I had a homecoming of sorts this past week when I taught at the Quilters Unlimited show just south of Washington, D.C.. I grew up in Wheaton, MD, just north of D.C., so I feel pretty comfortable in the area. In fact, when someone asks me where I’m from, even after 30 years in Maine, I often hesitate: am I from the Washington, D.C. area? Or from Maine?
I was only gone for a week and that included two and a half days with my childhood friend, Jet. Yet for such a short trip I have lots to share. Six (count ’em six!) slide shows! Plus a video! Hmmm, maybe I went over the edge this time. But since you can take them or leave them, here they are.
First there are the two classes I taught: “What Goes Around Comes Around” and “Cutting Loose.” Then there were the special exhibits at the Quilters United show. Finally, there were my sightseeing trips to the National Zoo and to the Textile Museum at George Washington University. Prepare yourselves for lots of photos! Enjoy.
What Goes Around Comes Around
I don’t often teach my one-day spiral class, “What Goes Around Comes Around.” Most students seem to want something longer. But I always enjoy it and think the students do, too. It’s fun, freeing, low-stress and yet still manages to cover all the major aspects of fabric collage. I have my students draw a simple spiral on a piece of backing fabric, then introduce them to gluing, cutting to the drawn design, the use of values, contrasting colors, and finishing (though they won’t get to that until after class). Limiting the subject this way really focuses attention on the technique rather than on the subject.
There was certainly an overabundance of Susans, Sues, and a Suzanne in the classes. At least four students plus me in each class, making it clear that Susan was at one time a popular name though not a popular baby-name these days. Maybe that’ll come around again too.
Here are the student projects (at various stages of completion) in my spiral class:
Cutting Loose: Fish, Bugs, and Butterflies
Seems like I’ve seen a lot of fish, bugs, and butterflies this year. Most people at the Quilters United two-day class used patterns of mine. A few drew their own.
The ladies of Quilters Unlimited (in both classes) continued the trend this year of being well-prepared for class. I hope this is partly due to this blog. As homework I send an email to upcoming students with links to posts such as “Why Glue?” and “Why Color Is Irrelevant.”
Here are the projects from that second class:
Quilters Unlimited Special Exhibits
The Quilters Unlimited annual gathering, which encompasses eleven different guilds from the area, includes an impressive quilt show with special exhibits and vendors mall. Both were fun ways to spend any free time at lunch and after class. And it’s always nice when someone in a class needs a piece of fabric to be able to scurry off to find it. I was even able to find some goodies to bring home (imagine that!).
There were two special exhibits at the show: one which matched the show theme, “Virginia’s Beautiful Waters”, and the other celebrating our national parks 100th anniversary. Within both of those exhibits, people told me how they had used my fabric collage technique for their entries. One woman challenged her smaller group to create fish from my books, Freestyle Quilts and Serendipity Quilts, in honor of me teaching and speaking at this “Beautiful Waters” show. How cool!
Check out the slideshows below. I’ve included a picture of each tag to identify the artist and to explain the piece:
Lecture and Short Interview
My Saturday evening slide show was really well-attended, with 200 or so people in the audience. Someone said afterward that they couldn’t believe it was an hour and a half the time went so fast. As I’ve said before, a good audience makes all the difference. What probably helped was they had some nice refreshments ahead of time, including a cake decorated by my two-time student, Linda Cooper, in honor of my quilt “Crocodylus Smylus.” A good start to the evening.
On Sunday at lunch, fellow-teacher Marisela Rumberg (Facebook) did a short (bi-lingual) interview. She teaches primarily in Central and South America so she translated the entire interview including my answers in Spanish. Impressive!
I arrived a couple days early to visit my childhood friend Jet. She’s the one who stuck up for me when we were two years old in the playground sandbox when a bully pulled my hair. We’ve been best friends ever since. She and her mom are like family to me so it was lovely to stay with them and their new rescue beagle/hound mix, Peanut.
On the first day we all (except Peanut) went to the National Zoo. Most times people go to visit the animals. It turned out they had a fantastic new exhibit of outdoor sculptures of marine animals made from plastic trash washed onto the world’s beaches. Art with a message. The trash was collected and assembled by volunteers of Washed Ashore, under the direction of lead artists. Because there were 17 sculptures meant I didn’t see as many live animals as you might think one would. Hey, I’m a collage artist after all.
For those of you who are as fascinated by stuff like this (Color! Texture!) as I am, I took a wealth of photos including overalls down to details. My husband just shook his head, but he understands.
We did get around to seeing the pandas though, including baby Bei Bei, born last October, who is the current star zoo celebrity. We arrived at feeding time with Bei Bei and his mom playing on the floor. Very cute. Hover over the pictures to see captions.
Next day we visited the Textile Museum at George Washington University. What a fabulous place! The current exhibit, in collaboration with Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA), is a collection of works about human diasporas or dispersion, entitled “Stories of Migration.” It seemed to be a very timely show, with all the discussions on immigration and the displacement of people happening around the world. There was a great variety of works: quilts, installation pieces, clothing, embroidery. I’m glad we chose to go there. Below is just a sampling of the beautiful pieces chosen for the show.
Whew! That was quite a trip! I’m home now, but still hit the ground running getting ready for next week’s quilting retreat here in Harpswell, Maine. I think I can slow down after that? We’ll see.