Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Report from Quilt National '13


Just got back from my fifth Quilt National!  What a wonderful quilt show this is...or perhaps I should say art show - for many of the pieces shown there would be equally at home in any fine art gallery.  85 quilts were chosen from 851 entries.  Rather fewer entries than previous years: 2011 (1000+), 2009 (1000+), 2007 (1151).  I wonder if this is because several well known art quilt makers, stalwarts of many shows, are now too famous, or too old to be bothered entering? There's a whole new slew of folk coming along, but finding the time and money for art  gets harder for  younger people every year.
Of the 85 quilts, I thought 33 were absolutely stunning and very inspirational, and of course there were some that were clever or very attractive, and some you wondered about!  Alas, the jurying for prizes was also done by photographs and not from the real thing which I feel is a disservice to both the medium and the artists.  I know if I asked they would say: Oh we have to do that so we can record the prize winners in the catalogue...BUT BUT why is having the listing in the catalogue So important?  You could easily have on the last page information to a website page where the prize winners are listed.  Plus it would be really fun to choose those whom you thought should have got a prize -  and then go to the website to find out whom the jurors chose.

The catalogue by the way is very well done; published this year by Dragon Threads instead of Lark Books, and is available on the QN website. Since you can see the full pictures there of all the quilts - but very few details, I'll show you some details and some of the people who were at the opening!

The quilt at the top is mine - one of my industrial quilt series but the emphasis here is very much on what we're doing to our environment.  Can you see the little boy (life size) crouched beneath the oil derrick?  The weight of our demands for huge amounts of cheap energy is on the backs of our children and grandchildren.

 Exploitation of the environment was a theme addressed by several quilts in this show, also other major issues like child abuse and Alzheimer's.  May our voices be heard!  And, thankfully, many artists made work about beauty - both obvious and hidden, loud and quiet!

One of my  favorite pieces was Gabriel by Anne Smith of Cheshire, UK.  I don't know anything about Anne but she has a wonderful sense of humour: "Gabriel has a job to do - he is a messenger - but what does he do on his days off from serious work? What does he wear?"
This is just a detail of the entire quilt - which you can see on her website too...an amazing piece with lots of fascinating sections...love his feet in sneakers (I mean what else does an angel wear on his day off?) dangling off the quilt.

 Here's a detail of Deidre Adam's quilt:
and Deidre standing in front of it!

a detail of Luanne Rimel's heavily stitched piece - masses and masses of beautiful stitch texture:
a detail of Marianne Burr's amazing piece...look at all that embroidery!! Marianne says that she was an embroiderer first...then learned about art quilts.  Her quilt is also the cover of the book.
 And here's an overall view of the first hour or so before the hordes came in and it was packed out! Yes that's Del Thomas in the middle but I'm not sure of the other folk!

 Dear Patty Hawkins by her lovely Colorado quilt.

Another beautiful stitching detail - this time from Judith Plotner's work...as you can see it also has a very irregular edge.

And finally my dear friend Robin Schwalb making a beautiful come hither Kitty face for me!!!

Do buy the book to see all the quilts in full and do consider entering yourself next time!!  Deadline for entries will be sometime in September next year...start designing now!

And, if you have been, thanks for reading!


Sandy said...

Hi Elizabeth,
Could you give an idea of the average size of the works that are entered into QN? Are there a lot which are nearly the limit in size? and what generally are the smallest sizes that tend to be accepted?
Sandy in the UK

Elizabeth Barton said...

There was a little beauty by McCabe in black and white that was 24" square, most quilts are larger though. and the jurors said they rejected several because they were not large enough for the image depicted.

Sandy said...

thanks. something to think about!

Jackie said...

So glad to see Legacy, well done! Thank you for posting it and the others as well. I enjoy and appreciate artists' continual growth, not just maintaining the same style over time. You have done that beautifully!!! It's till certainly you and your style, but it has modulated, grown, advanced.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for writing about this. It is so great to hear from the front lines. Take care, Byrd.

Del said...

It was great to see you again, Elizabeth. The only person I can provide futher ID is Judith Content who I am speaking to in the picture. Her head is behind a quilt, but I recognize her clothing.

Sunnie said...

Thank you for whetting my appetite! I will get to see QN next week...and taking my sister, a non-quilter, which always leads to interesting conversations!