that this makes me unique, just unique among participants at the show. It forced me to step back and examine the bulk of my quilts and realize that while you can't pin me down on colours, layout, or techniques, you can accuse me of bold, simple designs. Repetition of shapes or construction methods (improv) is quite common in most of what I do. So, maybe after all, I do have a bit of a style.

It pains me to admit that and my rebellious nature means I am aching to do something precise and varied in design. That will have to wait until I finish this thing.

The next observation I made is that I am not likely to ever, or at least in the near to mid-term future, likely to show well in a big, conventional show. I'm not saying I won't enter, I just doubt I would show well. There was one Gees Bend inspired quilt in the National Juried show, but that's it. The rest of it demonstrated some phenomenal quality, but only about 1% of it was something I would love to try. Just like machine quilting was a big deal when it started entering in shows in the 80s, it might be a while before a quilter like me could show well.

And I am really only referring to design here because - not to toot my own horn - I think my technique is pretty close in comparison. Except for maybe hand applique and some details, but I'm okay with that. Most people are intimidated by a big show, but I found it confidence inspiring that, barring quilting the life out of my pieces, my skills are pretty good.

So I crutched around the show - admiring quality work, intrigued by the crazy use of layering techniques, blown away by teeny tiny stippling - but I didn't get overly excited by much. There was an incredible 3D piece that resembled a diorama that was absolutely incredible, but that was it. Here I was, in the face of the current show quilt world of Canada these days and I was kind of bored. It was as if I'd met my good-on-paper- guy and realized that we had nothing in common. Pretty to look at it, but nothing to talk about. And certainly no chemistry.

Lest you think I am being disparaging of the artists, let me say that I have nothing but great things to say about the artists, teachers, and quilters I met. They were the inspiring ones, as people.

My last stop on the quilt show tour was an exhibit that was displaying antique sewing machines, furniture, and quilts. And it felt like I was kind of entering a comfortable place, even in a convention center. It should be noted that I am a mid-century modern girl, so it wasn't the antiques. Rather, it was the quilts. Simple, bold, clear colours (despite their age), repetitive designs, and almost exactly what you see being made with newer fabric all around the blogosphere of modern quilters.

Seriously, this display could have almost been a display of quilts from many a popular blogger today. And here we are on the internet flogging modern quilting like it is something we just made up. Yes, the importance of history and tradition is acknowledged, but people often come to modern quilting as either an evolution or rebellion from traditonal quilting. Well, I would now argue that modern quilting is actually just really, really traditional quilting. Before people got caught up in intricate pieced patterns with a million different templates and detailed quilting.

Oh, and just because you throw the word wonky or improv in front of it doesn't necessarily make it modern.

Did you know machine quilting is not an invention of the last 20-30 years? People were doing it over 100 years ago. You just don't see many examples of it because most of it was grid quilting and those quilts served as functional quilts, likely loved and used to death. Thank-you Sue Nickels for this tidbit and example. Okay, none of us think straight lines are new, but it may be argued that the prevalent use of straightline quilting is on the rise among self-described modern quilters (and almost non-existent at the show).

What else is on the rise? Easy, fast quilts. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, but I got a great kick out of Mark Lipinski commenting that if the world came to an end but the quilts made it, the next inhabitants of the planet would think our arts were limited to Turning Twenty patterns! He pushed for quilters to return to a little complexity, to take the time on our pieces, to savour the process.

I would add that blogging might make the churn worse. We all want content, right? I don't know many who quilt for the sake of blogging, but ask yourself if you pick simpler projects just to have something to post? At least every now and then? Or, ask yourself how some of your favourite bloggers manage to finish so many quilts? Lifestyle aside, look at the quilts and the detail of the quilting they post.

So, this whole modern quilting thing. I can say for sure that I have a new perspective on it. And I don't think it is as revolutionary as some think it is. It really is a throwback to the traditional, traditional quilting, as this post also mentions. Just with prettier fabrics. (Although, really, so many of the popular designer fabrics are very vintagy, but with modern colours.)

I'm not coming down on the movement. It really is a movement, fueled by the internet. That's why the Modern Quilt Guild is so fascinating to me. From the internet grew a community that is now spreading like wildfire into the traditional guild model. This is awesome because no matter how much we share online (too much, at times) real connections with real people matter. Without it would be like doing nothing but designing quilts on the computer and never playing with fabric.

