Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Working Together

One of my quilts, "Fruity Beauty" will be in the "No Girls Allowed!" biennial juried exhibition of men who quilt at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, Colorado. After participating in the 2014 show, I wanted to return. Later this year, I will exhibit quilts at the museum.

The show title, "No Girls Allowed" stirred up controversy among bloggers and commenters who were looking at the men's show and our presence in the community from a feminist point of view. I felt there were some good points and some not-so-good ones throughout the conversation. The title was really meant to be tongue-in-cheek; the rules allow any person, male or female, to long-arm the quilts in the show. I'm thankful for that. Since I have very little sewing experience, my quilts would not otherwise be possible. Also, compared to the industry I was part of previously, the quilt industry is a shining example of leadership and accomplishment among women. That's a big part of what I love about it.

at Modern Domestic PDX
Jolene Knight of Good Knight Quilts did the quilting for "Fruity Beauty" and she did a spectacular job. I pieced the top while learning basic sewing from Michelle Freedman at Modern Domestic. We worked together beautifully, and today I cannot look at the quilt or speak about it without letting everyone know about Michelle and Jolene's roles. I adore them, and when I got in the show, they also got in with me!

Jolene and I have worked together on other projects. One of those was "Oregon July" - my first large quilt, and award winner at the 2015 Northwest Quilters Show. The reversible quilt is about my love affair with Oregon. On the front is large, improvisational patchwork in Oregon summer colors. The back is solid green, revealing the quilted landscape drawing with Mt. Hood and Trillium Lake.

Jolene is from Oregon, so she understood what I was after. When I asked if she could free motion quilt a landscape over the entire quilt, it was very much outside her box as a relatively new long-armer. My belief in her never wavered. Working together on the quilt elevated us both as artists. We were not sure how it would work, or if it would work, but we took that leap of faith together.

When the quilt received a ribbon in the Long Arm Hand Guided Quilting category at the Northwest Quilters show, there was only one thing left to do. I presented Jolene with the ribbon in front of everyone at the meeting of our other guild, Portland Modern Quilt Guild. The thought of keeping it never occurred to me.

My quilt, Jolene's ribbon!
I was so happy, proud, and felt greatly rewarded for being a small part of Jolene's quilt journey. It was the first time she'd ever won a ribbon in a quilt show, and I got to hand her the ribbon! For me, that was so much better than winning a ribbon.

at Pour l'Amour du Fil, Nantes, France, April 2015
"Fruity Beauty" is a 21st century, digital-age, postmodern New York Beauty, my small contribution to the history of the motif, made with Spoonflower fabrics I designed. It was part of my exhibition of New York Beauty quilts at the 2015 Pour l'Amour du Fil in Nantes, France.

The "No Girls Allowed!" exhibit will be on display at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, Colorado, January 29th through April 26, 2016. Selected artists are: John Scott Alden, Robert Bosscher, Steve Bowley, Arlen Brown, Jim Smith and Andy Brunhammer, Ken Casey, David Charity, Rod Daniel, Jeff Donaldson, Jack Edson, Andre Emmel, Davin Frey, Geoff Hamada, John Hermann, Cuauhtémoc Kish, Timothy Latimer, Matt Macomber, Michael Michalski, Giles Panting, John Plutchak, Leo Ransom, Kevin Stankewicz, Bill Stearman, David Taylor, Ricky Tims, David Turner, Jim Vander Noot, J. Marcus Weekley, Kevin Womack, Kenn Yazzie and myself. For more information, please visit the museum's web site.

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