QuiltCon: Mining for Gold

I attended four lectures at QuiltCon. I tried to find a nugget of gold in each one. It was California, after all.

From Fine Art to Functional Quilts

By Kim Eichler-Messmer

I knew Kim from the Slow Stitching Retreat, but her lecture gave me her story as a fine art student/teacher to a functional quilt maker. I gained insight into her process, and it inspired me. Her quilt journey showed how she took fabric collages from her student days and her personal struggle with grief, where she participated in the 100-Day Project, to create large quilt blocks. They reflect her experiences and incorporate her current experimentation with natural hand-dyed fabrics.

What did I take away from this? Fabric as sketches. I could see myself making mini quilts before committing to a large project with that design. My work reflects what I’m internally thinking and I don’t have to know that at the time I’m making the quilt.

Made in Japan: Quilts, Cotton and Indigo

By Teresa Duryea Wong

This lecture explored the history of cotton, weaving and indigo in Japan. Teresa’s presentation was beautiful. I could stare at iconic textiles all day. Teresa explained the expertise of Japanese manufacturers and why textiles produced there are so fine.

What did I take away from this? Thank you Japanese manufacturers. You inspire me. Teresa said quilters use a taupe palette — they want to reflect nature and whisper.

You Make the Rules: How I use Design to Guide Work and Life

By Carolyn Friedlander

The lecture was a personal story of design and the humble beginnings of this quilting super star. I felt I knew all of this because I have her book, Savor Each Stitch, and I follow her on all the platforms.

What did I take away from this? I left the lecture, thinking “no nuggets.” Later when it was quiet in my hotel, I forced myself to replay her lecture in my mind. The advice, Start Where you Are, Start at Home, was the big picture from her lecture.

I began to think about where I am and where I call home. I live in Colonial Heights, but when I think of home, I think of Southwest Virginia. I wondered what ideas I had about Southwest Virginia.

I sketched a few ideas and I can see some of these becoming quilts. I wrote these ideas: underground, ghosts, the company store, addiction, coal keeps the lights on, and we’re feeling f–ing unappreciated, quilts, it’s beautiful here, bluegrass, the crooked road, back of the dragon, take me to church, cornbread, . . . . I envision a series called Living Appalachia.

Living Appalachia sketches

Lessons from Art Critique

By Chawne Kimber

I also met Chawne at the Slow Stitching Retreat. Her story was also new to me. She described a young life immersed in art museums and the study of art. She shared tips on critiquing art.

What did I take away from this? The biggest advice from her: spend time with art. Look at it, think about it, ask questions.

I didn’t take her advice at the quilt show. I wanted to see all the quilts!

Except, I did spend time looking at Victoria Findlay Wolfe‘s first-place quilt, Color Play H1, in Modern Traditionalism category. At first, I had that, “well, that’s nice” response. Perhaps it was the simple design repeated with different solid colors. It is the traditional herringbone pattern. After studying it, I realized she used white on the borders and there is magic in how the “bones” recede because of the color choices. Also straight line quilting is balanced with the ribbon candy quilting. At the same time, it made me dizzy. There is one repeating color– the orange on the right border. That’s the only repeating color. And the craftsmanship is stellar. The quilt reflects patience and good design.

Color Play VFW close upColor Play VFW

Final Thoughts

When I returned from QuiltCon, my brain felt fried — like the commercial– this is your brain on great quilt art. I am excited to put my inspirations to work and see what I can buy with my nuggets of gold.

3 thoughts on “QuiltCon: Mining for Gold

  1. Candy P says:

    Thanks for sharing the value of the lectures and your take-aways. QuiltCon classes sellout so quickly, and I get discouraged about going, but you’ve shown me how lectures would help me explore my own processes and tell me own stories. As always, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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