Beyond that, I think one of the best things about the movement is that it, and the proliferation of such bold fabrics, is bringing younger quilters to the sewing machines. And trust me, after a week with a whole bunch of 50-60 something women who complain their daughters and granddaughters don't want to quilt, this is a very good thing. And who knows, in time, we may be the ones winning ribbons? One day there may indeed be a Throwback category.

Artists, in order of appearance:
1. Forgot to record this one, apologies.
3. Me, in front of Grass
5. Cheryl A. Bock
6. Annette Johnston
7. Forgot to record this one, but it is a Heritage Park Quilter of Distinction
8. Sharon Stoneman
9. Various Antique quilts
10. More various Antique quilts
11. Forgot to record this antique one as well.
12. Flossie Douglas

03 May, 2010

A One Track Mind

It might be because I spent a week seeing the award winning quilts from the National Juried Show, but I was in a mood to quilt. And someone how I got it in my head to really quilt this quilt.

Seriously, this sucker is going to be heavily quilted! I won't be going to the extreme of stipple less than 1/8 of an inch big, but I am motivated to do some serious needlework now. I'm not complaining though, I think it will be just perfect.

Remind me, however, not to put my tea next to my pin box next time.

30 April, 2010

Quilt Canada in Full Swing

Oh wow, I am so tired. And, to be honest, a little overwhelmed with the thoughts and designs swirling around in my head. There are still a few days left at Quilt Canada. I have two more events and a few lectures to attend. I'm not sure I can take all the stimulation!

I know many people come to quilt shows and take away some neat ideas, a little confidence, and probably a lot of merchandise. I'm coming away from this week with new colleagues, tonnes of design ideas, a new business venture, and some confusion. It's going to take me a bit of time to digest it all.

In the meantime, here is a little report so far. See that guy there? That's Mark Lipinski, with his arm around me (and my co-chair). He is seriously one of the nicest men I've ever met, or maybe his husband is. Either way, we had a great time being entertaining by Mark on two occasions. His trunk show is part stand-up routine and he had nearly everyone in tears. You need to hear the girdle story yourself  to fully understand. And Mark is already asking when he can come back, but he wants to teach next time.

In addition to the trunk show Mark also spoke at our Professional Development Conference. He was a great start to the day and got us all thinking, a lot. For the next day and a half we discussed branding, marketing, finding balance, taxes, and inspiration. The group was honest with each other and I think we had some great discussions. I only hope that many others got as much out of it as we put in. 
Aside from our evening events, my attempts to direct a fashion show, and that whole merchant mall and quilt show, I had a few other tasks to keep me busy. I sent Mark's quilts back home for him. So, for two days my living room was filled with his quilts. When I was refolding and packing his quilts I saw this label. I hope you don't mind me sharing, Mark!

I'll report back with more next week. And stay tuned for more details on an upcoming adventure.

26 April, 2010


As you read this I am busy inspiring (hopefully) and being inspired by Mark Lipinski, Cathy Tomm, Sharole Lawrence, Fran Lauzon, and so many more during the Professional Development Conference at Quilt Canada. That is not the torturous part. The torturous part is that I know that this quilt is sitting at home, waiting to be quilted. I've never wanted to quilt a quilt more.

But Quilt Canada should be an invigorating and exhausting week.  I predict a million more ideas in my sketchbook!

Have a great week everyone!

(And how appropriate that my brother picked out a bunch of Mark Lipinski fabric for the back of my dad's quilt, without even knowing the Quilt Canada connection!)

23 April, 2010

Calgary Meet-up?

The internet is an interesting place. It allows us to be more open and honest with, perhaps ourselves, and others. We make friendships we might never have started or maintained in the 'real world'. And it allows us a chance to create a community without ever needing to borrow a cup of sugar.

One of the reasons I volunteered for the Local Organizing Committee of Quilt Canada was to meet more local quilters and become engaged in the real world community here in Calgary. And for that it has been fantastic.

As time moves on, however, I find that there are more and more quilters in Calgary that aren't a part of the real world community, rather they are engaged in the on-line world. And that is awesome too.

So, I've decided to host a little get together/meet-up for my readers that are local. I'm also inviting the newly formed Calgary Modern Quilt Guild.

These are my two suggested times.  Sorry, but I do have to work around my Quilt Canada obligations.

Thursday April 29 6:30 pm Drinks
Friday April 30 1:00 Desserts

Once I have an idea of who is interested I will confirm location, but it will be somewhere really close to the Telus Convention Centre, site of the Merchant Mall and shows.

So, grab your horse and come down to meet up. Who's in?

