Saturday, March 18, 2006

A Long Post with Not Too Many Pictures

I went to the Dalls Quilt Show yesterday.

First of all, I have the most wonderful husband ever and we have been so lucky in the past several weeks for many things to come together just as they were meant to be. Specifically, he left yesterday to go on a trip. I thought this might mean I would not be able to go to the show (at least not without the kids), but it turns out his plane did not leave until Friday afternoon and he generously and so enthusiastically wanted to go to the show in the morning. Which I did -- kid-free. Not that it wouldn't have been fine to take the kids, just different. You know what I mean.

It was a great show. I bought an advance ticket and arrived shortly before the show opened with several other quilter-types dressed in green (It was St. Patrick's Day.) and other predictable quilt show attire. Quilted vests. "My stash is legal" buttons. Red Hat Society gear. Hand made totebags.

When the doors opened, I headed straight for the special exhibits. I got to savor the Third International Miniature Textiles Invitational curated by Joanie San Chirico all by myself. So wonderful. Inspirational. Stunning. Wonderful in its size and depth of artistry. I was struck by how different the works look in person. I'd browsed the galleries on Joanie's site and there is just no comparision. The web pictures are wonderfully photographed and beautifully presented, just not the real thing.

No need to take pictures of the individual works since you can see them all at the link above, but here's a picture of how the show was hung.

I'm not sure the exhibit was fully appreciated by other attendees. I overheard a conversation between two women who didn't seem to get the whole concept of why they were there or where they came from. The idea of a "special exhibit" is a bit complicated, apparently. They were also set aside in another room from the main show. I also think that because the works are small, it's easy to zoom through the exhibit and not appreciate the art. This is something I should think about since I've been working super small lately. (Gabrielle might be right.) I hope the exhibit made some attendees think about fiber art in new ways.

It was amazing to see the variety of materials incorporated in these pieces. Lots of image transfer of many kinds. Duct tape. Paper. Skeleton leaves. Text.

Specifically, I'll say Lisa Call's piece was wonderful. I adore her dense seed stitch. It's so different from most of her work. It was wonderful to see Rayna's work in person. I adore her blog and am fascinated by the interesting tools and shapes she uses. Claire Fenton's work was great too -- so much more texture in real life. Those swampy reeds are beautifully painted thick foamy pieces. It's been great to see the development of Catherine Kleeman's series including this piece. I was so happy to be able to study Melanie Testa's beading and embroidery. Beautiful. I think my favorite was Valerie Goodwin's Vestages. I'm currently drawn to architectural imagery.

I will say there were a couple of pieces I really didn't like. Where do you draw the line between innovative construction choices and sloppy? When is image transfer a crutch for creating your own image? Don't get me wrong, I'm not being critical, I'm just suggesting that for me these questions rise to the surface. That's art, right?

Then I went to see the Men of Biblical Proportions exhibit. No photography allowed. It was great. I haven't seen the Women of Biblical Proportions exhibit, but I'd love to. Is it wrong to say that I suspect there are more truly gifted women quilt artists than men quilt artists? Only a few pieces really caught my eye including John Flynn's spectacular interpretation of Jesus walking on the water over the stormy sea. Half the quilt is the traditional storm at sea block with quilted splashy wild foot prints and the other is a serene wavy strip pieced section with calm quilted footprints. It gave me goosebumps.

Then I walked through the quilts in the actual show. They were wonderfully displayed with so much room to move around and view the quilts. Only just over 300 quilts in the show. That surprised me a bit since both the Jacksonville Quiltfest (where I used to live) and MaineQuilts (where I used to live) had way more entrants. I wonder if they limit entrants? I'm not sure. That's ok. I love to see whatever there is!

The best of show was beautiful and pretty innovative. It was a whole cloth quilt beautifully machine quilted with feathers and florals and all kinds of motifs. Then -- yes, after the quilting -- the artist added color to the quilt with colored pencils. Great pictures here.

The show program specifically says not to publish pictures on the internet, so no tour for you.

Lots of traditional quilts. And something I haven't seen much of before but is apparently popular in Texas: sparkles. Many quilts were bedazzled with all kinds of materials. There were even vendors who only sold sparkly stuff.

Speaking of vendors.

The publisher of Art/Quilt magazine was there. Her booth was packed. Draw your own conclusions.

She did have an amazing selection of books. I should have written down some titles. There was lots of inspiration there.

I also saw this product.

Apparently it's a fusible webbing that is only recently available in the US. Anyone tried it? Actually, I had an enormous breakthrough with fusing this morning. More on that later. It deserves it's own post.

Then I had lunch -- a warm California crepe... smoked turkey, avocado, sprouts and delish pesto dressing! How's that for quilt show food?

I love quilt shows. It was a delight. The Dallas Quilt Guild puts of a wonderful show. The location, the set up, the quilts, the attention to detail, the welcoming and happy attitude were all very impressive. I feel so happy to be here. Of course, I'll be sending in my guild membership this week.

I hope if there are any local Texas area gals reading my blog that you'll introduce yourself to me. I'd love to meet you. And I hope that you aren't offended by anything I've written. Sometimes I worry that my humor or constructive criticism might be hurtful. Please know it's certainly not meant to do so!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tour, even if it didn't have many pics. I love hearing people's reactions to art. Good, bad, or indifferent, it's all part of the process. I love going to shows with someone who's tastes are different than mine because we point out things to each other that we might have missed otherwise. It enriches us both/all. Thank you :-)

Brooke said...

Wow, I'm so impressed with all the links imbedded into your blog. I'm a novice. I'll probably be able to do this someday, but it's so cool. Thanks for all the pictures.

mary m. said...


I'm curious, was your husband enthusiastically at your side the whole time?

I'm so glad you found a great guild to join! They are lucky to have you as a member. Does your recent breakthrough with fusing involve Esterita Austen's new fusable? I remember you said you were going to do a product comparison.

Melody Johnson said...

O NO! My secret identity is being revealed!
Vilene Bondaweb, girl detective!

Deb R said...

It was fun reading about your day at the show!

Joanne S said...

One year, at the Pacific Int show, I asked quilt goers if I could photograph their outfits. Yikes, was I popular!!!! And my interest was so very not what they thought.

I tend to judge a show on the bathrooms (lines, clean etc) the goodness of the lunch and places to sit. I also give extra points if the people I sit next to invite me to chat with them. It goes without saying--I always enjoy the quilts--even the bad ones.

Joanie Gagnon San Chirico said...

Thanks Deb for your review of the of the Miniature Textiles Exhibit and the photo of how they hung the work. I didn't even get to see it in person after putting it all together! Looks really different than all sitting on my work table!I appreciate all the links too.

Kim Carney said...

I would love to see that! (ah, to be in Texas today:)

ACey said...

I ask the same kind of questions but thought it was simply because I have been out of the loop for a couple years and need to re-find my way. It's disorienting to feel very out-of-it where quilting and art quilting is concerned but I think it's also good for me, personally.

I haven't been influenced by trends. I don't know what's in or what's out and that seems to be creating a lot of joy and lack of self-consciousness.

It's also really helpful and comforting for me to understand that even people who are totally on top of The Scene still may ask the precise questions I do.

Lisa Call said...

Thanks for the compliments about my mini piece. And glad you made it to the show - did you take your like munchkins with you?

As you can see I'm a bit behind in reading blogs - it's been a busy week.

kathy said...

thanks for the "virtual quilt tour" and all your very favorite quilt show I ever went to was Mancuso with you. Something about enthusiasm being contagious!

cfent said...

thanks for the mention!
loved reading about the show....
tho this flooding thing is getting old...;-)