Saturday, May 23, 2009

News from Athens

The opening to Quilt National '09 was last night. It was quite the event. First the artists had a preview of the show with no one else there. We could see everything without the crowds and it was wonderful. We had our books and pens in hand so that we could compare the actual pieces to what was in the book and also get the artists to sign their pages. About three fourths of the artists were present and that included many from other countries including Australia and Japan. That's impressive that so many made the trip.

My piece is actually one of the smaller pieces in the show, at least that's my impression so far. So much for my theory that a piece needs to be big to be accepted! But the really cool thing is that I won a prize: "Persistence Pays" - a prize awarded to the artist who has entered QN the most times before getting accepted. I shared it with Glenys Mann from Australia. It surprised me that she also won it because I was sure she had been in QN before. I've seen her work over the years and it certainly looked to be of QN caliber. So anyhow, we share the award. If you look here you can see the list of winners and images of their quilts, which don't do them the least bit of justice.

The catalog is pretty good and certainly worth purchasing, but catalogs never give you the real picture, so to speak. Everything is so much more wonderful than the book image. Colors might be a little bit off, metallics don't sparkle, transparent pieces don't show their transparency, and most of all, the textures just don't show up. You need to really see the show in person to appreciate how wonderful it is. I heard quite a few people say that it was a really great show, which of course I think also!

And this is really cool -- I knew this from way last October but could not say anything. Marvin Fletcher purchased my quilt. Marvin is the widower of Hilary Fletcher, who was the director of Quilt National for many, many years. She died several years ago. The Persistence Pays award was established in her honor because she always encouraged people to keep trying. I met Marvin last night and he told me how when he saw my piece, he just had to have it. And then the fact that it won the award made it even more precious.

The only down side is that they didn't publish that award information in the catalog. Perhaps if they republish it they will fix that. But I still get the prize money.

And the QN people are being quite diligent in enforcing the prohibition on prior publication. One of the jurors told me that after they had made their final selections three pieces were eliminated because they had been published. QN hires researchers to search the web and print publications. Publishing on your own web site is allowed but no where else. If they found an image on another web site and it was there with the artist's permission, it was eliminated. I'm glad they're enforcing the rule because I know people have gotten by with it in the past.

Today is another event, the artists' and collectors' breakfast. Then more SAQA stuff, including a talk by the three QN jurors, Sue Benner, Ned Wert, and Katie Pasquini Masopust. I'm looking forward to that. It's always interesting to hear the back stories.

And as I walked around the room I was in awe that my work was hanging in this most famous location with all these wonderful pieces!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's time!

I can't believe it's finally here: the Quilt National opening, with my quilt in the show. We're driving out tomorrow to attend the SAQA Convention which starts on Thursday. There is a private reception open only to the QN artists on Friday, then the official opening, and then the banquet. The events of the SAQA convention and QN are sort of intermingled and I'm going to be missing some SAQA stuff. But this may be my only QN opening and I can always go to SAQA!

So now that the show is upon us, I'm posting my piece. It's titled Family Reunion and measures approximately 32" x 40".  The design is another in my windows series, but they're getting a lot more abstract and less like windows, which is okay. This piece has quite a variety of surface design techniques: in addition to dyeing, there is painting, screen printing and deconstructed screen printing, batik, monoprinting, paint splatter, and probably a few more things that I don't remember right now. The piece is heavily quilted with grid quilting and also parallel line quilting, which is a little more obvious in the detail shot.

Family Reunion ©2008

Gotta get back to packing! By the way, the catalog is already available on Amazon and I saw a copy last week. I think the color is a little off, but I'm thrilled to be in there. 

Friday, May 08, 2009


I go to the gym three times a week. It's a really nice gym with all kinds of weight training equipment, a huge selection of cardio machines, 4 swimming pools (including a whirlpool). It's always clean and since I go in the early afternoon, seldom crowded. It's also pretty expensive and I really wish that all I had to do was pay the money and I would automatically reap all the benefits. Apparently it doesn't work that way.  Anyhow, two of my workouts include resistance training with weights and all three have an hour's time on the elliptical trainer. The elliptical trainers at my gym have built in tv sets so I can watch a program while exercising. I plan my sessions so that I can watch Law and Order in its various incarnations or Without a Trace. It makes the time pass by more quickly. Except I wish that TNT and USA would get some new episodes, since I've pretty much seen all that they have.  I don't really look forward to doing these workouts but it's become a really strong habit and at this point I would have a difficult time giving it up.

I used to be a marathon runner and an aerobics instructor but I ruined my knees with all the pounding. I've run 6 marathons in my life, including the Boston Marathon. For those who aren't familiar with the marathon distance, it's 26.2 miles. In order to qualify to run in the Boston Marathon, I had to complete the distance in less than 3 1/2 hours, which I did. I did all this in my 20's and 30's and it's now been more than 25 years since I had to stop running. Sometimes I still miss it. I always watch the Olympic marathon and it gives me chills when the lead runner enters the stadium. 

So why am I blathering on about this stuff, probably more than you really wanted to know? Because I often wonder why I do this. It certainly isn't giving me the body of a fashion model. In fact, judging from the other bodies at the gym, I'm lucky I've got the body I have. Gravity and the aging process are merciless tyrants and all we can do is hold them off a little. I always think of the quote from the Red Queen in Lewis Carrolls's Through the Looking Glass. She says to Alice: "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"  That's how I feel - that I am running as fast as I can just to stay in the same place - watch the diet, take the medications, exercise regularly, wear a seat belt, yada yada yada. My doctor says I'm doing very well (although she leaves unsaid "for someone your age.")

Longevity is in my genes - my grandmother lived to nearly 100 and my mother is fast approaching 97. So I had better take good care of this body because I know I won't be getting another one. And I want to be able to watch my grandchildren grow up and have my great-grandchildren. And still be doing art.

Here is your reward for reading through all this - the azaleas in my back yard are nearly in full bloom.