All of the ribbons were handmade by Elizabeth Hartman and they were definitely coveted! She did a beauty job with them and I'm thrilled to have one.
Photo credit: Stacey Murton, T-shirt that says "I touched a quilt and I liked it" by CatandVee
See that crazy, ridiculous grin? It was pretty hard to settle those cheeks down all weekend whenever anyone asked about Blackbird Fly or wanted a photograph with the quilt. I cannot tell you how incredible it felt to have this quilt recognized by the three talented judges, each of whom I admire (Carolyn Friedlander, Janine Vangool and Stevii Graves) . This quilt is the very first one that I set out to make just for myself, after more than 10 years of quilting for others. It has a tremendous amount of meaning to me, so I loved it from the start.
Winning first place in the Use of Negative Space category was a surprise for sure. The quilts were categorized by the judges, not the makers. We simply entered them and they were placed into categories. Here are a few things I learned through winning this prize:
- You do some of your the best work when you work for yourself, not to anyone else's specifications, rules or schedules. Caveat: I've done some of my favourite work for challenges.
- Aside from the top and bottom cream borders, all of the background surrounding the letters is negative space. I hadn't thought of that before. I chose the fabrics very deliberately so that the words would require thoughtful deciphering. One of the judges commented that the final design had an "effortless-ness" about it. I love that.
- When one door closes, another one opens. CQA did not jury this quilt into their national show last year because "I needed to go back and hone my quilting skills", "the fabrics chosen could have been higher contrast so that the quilt was easier to read" and "the design could have been placed better for maximum visual impact when the quilt was on a bed". Also, they wouldn't let me enter it into the Modern category because I'd used a pattern for the letter templates (Denyse Schmidt's Proverbial Quilt pattern). I'm so happy the MQG jury saw this quilt differently.
- Referring to #3 above, there is a definite need and relevance for the Modern Quilt Guild and QuiltCon. I used to resist, thinking that we should all just be quilters and our work didn't need labelling or definition based on a prescribed aesthetic. However after attending the show, I can honestly say I get it now. Standing in the middle of that vast exhibition hall, looking to my left and right, every quilt I saw was a treat for my eyes. Every one. That doesn't happen for me at traditional shows anymore. It isn't because I don't like or respect traditional quilting at all, I'm just ready for an update and a fresh approach.
Photo Credit: Felicity Ronaghan
Further evidence of non-stop grinning. This is Jim Kaldenberg, part owner of APQS , American Professional Quilting Systems, and sponsor of my generous prize. I was so happy that he was at the show and that I could thank him in person for his support of the MQG.
For a great overview post on the other prize-winning quilts from QuiltCon 2015, have a look here.
I'll just share one more sweet story with you now. My quilt was hanging directly across from the Steady Betty booth, where the proprietress' husband Gerald watched people looking at my quilt for 4 days. Gerald approached me on Saturday and wanted to tell me that he had so enjoyed watching people scan the quilt from left to right, working out the words and suddenly when the song dawned on them, breaking into a happy smile. Don't worry, I hugged him. Then I hugged him again when he said he'd never in his life been to a show "quite like this one" and all he could think about was going home and making his second quilt. I can't be sure, but I think Reginald is on the sunset side of 65 and he's definitely a good 'ole Texas boy. I hope I get to see him again at Spring Market.