Saturday, September 22, 2007

My Local Guild

I belong to a local quilting guild - Baltimore Heritage Quilters Guild. I've been a member for about 20 years. (Good grief!) When I joined I had just barely started quilting and my first quilt was a Quilt-In-A-Day Log Cabin tied quilt, made with Williamsburg blue calicoes as the 'dark' and off white calicoes as the 'light', with a mauvey-red center square. Every print was the same size and there wasn't much variation in the color. It was my very first quilt and I was really thrilled. I made a bunch of Log Cabin quilts in those early years.

In 1993 I attended my first Quilt Surface Design Symposium. It was really a huge stretch for me and I was really out of my comfort zone. Saw my first Quilt National and my first Fairfield Fashion Show, and I thought maybe I was in the wrong place. It took me several years to move from traditional quilter to art-quilter-wannabe to art quilter. Steps along the way included getting away from the repeated block quilt to doing my own design, then adding paint and fancy threads, then getting into dyeing and surface design, then abandoning commercial fabrics in favor of doing my own, to where I am now.

The first juried show I ever entered was the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival, when it was still in Williamsburg, Virginia. My piece was a whole cloth, white on white machine quilted with a design of my own. The edges were scalloped and there was a little problem of wobbling because they stretched. You know how difficult it is to photograph a white on white quilt, and since this was the first effort at doing this, you can only imagine how awful this slide turned out. It had all the things you're not supposed to have, such as my hand holding the corner edge, and my dining room as a background. They must have been accepting everything that year because based on that slide, I shouldn't have gotten in. I don't think I have ever been as excited to get an acceptance letter as I was when I got that one. My first juried show!

Since then I've been in many shows and won ribbons and sold work. It's still gratifying to be validated, but that's not my major motivation. I just like doing it and I like the experimentation factor.

But - back to my opening topic, my local guild. We're having our biennial show next weekend. I've always helped on various committees for this show, but in a weak moment this time I volunteered to chair the Hanging Committee. We're in a new location and using an unfamiliar hanging system, and suffice it to say I'm having sleepless nights fretting over this. I am keeping extensive notes so that the next Hanging Chair (which will not be me) will have the benefit of my experience and won't make the same mistakes. She can make her own new ones.

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