Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Black Gold: A Quilt Show

On Sunday afternoon I hiked on up to Leduc -- just south of Edmonton and the site of the Big Oil Strike in February of 1947 that put Alberta on the map, and gave birth to an industry that, while controversial, has kept generations of Canadians warm in our less-than-hospitable winters.

I was in search of warmth-providing gold of a different kind -- the 'quilty' kind, that is -- and I found it at the Black Gold Quilt Patch Guild's annual show, being held in the Leduc Composite High School.

It had all the components of a perfect Sunday afternoon Fibre Artist's Date: quilts -- both 'art' and 'traditional -- refreshments (coffee, tea, lemonade and an apparently endless supply of home-made cookies) and ...yep, a small Merchant's Mall.

Blue Days of Summer - Cathy Tomm
I behaved myself and bought nothing -- although I admit I was sorely tempted.  However, I was able to monopolize local quilter, Cathy Tomm, for quite a long chat about her work as a dyer, long-arm quilter, and exhibitor of art quilts.  I was particularly fond of her indigo-dyed piece on display in the exhibit hall, and gave her my card, just in case she decides to run a class on dyeing with indigo (which, I confess, intimidates me in a way that commercial dyes don't).

And then there was the artistry to be found in the more traditional quilts.  The show, as I mentioned, wasn't large; still, I viewed almost half of it before I found any that struck me as stunning enough for photographs.  The first of these was entitled "Stars Forever More" -- a very large quilt in creams and brown with a touch of black that bowled me over with it's 3D work, its quilting (machine done) and its design (including piping as one of the borders):

Stars Forever More -Gerri Smit

See the fabric folding?  The Piping?

In her statement, Ms. Smit says she was inspired by the original piece she saw, "Mexican Stars" by Annette Ornelas -- a piece that was a 36' wall quilt.  Ms. Smit has transformed it into a queen-sized bed quilt!  The one on display is the second that she's made.  The first was created for her granddaughter's High School graduation; this one on display was the one she made for herself -- and yes, she long-armed it herself too.

Then there was the unassuming Christmas-themed quilt by Pat Markley -- essentially a reversible, quilt-as-you-go piece done up in Christmas-tide fabrics:

'Tis the Season - front

Reading Pat's statement, I came to see that there was more to this quilt than meets the eye..."The reverse side was like a blank slate and I puzzled for a long time about the solution."  In the end, this is what she did:

'Tis the Season - back - sprinkled with star-flowers!

Continuing my journey through the last half of the show, I arrived at this charming contribution from Adeline Bilsborrow, incorporating hand embroidered blocks she created while recovering from surgery in 2010.  The pattern is "Aunt Bea's Parlour" by Judy Reynolds.  To set off the blocks, Ms. Bilsborrow chose 'Thirties' fabrics, which enhanced the delightful floral embroidery, and then she quilted it by hand.  A yummy stroll down memory lane to a simpler time!

Nostalgic Fragrances

The next one that caught my eye really shook me up!  Entitled "Medieval Earthquake", it was created by Diana Aponiuk in a 'Fractured Images' class.   Although there were another couple of pieces from that same class later in the exhibit, in my opinion, Ms. Aponiuk's was the best for her use of fabric and design to illustrate the technique.  It's hard on the eyes, though!

Medieval Earthquake

Another one that caught my eye was this original design -- "Gift of the Holy Spirit" by Myra Fraser:

Gift of the Holy Spirit
In her statement, Ms. Fraser didn't provide the impetus for making this piece -- simply that it was a challenge, and that she believes the Spirit guided her throughout the process.  The piece is machine applique and machine quilted by its creator.

 All of these were wonderful...but I was quite sure that "Stars Forever More" would be my 'Viewer's Choice'...until I saw this beauty:  All the Things in my Garden by Marge Hiller.  In her statement, Ms. Hiller writes that the pattern for the first block (not specifically identified) was inspired by a book on applique by Nancy Pearson.  Three more big blocks, four small ones and the side panel -- and the robin, upper left -- were her own design.  It is all hand applique -- and exquisitely hand-quilted by Ms. Hiller in what she describes as "Carol Armstrong style".   No matter that I am an 'art' quilter with a 'looser' style -- the artistry and skill in Ms. Hiller's work is clear!

Detail 2
All the Things in My Garden
Detail 1


besshaile said...

Oh my - those traditional quilts really are stunning! I'm so smitten with the Stars Forever but like you, the applique garden is almost mind boggling. Thank you for taking me along with you to the show.

Linda A. Miller said...

What a fine quilt show...Wow, the hand work is amazing!