22 January, 2010

Quilt Canada Update

We are just 4 months away from Quilt Canada! That does seem like a long time yet, but for us on the Local Organizing Committee it seems like it is just around the corner. Being laid up and all I thought I would remind my readers about this fantastic event.  Just a little stumping for us hard working gals.

Did you know that Mark Lipinski will be speaking TWICE at our event.  This gregarious fellow is guaranteed to bring out some laughs and a little blushing to the audience.  But he will also bring some quilts and fantastic insights to the audience.

I might be a little biased, but I am really looking forward to the Professional Development conference. Okay, so that is the portion I am organizing. It will be a good chance for us to pick the brains of a variety of quilting professionals on finding balance, getting into the business, and keeping creativity alive.  We have some fantastic speakers lined up in local shop owners, company reps, long-armers, business coachesartists, and more artists.

Of course, at the center of Quilt Canada 2010 is the National Juried Show and the workshops. Please visit the main site to see the list of workshops.  The topics range from composition, machine quilting, art quilts, sashiko, embellishments, landscapes, collages, and so many more. There really is something for every kind of quilter. Visit the Quilt Canada 2010 website for the class list, as well a full list of events and accommodation information. 

Oh, and one of the exciting bits of news is that you can now buy day passes if you can only swing one class or day off of work. Add that to an admission to the National Juried Show and Merchant Mall and you have a fantastic day out!

To stay on top of all our Quilt Canada 2010 news and developments you can become a Fan on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

11 January, 2010

Colour Blocks

A while back I shared with you an improv colour block I made as a sample for my Improv Class. That pile of scraps has developed into a full-blown obsession.  So far I've made 16 blocks (at 16 inches square).  A good dent has been made on the scraps, but I still want to make more. I'm aiming for 25 in total.

Here is the first round of blocks.  I took these photos on our plain white new curtains, hence the stained glass effect.

My goal is to get the blocks together and the quilt finished in time to submit to the Quilt Canada 2010 Invitational.  I see lots of late nights sewing in my immediate future.

24 February, 2009

State of the Dining Room

President Obama may be addressing US Congress, and really the world, tonight on the State of the Union, but I am currently concerned with the state of my dining room.  Or should I say, the kitchen table (since there isn't one), the office, the recycling centre, extra fabric/batting storage, obstacle course for the Smilosaurus, and landing zone for nearly everything that comes in to this house.  I love it and hate it.

While the basement is under reno, or as I like to call it, under the idea of renovation, I am stuck quilting on the dining room table.  That means I have to clean up before every meal and if Hubby needs it to look at plans.  Hence the bin of blueprints, a shredder, a sewing machine, ironing board, box of current projects, and cutting mat in the corner.  I want one of those pretty studios filled with organized thread, pretty little boxes of scraps, and an inspiration board. Damn you who have them!

Am I a little bitter?  Hell yeah.  I am so tired of the clutter, of watching that the girls don't play with my thread, and of constantly cleaning up my creativity.  Now I know why kids hate when we constantly tidy their toys and art stuff.  I'm not a messy person (seriously, can't you tell?) but I would love to keep some in progress works spread around.  Oh well, one day.

But I am not telling you the highlight of my day.  I spent almost a half hour on the phone with Mark Lipinski!  We bonded (at least I think so) over discussions about cabbage rolls and the Polish/Ukrainian border.  And I got his commitment for Quilt Canada next year.  He will be the keynote for our Professional Development conference, so mark your calendars for April 26-27, 2010. 

29 January, 2009

In The Category of Insane

Most certainly I should be committed.  I am feeling a bit overwhelmed some days as it is.  And on those days I feel like the crazy lady in that scene in "Airplane" where people line up to slap her because she is going a little blinky.  Hubby would probably be first in line and I would slap myself second, third, and fourth.

So, what do I do?  Sign up to volunteer of course!  I've just taken on the challenge of developing a day and a half professional development event as part of Quilt Canada 2010.  Planning an event like this is certainly in my skill set, but it is a lot of work.  Thankfully most of my immediate responsibilities have to be concluded before I return to work in May.  And the event isn't until next April/May.  Phew.

Oh wait, but there is still a lot of work to do.  That's where I am hoping you, my fantastic readers, can help me out.  If you were attending a conference/workshop as a quilting professional (teacher, judge, designer, store owner, writer), what would you want to see?  This isn't about technical skills or new patterns.  This is professional development for your business, yourself.  Some of the topics we've thought about are incorporation, getting your quilts appraised, branding, breaking in to markets, the ergonomics of craft, and lots more.  Any suggestions?

As the event planning moves along I will also keep you in the loop.  Maybe some of you will join us?