Nearly a year late in this comment about Quilt National 2009 -- but I am full of excuses. I try to get to the Midwest to see family on Quilt National years. It's about 150 miles from my brother's home in Indiana but a very nice drive to Athens, Ohio once I get around Cincinnati. But last year I had just moved from NYC to Cape Cod and was settling in here. I'm sorry I didn't get to Indiana because I missed seeing my favorite aunt who died just before Christmas. Of course, I also didn't get to Quilt National.
Recently when ordering another quilt book from Amazon the "you might also enjoy..." screen had the QN catalog and of course I knew I'd "also enjoy" -- as well as enjoy the discounted price. It arrived yesterday. I spent the evening with it. I've purchased all the former catalogs, usually at the time I saw the show. In those cases I carried the vision of the actual quils in my mind as I looked at the catalog. I find that size is usually a matter of mental adjustment because most pictures in the book give me the impression most of the quilts are the same size -- I read the dimension info carefully and try to adjust my mental picture but I'm not very good at doing that.
Of course texture is a big difficulty. Some art quilt books include smaller detail photos but QN's catalogs never do, so the viewer is almost forced to see the quilts as two dimensional objects which none of them are. Photographs are a very poor way to view art quilts. I think even sculptural objects are more satisfactorily seen in photographs than are quilts.
Because the great majority of the quilts in this show were abstract I feel even more that I missed an important experience by not seeing the show. In abstract works texture, material qualities of transparency or heaviness, as well as the complexity of the quilting are all extremely important. A book simply is no substitute.
I was very impressed at the geographical variety of quilters -- 16 of 80+ were from outside the US. Only a three or four of them were quilters whose works have been in former QN shows, a remarkable 3 were from Israel -- a small country with no quilting tradition. Happy as I am to have the book -- and I will return to it as I do to the catalogs of former QNs -- I am very sad that I didn't push myself to go see it.
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