Monday, March 2, 2015

QuiltCon 2015: Gee's Bend quilters

Quilters from Gee's Bend at the keynote

It was really special that four quilters from Gee's Bend came to QuiltCon. I attended the keynote which was positively electric. The speakers were Mary Ann Pettway, China Pettway, Gloria Hoppins and Lucy Witherspoon. The mood was uplifting and encouraging and I could feel the room come together on a deep level during their address. They sang spirituals to us to start things off and throughout the address. Their singing and words touched my heart and made me feel accepted and that we should all accept each other as who we are. I have never had someone sing spirituals to us and I'm not a very religious person, but it was moving. It was interesting to hear a little bit about how they grew up and started quilting, and a glimpse into what their life is now like. I need to read more about them.

I love this quilt top and plan to hand quilt it.
Thank you Gloria, China, Lucy and Mary Ann!

The workshop I took with them may have been light on instruction but was deep with encouragement and support. They also started and ended it with singing to us. I cannot adequately put it into words how special that was. It gave me goosebumps. During class, any one of the ladies was more than happy to answer any questions. Just being around Mary Ann, China, Gloria and Lucy was fun. Mary Ann certainly has a great sense of humor. I feel like their approach freed me up in my improv and gave me a sense of confidence because they were so accepting. I tried to work in their style but felt free to do what I wanted my way. There were definitely no rules to follow. I loved every minute of it. I feel blessed to have been able to have that experience.

Thanks to Jennifer Sampou, (yes, the fabric designer!) who gave me some of her new woven fabric pieces that were absolutely meant to be in that quilt. She was in my workshop, along with Monica Solario-Snow and many other quilters whose names you may not know but are equally talented. In particular, I really enjoyed the company of Tricia Royal in both my classes. She was a QuiltCon winner, taking a third place ribbon in Improv. See what I mean? Talent was just everywhere! That lifted me up too!

Even my attendance at the keynote was due to a friend of a friend giving me her spot because she couldn't attend. I cannot say enough that this experience was only what it was because of the people I shared it with.

QuiltCon 2015: Icing on the Cake

The icing on the cake for QuiltCon was winning two awards for my quilts. I couldn't believe it when I got the email a couple days before QuiltCon saying to keep it quiet but that each quilt had one some award, but the email did not say what. I unfortunately could not attend the award ceremony to find out because I had already signed up for a class that started at the same time. Luckily I had friends on the ground that went to the ceremony and texted me what I got (thank you Chrystal and Stephanie!).

Color Play, Second Place in Use of Negative Space

Emergent, Third Place in Piecing

I ended up with a second place ribbon in Use of Negative Space for Color Play and a third place ribbon in Piecing for Emergent. I am still on cloud 9 to think that my quilts were winners! I was excited just to have them in the show. It is such a good feeling to be validated that my work is good and that others like it. I do feel there is a certain element of luck to be one that actually won since there was so much incredible work in the show but boy am I happy anyway!

Congrats to my friend Stephanie for third place in Use of Negative Space! It was an honor to have our quilts hanging together!

If anyone is interested in making Color Play, the instructions are in the book "Lucky Spool's Essential Guide to Modern Quilt Making."

QuiltCon 2015: A Whirlwind of Wonderful

QuiltCon was an amazing experience. The organizers did a fantastic job of putting it together. The best was meeting up with old friends and making new ones, along with being able to say hello face-to-face to so many quilting idols and unabashedly telling them that I loved their work. Really, I had no shame in going up to complete strangers, whether famous or not. Being around that many people who geek out on quilting like I do was an incredible feeling. Spending time with my friends was such a special treat. All the lunches and dinners, Moda Party, walking around the convention center, classmates, beemates I got to meet in person for the first time and people I had the pleasure to talk to otherwise just made the whole experience.

Eating lunch at Iron Works.
Nancy Zieman is in that booth behind us and Latifah Saafir took this photo
right before she sat down and ate with us!

Stephanie, Kathryn, Susan, Theresa, Christine and me

Chris, Chrystal, Maggie and Wyna looking adorable outside QuiltCon

My roommates Wyna, Maggie, Chris and Chrystal were the best ever and the experience just wouldn't have been the same without them. Plus I have to thank them for putting up with me for so many days in a row.

I spy Christine Perrigo's bias challenge quilt!

Face #1 by Melissa Averinos (Judge's Choice winner)

quilt by Sherri Lynn Wood
(anyone help me out with a name of the quilt? my photo wasn't good)

The inspiration I got from seeing the quilts in the exhibit and also all the charity quilts in the two lecture halls is something hard to put into words. I wish I had a whole extra week just to sit and look at each one in more detail. It is incredible to see what other quilters are making. I took lots of photos so I can go back and look at them, but that isn't the same as sitting right in front of them.

I also took two classes and attended some interesting lectures. My classes were Considering Curves with Sarah Nishiura and Gee's Bend workshop. They were both good classes. I knew the base techniques for the curves but Sarah had some great tips that improved my work and seeing her in class examples opened my eyes to how I could work with improv curves. I'm going to go over the Gee's Bend quilters in another post because I need to talk about that all on its own.

For lectures I attended Maker to Making a Living: Moderated by Jacqueline Sava with panelists Brenda Groelz of Handi Quilter, Denyse Schmidt, Mary Fons and Heather Givens; Masterpiece Theatre: Modernism in American Patchwork with Bill Volckening; Simple Quilts by Yoshiko Jinzenji and Take Better Quilt Photos with Meg Cox.

All in all, it was fun, enriching, inspiring and I have to admit—exhausting (but in the best possible way)!

Sarah Nishiura in front of our class blocks

Yoshiko Jinzenji's work is awe inspiring
(And I totally ate my way through Austin food so it was a delicious break from my norm, too.)