Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Visit to Mt. Vernon, Washington

Last weekend saw me in Mt. Vernon, Washington, where I was the guest speaker at a meeting of the Northwest Quilters Connection (NQC). This is a group of quilters from BC and Washington. I was to give them an update on the Bitengye Designers, the group of women I teach sewing and quilting to, in Uganda. My car was full of their samples - everything from jewellery pouches to quilts. Well, sadly it was my turn to get stopped at the border. After more than an hour, I was told that while I was welcome in the US, my samples were not. I phoned Arlene in a panic - she's one of the organizers of the group, on the Canadian side of the border.
Thankfully she had not left home yet, and I was able to drive up to her place, drop off all the Bitengye items, and drive back down to Mt. Vernon with my Powerpoint presentation. I had the great pleasure of staying with Patty and Bill Mitchell in Bellingham, and that's where these photos are from. Patty has ventured into various ways of quilting, and these are just three examples of her work. I am particularly drawn to "The Corn Maidens", the second very graphic quilt made up in the colours of the Southwest. There are elements in this that look almost African. Thanks for letting me post these, Patty, as well as calming me down after my border-encounter. The last photo is of Nora, now two months old. I managed to route my return to Vancouver Island via Victoria, so I could fit in a quick visit to her (and her parents too, of course). She's smiling and starting to coo when you sing to her, and beautifully healthy. (I'm not sure I should be using the blog for family photos, but I heard from a little birdie that there was someone in particular from southern Ontario, who wondered why there hadn't been more pictures of Nora. I'm more than
happy to post them from time to time.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

More From APWQ

Here are a few of the APWQ juried entries that particularly caught my eye. This first one is called Mitchell's Awesome Mexican Adventure, and was made by Faith McLeod from Delta BC. I love the way it captures the sense of the wind, the sun, and the colour of the parrots. It has a lovely border treatment too, as well as being marvellously quilted. Next is Barb Shapel,s heron quilt (I forget the exact title of this, unfortunately). The quilting was exquisite, but the composition itself was so also compelling. Without that red tree in the background, and the vertical shading in the fabric, the quilting itself would not have been so successfully
supported. The applique quilt pictured was in a class
of its own,
and again, I have come away without writing down the name of the maker (can anyone out there help me with this?). It wasn't a prize winner, but was so exhuberant, so representative of the Hawaiian flowers the artist recalled in making it. The final photo is called Natural Wonders, and was made by Kathy McNeil from Tulalip, Washington. The close-up gives you some idea of the attention that has been given to detail included in this work.Everything is so realistic, and her use of value is so masterful, that you almost feel you are there. One of the things that surprised me about many of the entries in the APWQ, was how densely machine quilted many of them were. There were many instances in which this supported the quilt, but sometimes I felt that it was overdone, and overwhelmed the quilting. However even in the traditional category, the extent of the hand quilting blew me away.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

APWQ - In Living Colour

Oh my word - how can it possibly be September 6th already? The days have been gloriously sunny of late, but summer was so late coming this year that I'm not quite ready to see it go yet. But the days we're enjoying now are golden, for sure, perhaps because we know they won't last that much longer. So to catch up - what happened to August? What were the highlights? One of them has to be attending the APWQ (Association of Pacific West Quilters) Quilt Show at their new venue in Tacoma, Washington. It was fabulous! The calibre of quilts was unbelievably high, and could be quite daunting. I had entered by quilt, "There's an Elephant in My Garden", and was honoured just to have been juried in, especially when I saw the competition. The quilt photos I'm blogging about today were part of one of APWQ's Special Exhibits - In Living Colour, just one small part of the exhibition. The first piece was made by Cher Cartright from White Rock. I was really drawn to this explosion of colour, radiating out from a circle that appears to be spinning with life. Next is Janet Steadman's piece - recognizable for her piecing in solid colurs - more subtle tones, but
just as dynamic as Cher's piece. Then comes the full-to-overflowing
overflowing entry from Kathryn Botsford from Campbell River. I think I only managed to take in a fragment of the detail in this layered and heavily embellished work. Lisa Jennie's palm leaves were a different interpretation of the theme again - magnificent - such a celebration of the colour green. You could almost hear the breeze chattering overhead, and imagine a sea of blue a few steps from you when you looked at it. The last piece is made by Lorraine Torrence, whose designs I have long admired. The justaposition of the greys and the bright saturated colours is so pleasing. I believe that this collection of quilts is soon to be auctioned as a fund raiser for the APWQ, and I will be sure to let you know when I hear the specifics of that as soon as I hear them. And I'll post more from the quilt show in the days to come. And if you think you will be travelling anywhere near Tacoma/Seattle the 4th weekend in August next year, I would highly recommend you attending this show. It truly showcases the best of the best from Western Canada, and the Western US, now including more states, provinces and territories than ever.