I’m just back from a fabulous weekend at the opening of Quilt National ’23 in Athens, OH. It was such an honor and a privilege to be a part of this show–I’m on cloud 9 and I wanted to share some of the highlights.

With my quilt Vessels at Quilt National ’23

My quilt Vessels was juried into the show, along with 80 other amazing pieces.

UPDATE: I made a video about the Vessels piece that’s just been uploaded to the Dairy Barn YouTube channel if you’d like to take a peek! Visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMkteM8OB2g

Vessels is part of a new series I’ve been working on over the last year, exploring large shapes and the interaction between the shapes and the negative space behind them.

Vessels detail – Cindy Grisdela

Here’s a detail showing some of the quilting. I was inspired by a motif by Paula Kovarik in her book At Play in the Garden of Stitch for the colorful shapes, and the background spaces are quilted with lines that echo the shapes and create some interesting secondary designs. I’m excited to finally get to share the details of this quilt–one of the requirements of acceptance into Quilt National is that the quilt has never been shown anywhere else before. I hope to write another post about the making of this piece.

Quilt National ’23 Artists

One of the best things about going to the opening–besides seeing the quilts, of course–is seeing old friends and making new ones! There were 81 quilts in the show and of that number, 38 artists were accepted for the first time, including me. Many thanks to Audrey Esarey for sharing this photo of the group of us who where there.

I was thrilled when I walked the show for the first time on Friday to see my quilt hanging next to my good friend Heather Pregger’s amazing work, Celebration.

Heather Pregger and me with Celebration and Vessels together at Quilt National ’23

It looks like we pulled from the same box of fabrics! Many thanks to Heather’s husband for the photo.

And here’s another one of friends, taken by Kelly Spell in the foreground on the right.

Friends at Quilt National ’23

The opening reception was Friday, May 26, 2023 with a dinner for artists afterward, then there was an artist only event on Saturday morning where we could walk the show with a smaller group.

Dinner companions Heather Pregger, Kerri Green and Judith E. Martin

Above are Carolina Oneto, Michael Ross, and Hilde Hoogwaerts.


And Jen Broemel taking a closer look at Lifelines, by Emilie Trahan on the left, which won the Best International Artist Award, and My Kimono, The Cup is Always Full by Lynne Lee on the right.

And a few of my favorites with their makers, in no particular order. I didn’t take as many photos as I probably should have, but there is a beautiful catalog with photos available.

Kerri Green with Speak Easy Quilt National ’23


Michael Ross with Spring Folly Quilt National ’23


Kelly Spell with A Slice of Candy Apple Quilt National ’23


Juror Irene Roderick Quilt National ’23

The jurors had a tough job to take nearly 700 entries down to 81 accepted artists. Above is juror Irene Roderick announcing the Juror’s Choice awards. Jurors Carolyn Mazloomi and Chiaki Dosho weren’t able to attend, but we are all grateful to the three of them for their dedication to creating a beautiful show!


Mary Mattimoe with Not Enough Time, Best of Show, Quilt National ’23

Mary Mattimoe, above, won Best of Show for her piece Not Enough Time, depicting the images of two coworkers who were killed by a 16 year old. I had written an article featuring Mary in the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) Journal in 2015 about her use of different materials and techniques in her quilting practice and it was great to meet her and offer congratulations on this honor.

I was surprised to see my quilt featured on a coffee/water bottle in the Dairy Barn gift shop, so of course I had to have one.

Dairy Barn Art Center, Athens OH–Cindy Grisdela

The show runs through Labor Day weekend at the Dairy Barn Arts Center in Athens, OH. It’s worth a visit if your summer travels take you near there. And some of the quilts will travel to other venues after that–the decision on which ones hasn’t been announced yet.

There’s a lot of great information about the history of Quilt National on the website at the Dairy Barn if you’re interested. The show is held every two years and this is the 23rd exhibit–it started in 1979!


  1. Mary on May 29, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    Beautiful write up, Cindy, and now I wish I had seen your coffee cup! Such a treat to meet you in person and I continue to look forward to your posts. XO, m.

    • Cindy on May 30, 2023 at 4:48 pm

      Thank you Mary–and congratulations again!

  2. Kim Voss on May 30, 2023 at 11:23 am

    Thank you for sharing! I’m always blown away by this show.

    • Cindy on May 30, 2023 at 4:47 pm

      It was a lot of fun and a beautiful show!


  3. Pat Craig on June 8, 2023 at 12:36 pm

    I’ve so enjoyed this. Thank you for taking us with you!

    • Cindy on June 8, 2023 at 2:31 pm

      Thanks so much, Pat!

  4. Laurel Scheeler on June 8, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    Thanks so, Cindy. Your photos were the next best thing to being there. I’m trying to see the quilts through the eyes of award-winning quilt artist & best bud Margie Curia, who before she passed, tried to teach me to see through her eyes.

    • Cindy on June 8, 2023 at 2:31 pm

      Thank you Laurel! I’m glad you enjoyed the post and I like the idea of trying to see the quilts through your friend’s eyes.


  5. Kathy Tuttle on June 8, 2023 at 4:30 pm

    Cindy, I love how you always take us in your journey with beautiful photos. I have never seen anything like these very colorful quilts. They are exceptional!

    • Cindy on June 9, 2023 at 11:03 am

      Thank you Kathy, I appreciate that!


  6. Bethany Garner on June 8, 2023 at 5:04 pm

    Congratulations Cindy – and I so wish I could have been there for the opening. It will be exciting to stand in front of your beautiful quilt later this summer. Hope to meet you in person one day along the way! A true fan of all of your beautiful art! Bethany in Kingston, ON Canada

    • Cindy on June 9, 2023 at 11:03 am

      Thank you Bethany for your kind words. I hope you enjoy the show later this summer!