Sunday, June 11, 2006

I was able to spend all day yesterday in Salt Lake at the Museum of Fine Arts- they have just opened a quilt exhibit, "Rooted in Tradition: The Art Quilt." Yesterday was a symposium, that included a lecture by Robert Shaw on the history of the art quilt, a movie about ten members of a crit group in Northern California, and a panel discussion that included Mr. Shaw, an art quilter (Lynn Welter). The audience was small, but I was able to get to know some others who share my love of the art quilt. And, who knows, I'm hoping to be able to develop a small crit group, after a conversation with another member of the Utah Surface Design Group.
The exhibit itself was magnificent. The quilts dated back to the 80's, and it was wonderful to be able to see in person the work of artists I have admired for years, and only been able to experience through books. It also was a real lesson on the challenges of photographing quilts- Mr. Shaw showed a couple of slides during his lecture- and they did not bear much resemblance to the actual work.
My favorites? Phil Jones' flowers done in silk, cotton, and wool fibers; Katy Widger's exquisite colors and quilting immediately spring to mind. Some quilts cry out for massive amounts of quilting, others are just fine with more subtle stitching. Lesson learned: listen to the quilt, it will tell you what it needs!
I will go back more than once; the exhibit is here until October, with more special events planned. The curator of the exhibit, Judith Trager, will be here the end of June; I'll be at her lecture, and her three day workshop. She had three pieces in the exhibit,and all were beautiful. And, another lesson learned: you can work in the traditional grid format, and still produce art quilts.
This will be a wonderful summer for viewing art quilts in person. One of the exhibits from Quilt National will be in Brigham City this summer, and there is an exhibit of the Front Range Quilters in Park City. And, there is always the annual show in Springville!
No pictures allowed, so none to post- which is fine, because Blogger is being temperamental today and not uploading them anyway. Time to go work on the manatee quilt, I feel newly inspired!

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