I’m just back from three days at QuiltCon in Nashville, TN. What a whirlwind!
It was a soggy, rainy weekend in the Music City, but as my mom says–it wasn’t raining inside! There was so much energy in the quilts and in the visitors it was contagious. QuiltCon is the annual convention put on by the Modern Quilt Guild, featuring a juried show of quilts, vendors, and classes.
I didn’t have a quilt in the show this time, but I was asked to hang several of my quilts in the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) booth at the show. My friend Maria Shell was running the booth, and they ended up with a bigger space than they thought they were going to have, so she asked me to bring some of my pieces to fill in.
That’s Transit on the left and Aquarius on the right, with Maria’s quilt in the center. The quilts hanging from the table in front belong to Sandy Gregg. And the red and blue one peeking out at the far right side is by Daisy Aschehoug. It was fun to see my quilts on display and I spent a good bit of time hanging out in the booth helping out and talking to people about SAQA and art quilts–what’s not to like about that?
The people in the featured image at the top of this post are from left to right: Kelly Spell from Tennessee, Maria Shell from Alaska, me, and Daisy Aschehoug from Norway.
Comparing this event to the first QuiltCon I went to in Savannah in 2017, the thing that really struck me was the significant increase in the quality of the quilts on display. There were some masterful pieces of art to see! Every time I went back to look at the quilts I saw something new.
Besides the quilts, one of the best things about QuiltCon is meeting people–especially social media friends that you don’t get to see most of the time. I ran into many of my students, friends, and other artists, and had a great time catching up. I wish I had thought to take pictures with all of them, but sadly I didn’t.
I did get this fun photo with Marla Varner @pennylanequilts – we were both wearing our favorite lime green! Her quilt, At the Junction, was one of my favorites at the show. I just loved the way she handled the color transitions using a fairly simple block to create something wonderful!
Another favorite was Quandary by Sarah Hibbert. The value play was what struck me in this one–the grays that set off the brights. Sarah is an Instagram friend from England and it was lovely to meet her and get to spend some time chatting. I hope I’ll get to see her again when I go to England to teach in August.
The next one is 70s Child by my friend from Oregon, Kristin Shields. Of course the play with curves spoke to me in this one, as well as the interesting color combination.
These quilts all caught my eye because they are based on improv ideas that I like to explore too. But there were many many others with a totally different aesthetic, that also made me take another look or three.
One of these was Modern Times by Jenny Haynes from England. I didn’t get a chance to meet her this time, unfortunately, but I really liked the whimsy of this quilt. The judges agreed because it also won an award–3rd place for Modern Traditionalism. I kept coming back to look at it.
And this one by my friend Connie Griner is called Denimum. It was in the Applique category and the colors were stunning.
There were quite a few quilts speaking to politics and social justice themes. My favorite was Uppity Negro by Chawne Kimber–another Instagram friend. I took a class with her at QuiltCon in 2017 and it was a lot of fun. I don’t think she was able to come to the show, but her quilt spoke volumes for her. Interestingly, she’s a mathematician and a professor in real life.
I could keep going, but this is already getting to be a long post. There were lots of vendors at the show, and I was happy that I was fairly restrained in my purchases–some thread from Superior Threads and Wonderfil and some fabric bundles from VFW Quilts and Cherrywood Fabrics. I hope to challenge myself to use couple of new color palettes.
My book publisher, C&T Publishing, also had a booth at the show and it was fun to see my Artful Improv book for sale, as always. I just realized I didn’t get a picture–next time!
Finally, I took a class on free motion quilting my last night there. And why would I want to do that, you ask? Well, it was interesting to be on the other side of the table, so to speak, as a student. The machine was unfamiliar, and I had to move to three different machines before I found one I could work with–unexplained skipped stitches, bobbin issues, etc. I wasn’t trying to be a prima donna, I promise! And it was educational to see how another teacher approached a topic I’m pretty familiar with. I came away with some new ideas that I’m looking forward to exploring.
I have to say, though, I was incredibly grateful to get back to my own machine!
Thanks for reading all the way to the end, and mark your calendars for the next QuiltCon in February 2020 in Austin, TX.