Last night I went to my first guild meeting. I joined the Old Capital Quilters Guild
I am pretty sure I was the youngest person there (and mistaken for a high schooler, as they were expecting some girls from 4H!). There were a few women who looked to be in their 40's or 50's, but as expected, the crowd skewed towards older women. I sat at a smaller table of ladies, and the women were nice and chatted with me. My goal of this is to meet some people in the area, but the set up is so huge (about 100 people) that I think that would be tough if you don't already know each other! There are 'small groups' and I might try to join one of those.
The guild seems to do a ton of charity work. They collect quilts for the hospital, they do a block a month (I'm going to try this) where someone assembles the blocks together. This meeting they also talked about place mats for meals on wheels and stockings/pillowcases for the troops. If I have some quilting time this month, I might try either of these.
Each month, the meeting has an activity. This month we watched a movie called "Stitched". It was a pretty spectacular introduction to art quilting. I know what art quilting is, but I have never seen it to this degree. It is truly amazing- the men and women who do this sort of quilting are without a doubt true artists, their medium is fabric and thread. I think it is a little frustrating, because I doubt the typical "quilter" (uh, me...) could aspire to this level, you just need formal art training.
The video showcased the pull between art quilting (many of whom do NO patchwork or applique, but paint their quilts) and traditional quilting. Things like "why would you put that on a bed?" (um, you wouldn't) or that these people shouldn't even be called quilters (uh?). I'm wondering how they found people to be interviewed because they come off sounding like ignorant old biddies.
I've known for awhile that while I like some traditional quilts, and like piecing, I lean towards modern quilting, mostly in color. However, seeing all these award winning traditional quilts, and award winning art quilts, I realize that I really lean away from traditional. Maybe after I finish my Master's degree I'll have to go and try to do some art classes, and see if I can transfer some of the information to quilting. Heck, even a color theory class would be nice!
For those reading my blog who don't know what art quilting is, or only barely know (like I did), here are the three artists/quilters featured, and a work that I loved by them.
Hollis Chatelain: Innocence (this quilt didn't even get an award at the show featured, but it got viewer's choice.) If you click on the link to the side, it will show the detail: all over the quilt, images of children are stitched into it. Amazing quilting. (Since last night I've been very inspired to learn more about show quilting- and this one seems to come up a lot in the "Why didn't my quilt get a ribbon" -FAQ authors will say "this one didn't get a ribbon either" - it is clearly a very highly respected quilt, I still don't know what the judges were thinking. The winning quilts were very good, but this is just an amazing piece of art.
Another quilter featured was Caryl Bryer Fallert. I didn't know it at the time, but I had actually heard of her. Leah Day mentioned her in a blog post just a few days ago (about using clamps in the ceiling to support the weight of the quilt) and I've been eying a line of fabric called "Gradations" that she apparently designed. (Funny thing about fabrics- I have a line of fabric I love- Mixmaster's, apparently it was designed by Patrick Lose- a quilter I also admire.) Feathers in the Wind was the quilt featured in the show. I love the sense of color she displays in her works. And look at this gorgeous dance quilt.
The final quilter featured was a man named Randall Cook (each was kind of related in the art world to the other. Caryl mentored Hollis, Hollis mentored Randall. Guess Caryl is just top of the chain!) Each of the quilter's had caused a stir in the world of quilting: Caryl being the first to win a major show with a machine quilted quilt, Hollis for winning with a painted quilt (no piecing or applique!), and Randall for his "pornographic" (haha) work. Here is the stunning quilt he made. I guess they are right, you don't see too many nudes in the quilt world. I think I have the smallest draw to Randall's art, but it is also just amazing. I tried to find one of his quilts that most caught my eye, and when I did, I realized it is one of Caryl Fallert's designs... What I find most interesting about him is he does traditional quilts too, and was shown doing hand quilting (though I think he mostly machine quilts).
Overall, the quilt guild meeting was inspiring, and has me really wanting to try some new forms of quilting. And to get to go to the Des Moines quilt show later this month. I was already to not go, but now I want to see what show quilts look like in real life!