Friday, February 27, 2015

"Modern Materials, Quilts of the 1970s" Web Seminar Endnotes

Today I presented a web seminar "Modern Materials, Quilts of the 1970s" in a live broadcast, and afterwards I had a few more thoughts to share. I showed the following series of slides toward the end of the web seminar, and they launched a new discussion about the relevance of 1970s quilts today.

In comparing "You Can't Rush Art" by Amanda Jean Nyberg to the 1970s polyester Rail Fence quilt, I pointed out similarities and differences between vintage and modern. The overall image, use of color and design share distinct similarities. However, the finish in the modern quilt is far more refined and polished.

Sometimes antique and vintage quilts have a sense of anachronism. They seem to predict the future. This vintage, 1970s Double Wedding Ring has a deconstructed appearance, and layers. The sense of peeling back the layers is also evident in Victoria Findlay Wolfe's masterpiece Best in Show quilt from QuiltCon 2013, "Double Edged Love". Not surprisingly, Victoria is inspired by antique and vintage quilts, and slept under polyester quilts made by her grandmother while growing up in Minnesota.

"Lite Brite" by Marie Shell is a direct reference to a popular toy first marketed in the late 1960s and hugely popular in the 1970s.

It is thrilling to see the similarities in color palette between Shell's quilt and the vintage 1970s Tile Block, and even more exciting to see the title refer back to the vintage inspiration.

The construction and finishing details in modern quilts also have roots in quilt history, but not the 1970s-- more like the middle 19th century. At the beginning of the web seminar, I talked about collecting antique quilts for 20 years before falling in love with my first 1970s quilt. The quilts from the middle 19th century are among my favorites, and they are thin, crisp, cotton quilts with great quilting-- a finish you could also expect to see in a lot of modern quilts.

At the end of the web seminar, I included a small tribute to Spock, Leonard Nimoy. Just before I went on the air, I heard he had passed away. He was part of my 1970s experience. Star Trek was on after many of my other favorite shows, such as Batman, Gilligan's Island, Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. Today, I still love Star Trek. To quote longtime friend Chris Vacek of Boulder, Colorado who posted about Spock on Facebook today, "RIP Spock. Your passing is....illogical."

For those who missed the live event, and even for people who attended my morning tours and lecture on the 1970s at QuiltCon, I recommend checking out the web seminar because it includes some epiphanies such as the relationship between vintage and modern quilts. As soon as it is available for rebroadcast, I'll make sure to announce it. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

20 More 1970s Quilts!

Because people loved the 1970s quilts so much at QuiltCon, I thought I'd share some more. Pictures only-- no captions or info right now. Enjoy the groovy quilts!

Polyester Patchwork Photobomb!!

Fox 7 in Austin, Texas did a really great spot on QuiltCon, and I was delighted to see quilts from my exhibit, "Modern Materials, Quilts of the 1970s" included in the footage. It was a Polyester Patchwork Photobomb with Best in Show Winner, Kathy York of Austin-- two of my quilts behind her to the left.

The one you can easily recognize is this incredible polyester Diamonds quilt, monumental in scale and in fact too large for the tallest post and drape in the show. They had to pin it over at the top to avoid having it on the floor.

OMG!! I'm just giddy about this!!
Best of all, the quilt made by my friend Janis Pearson back in 1972, gifted to me, made it into the footage, prominently!! They panned the quilt for several seconds while talking about the vintage quilts-- and they mentioned that there were a few in the show.

OMG! Janis!!! LOOK!!! Your quilt on TV!!!
Stars, 1972, by Janis Pearson, Oregon
Wow, wow, WOW!! Janis was there at the show, and I hope she savored the moment as much as I did. If you're interested in seeing the Fox 7 segment, here it is!

MyFoxAustin | KTBC | Fox 7 Austin | News Weather Sports

I'm sure all of you would like to get a better look at this quilt made by Kathy York of Austin Modern Quilt Guild. It won Best in Show!

It is called "i Quilt" and I call it a quintessential 21st century quilt. Shout out to Elizabeth Hartman of Portland Modern Quilt Guild, who made the QuiltCon ribbons, and Jen Carlton-Bailey, who pieced the give-away quilt seen in the photo behind the ribbon. And another Polyester Patchwork Photobomb!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

QuiltCon Special Exhibit Tours

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday I led tours of the four special exhibits at QuiltCon, and it was a lot of fun. The four exhibits were the "Modern Quilt Guild's 2014 Quilts of the Month", sponsored by B. Studio Design; "Pieced With Love: The Quilts of Do.Good.Stitches", sponsored by Beyond the Reef; "Modern Materials, Quilts of the 1970s", sponsored by Bloc Loc; and "The Quilts of Gee's Bend", sponsored by Yuwa Live Life Collection.

"Modern X" the March 2014 Quilt of the Month
by Christa Watson, Las Vegas MQG
We spent some time talking about the charity quilts, how wonderfully dynamic they were in the context of charity quilts made throughout history; as well as the MQG Quilts of the Month. On the first day of the tour we were fortunate to have Christa Watson of Las Vegas Modern Quilt Guild as part of the tour group. She told the story about how she made her beautiful quilt, "Modern X", the March 2014 Quilt of the Month!

We spent a considerable amount of time each day discussing The Quilts of Gee's Bend, and visitors to Quilt Con were also treated to the Gee's Bend episode of Why Quilts Matter, History, Art & Politics on a video loop in the center of the display. Many people stopped and watched!

I told the story of a very special quilt made by Lucy Mingo of Gee's Bend, and for anyone looking for a picture of the quilt, here it is!

"Bible Story" by Lucy Mingo, Gee's Bend, Alabama, 1979
And here is a picture of Lucy signing the quilt, 32 years after she made it!! What a stunning moment that was. I blogged about it, too (click here).

The last exhibit on the tour was "Modern Materials, Quilts of the 1970s"-- my own exhibit of 20 quilts made in the 1970s, and of course, I had a lot to say about them. Topics included polyester, DayGlo, methods of construction, color and design, and it was a lot of fun telling people about the quilts in the midst of the display.

There were lots of great questions, and really an open dialogue about the quilts on display. Great exchanges between myself and the tour groups! I tried to make sure to thank the sponsors, and also made sure to visit the Bloc Loc booth to thank them personally for their generous sponsorship of my exhibit. Special thanks to the volunteers who checked in attendees, brought me water, took pictures, and did everything to make my life a little easier. We had fun!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Modern Materials: Quilts of the 1970s Special Exhibit at QuiltCon

Great day at QuiltCon in Austin, Texas! I got in a little ahead of the crowd before opening to see the 1970s quilts, and Proud Papa!! When I saw them, I let out an audible gasp that only I heard, but it really took my breath away. It is the first time I have seen these quilts up, on display, and they're right at the entrance to the exhibit hall.  

 There are 20 quilts in the exhibit, which is called "Modern Materials, Quilts of the 1970s" and they show beautifully-- much better than I anticipated.

Janis Pearson of Gresham, Oregon made the Stars quilt will all the wonderful calicoes, and I'm excited she will be here to see her quilt on display.

I hope everyone who comes to see the who will enjoy the quilts. They're a lot of fun, and were originally made by everyday people as domestic objects, but they are really works of art.

Deborah Ursell from San Antonio sold me the wonderful quilt with the map of the continental United States, but we hadn't met before. She was here today, and we had a wonderful visit and some great Texas BBQ. Tomorrow: tour of the special exhibits first thing in the morning, followed by a lecture about the 1970s quilts, and another lecture later in the day, called "Masterpiece Theatre". Ready to hit the ball out of the park!