Sunday, June 15, 2014

More Public Education in Bed Quilt Central

Yesterday was the Annual Art Walk in Stettler, a town of just under 6,000 folks, about 43 km (26 miles) east of me.  I participated this year for the very first time, at the urging of Andrea, long-time owner of the art-and-framing gallery there.  She cuts the mats for my miniatures and carries some of them in her shop.

Let's face it; Stettler is a hard-working, ranch-and-oil-focused town on the East Central Alberta prairie.  There are more trucks than cars on the streets.  The people are friendly, salt-of-the-earth, plain-talking folks who like something to be what it is.  A picture is either a photograph or a painting.  A quilt?  That goes on a bed, thank you very much.  Most of the local quilters who experiment with wall hangings make them from a pattern or in a class.

Andrea's bread-and-butter comes from her framing and teaching, not from the artwork in her gallery -- but she's been there over a decade, and isn't going anywhere else.  She's won awards for her framing, too, and is certified in archival work, so I trust her to do a good job for me, even if its only with my mats.  She's fair on her commission, and works hard to teach the community about art.  She's a major force behind the Art Walk, and knows just about everyone in town.

Yesterday, after two weeks predicting rain, the Weatherman came through -- with clouds early in the morning giving 'way to sunshine before lunch.  This meant that all of us artists -- three painters, two photographers, one stuffie-maker and me -- could have our exhibits outside and watch over our wares in relative comfort.

In addition to the Art Walk, the Annual Heartland Quilters' Guild  (Facebook link) Show was in full swing over at the Royal Canadian Legion, the steam train was running, and late in the afternoon there was a hay-ride around the town.

The morning was slow, but by early afternoon there was a good mix of visitors on the Walk -- some young families, and lots of middle-aged and older women travelling to and from the Quilt Show.   Those on the younger side were fascinated by and interested in my work; those up in their seventies (my guess)...not so much.

One dear soul stated, "Oh -- here we have quilt samples."

Politely, I corrected her: "No, M'am; these aren't quilt samples.  They're meant to be used as they are."


She then told me about someone she knows who makes 18" quilted blocks for Alzheimer's patients to fondle (comfort and calming being two very real properties of quilts, no matter the size).  I responded by complimenting her friend on her work and its purpose...and gently pointing out that this was not the case with my pieces.

"Oh?  Then what do you do with them?"

Sighing inwardly, I smiled and said, "You hang them on the wall, M'am, like a painting."  Clearly unsure about that, she wandered over to the painter's table next to me, shaking her head.

That was the most unusual encounter of the day, though one gentleman, pointing to the oil painting (landcape) in the gallery window behind me, wanted to know if I'd done that one as well.  When I explained that no, oil wasn't my medium; I 'painted' in fabric and thread, he looked confused.  A woman near him said, "See? This is her work" (pointing to my display).   The look in his eyes (despite his smile) told me he was still confused; the woman just looked at him pityingly...!

Reach for the Sky! (C) 2014
I sold nothing (I hadn't expected to), but spread the word that my miniatures were available in Andrea's gallery (I had them for the display too), and gave away several of my new post-cards, which feature my SAQA Benefit Auction 2014 piece.  One woman inquired about my doing commission work (I said yes -- though I've never done any to this point!) and she took a card.  I'm not about to bet on it...but it would be nice if she called.

Bob, an Irish-born musician, serenaded all of us with wonderful Western and folk songs, which tickled everyone's fancy, and made it a real pleasure to sit and stitch in the sunshine.   As a result, I've just about finished the second section of my planned triptych, Civility.  The stitching alone was a conversation point.  :-)

It all wound up just after 3 p.m., so I had a chance to pop over to the Quilt Show before it closed.  There were a couple of vendors -- one of which was Joan Statz, a local artist whose landscape quilts and patterns are very popular.  There was a full selection of quilts; viewers got to vote for their favourites in the small, medium and large categories.  In the 'small' category I saw for the very first time (for me; I didn't see the show last year) two hangings that were completely original in design.  One -- a city-scape -- was quite good, I thought, so it got my vote.  In the 'medium' category I voted for a throw-sized quilt that was entirely scrappy stars with tiny pieces, beautifully pieced with great colour-play and movement.  I really admire people who can make tiny 1/2-square triangles!   My choice in the 'large' category was a full-sized bed quilt in white and blue -- crisp, clean, beautifully executed; it made me smile.

Rock Face III (C) 2014 - 6" x 12"
After the show I went back to the shop, and left some new pieces with Andrea -- 3 pieces mounted on stretched canvas, two small pieces on mat board, and the two hangings that got the most interest on the Walk -- "Waiting for the Train" and my newest, "One Step Ahead of the Gulls".  We'll see how they do...

Today I'm off to a wedding in Calgary; the rest of the week, I think, will be filled with OPI...and mulling fabrics for my next 15 x 15 idea(s)...

Have a blessed Sunday!


Cathy Tomm said...

Good for you to get out there and show them your work. Sounds like a fun day to be out since the rain stopped long enough.

Jenny K. Lyon said...

What a lovely day! And what a gentle "educator" you are.

Judy Warner said...

I am glad you had a positive attitude on the crowd! Sounds like it was a great weekend in all.

Jo Ferguson said...

I live in a rural area, steeped in traditional quilting. When I mention art quilts, I'm often met with a similar response. It's been getting better because artists, like you, are out there displaying their work and educating people.