Sunday, March 08, 2009

Macusco Show in Somerset, N.J.

Entering a quilt show has the same promise, excitement and sense of anticipation that entering an art museum, concert hall or opera house has for me. I am going to see interesting things I want to remember. A busload of Empire Guild quilters went to Somerset, N.J. for the New Jersey Quilt Fest [one of the many shows sponsored by the Mancusco organization] This was my third or fourth year to see this show. I have sometimes been a bit disappointed. Today I was not. It was a good show with a nice balance of quilts, some truly spectacular. There was a nice balance of traditional, contemporary and some in the "art" category. many with very, very high levels of accomplishment. I do not have pictures of the best quilts, they were mostly fairly large, people were standing in the way and I could not have captured detail.

I photographed a few quilts that made me think, I'd like to try that. So these below are not truly representative of the quality or the variety. Less than half the show was New Jersey work, there were one woman shows, a fascinating group of SAQA art quilts curated by Lisa Chipotine which for some reason had no labels, not even quilters names, the Hoffman challenge quilts, dolls and garments are always shown at this venue, and other special groups included a set of orchid inspired quilts and a set of black and white ones as well as other special exhibits.

Christine Porter from the U.K. had a small one-woman show which included this chevron quilt as well as a similar one in brown/beige. That's an "I can do that," quilt -- and maybe I will.

Mary E. Stoudt of Pennsylvania had a couple of wall quilts of raw edge squares that fascinated me for how well they worked. The first here was in medium and light colors. Both seemed to be clippings from scraps that fell on the floor during other projects. In this time of recycle, it made sense. I did a detail photo of each so as to remember how they were done but they are far more effective seen from a distance.

The Stoudt quilt below used very, very small pieces and these which were somewhat deeper red than they read in the photo had a wide border of very dark squares of the same sort. If you click this photo, you'll actually see the squares larger than reality.

My only hesitation about making a quilt in this way is to say, so then what do I do with it? Of course it's a wall quilt, although it could grow to throw size. Hmmm -- both were very effective hanging. And that's really the main criterion for a wall quilt, I suppose. Utility is not a consideration.

Many quilters have a very good sense of humor but shows don't often include them. This one below by Elise M. Campbell is called "Pigs in a Blanket". Wish I'd thought of that.

I enjoyed the show more than I have previous ones there. It was not as well attended as I suppose they hoped, although it was Sunday and Saturday is a much better day for attendance. I believe the many venders were probably not very happy. Although most of the people in our group bought a few things, as did I [a bargain stash addition is irresistible] none seemed to be doing hopping business. It's a difficult time to be a shop owner.

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