Sunday, August 22, 2010

More from the World Quilt Show

This bright quilt was called Woven Rainbow and was by Sharon Malachorski; it is typical of many quilts that depended on careful color choice. Color, of course, is every bit as important in quilts as any art. I've seen many quilts by less advanced quilters that are lovely but unexciting because the quilter has used a specific designer's line of fabrics that are produced specifically to match. This is a good way to learn about colors working together but is always less interesting than carefully chosen, and sometimes carefully dyed fabrics which have a subtlety not attainable from one manufacturer's specific line. Many quilts were made of home dyed fabrics in this show, but, in fact, fewer than I expected. The vast choices quilters now have in commercial fabrics allows them to build a stash and have much of what they need at hand. And of course they don't have to rely on local shops with the Internet's retail offerings.
As I wrote, there were not a lot of portrait quilts. This quilt is not exactly a portrait but a statement about mothers and children. If you enlarge the photo you can see the upper figure of a black woman is holding a white child, and the reflection is the reverse. The work is more impressionistic than realistic reinforcing the thoughtful nature of the piece which, in fact is called "Pondering" and is by Heidi Field-Alverez. I felt there were not a lot of quilts attempting to make social statements and was glad to see this one.

I'm sorry these are all the photos I took. I felt rushed and preferred to look instead of impatiently stand back waiting for a chance to get a photo when no one was standing between me and a quilt. I was happy in this show to see that the quilting, which sometimes was amazingly painstaking, was almost always in the service of the statement the quilter was making. I have seen many quilts over the last 4 or 5 years where I felt long arm, and also domestic free motion quilting was done simply because the techniques were available. I also saw a great deal of thread painting, some very expert, some over done. This seems to be a technique that has not found it's place among quilters yet.

Sadly venues where quilts can be seen to best advantage are hard to find. This show was in two different large convention rooms. In one the ceiling lighting was sufficient and even. In the somewhat smaller space the quilts were shown around the sides of the room and the center was given over to vendors but the lighting was adequate only in the center of the room. Many of the very best quilts were difficult to see. Quilts in the middle and vendors on the sides would have been far better. Unfortunately these were the choice world quilts that were hardest to see.

However, the Raddison was a comfortable choice in terms of amenities; we had good choices for lunch and comfortable seating which I found badly lacking in some venues I've been to -- these things are peripheral to a good show but with so much to see, short, pleasurable respites are very welcome. Happily parking was not problem. I hope New Hampshire will learn about adequate road signage. I joked that generally road signs are made by prisoners in state prisons and that if New Hampshire has few prisoners they can probably import some from Massachusetts.

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