The dictionary defines a connection as a relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else. I believe that there are far more things that unite quilters than that separate them. I’m sounding a bit like Carrie Bradshaw here (ok, in my own head!), but why do quilters need labels of any kind? Why is there a competition – which is as old as the revival itself – instead of a lifting up of all things quilting? The celebration of all things quilting (without labels) was what we attempted to do last month at the Connections Quilt Festival in Nashua.
We had antique quilts, hand quilts, modern quilts, art quilts, newbie quilts as well as quilts which have won awards – and at least one that was a magazine Cover Girl. We truly had something for everyone, and we had a lot of people come through the doors.
The quilting base in southern New Hampshire is very used to having a show at this time of year, and we were hoping that by reaching out (far and wide), they would come and find us. Our show was an open call for quilts of all kind – we didn’t set out to incorporate either a juried or judged process this year.
The response was fantastic,and several of the quilts illustrate links – whether they were across the miles, across the net or across the generations. There were a few antiques, and several handquilted as well…I always love to see that!
The show found many friends along the way, some in our own backyard, and others from across the quilting industry. One of our earliest friends was Mary Wilson Kerr – who I met first through Facebook, and then I had the opportunity to meet at the Maine show in person last summer. Through that connection, we were able to bring in the Dare to Dance Exhibit, a group of 30 art quilts made around a central theme. Marianne (the show’s founder) and I had the chance to travel to Market, just before Connections – and she and I had the chance to meet Mary there and congratulate her on her newest exhibit, Twisted.
In fact, keep reading…I have a giveaway opportunity for you this week! Mary donated an autographed copy of the book which accompanies Twisted to this blog. Twisted is an exhibit which showcases modern quilters paired with vintage quilts…and the book is eyecandy for quilters everyone. The information for how to win is listed at the bottom of this post.
We had wonderful support from the teaching community about our concept, and we are grateful for that feedback, even when tight timeframes made logistics difficult. Pat Delaney of Crabtree Lane Studio was our teacher this year, and she certainly set the standard for years to come.
Another set of friends of the show included the talented group of designers who work as Brand Ambassadors for Island Batik, along with me. Even with the crazy busy schedule we all have at this time of year, we were able to pull together an exhibit showcasing the indivual talents of the group. I have to say, I’ve met some of them personally, but most of them through the net only. Their quilts in person were absolutely amazing. If you didn’t get the chance to see the show in person, here’s a slide show of their quilts!
But what made this show so special to me was the support of the quilters from all avenues! They came, they shopped, they offered encouragement (and suggestions, we have a list!)…and they connected with each other. They were kind, respectful, generous (oh, my stars…thank you to each and every one who volunteered your time to help make this first show a success. It literally does take a village to pull something like this off! )
Our first show date fell over Veterans Day, and we reached out early to the Quilts of Valor organization to see if it was at all possible to have them with us. As it turns out, even though Veterans Day is their single biggest day for presentations in their calendar, they believed in us so much that they moved things around so that they could say yes.
This is the Mass Coordinator (and big ball of love) Darlene Coit making a presentation to John, the partner of one of our vendors. He had been around quilters a lot, but this came completely as a surprise to him. Very moving to witness.
There were many tales of connections that weekend – and I’m sure some I missed as I tended to the needs of the show. My name tag said Jane of All Trades (and trust me, it fits!). I can tell you that as I was witnessing one of the wrappings, I went over to offer a shoulder to his wife – it turns out she gave me a big hug – It’s me, Marian – from Facebook. One of my most active fans who I had never run into in real life. And yes, I have tons of those memories!
So wrapping this up, and putting the giveaway out there into the Universe. To win the autographed copy of Twisted, please leave a comment below answering the following: what is your favorite handmade holiday keepsake (it doesn’t have to be a quilt). I’ll select the winner and post it in a special blog post on Wednesday, December 21st.
In the meantime…there’s 13 days left – are you done yet?
Post edited on 12/18…I’ve added more swag to the giveaway
I’ve added two more items to this; winners will be picked from the comments below. The first item is a Threadcutterz, one of the hottest items when I went to Houston. This is the product that was pitched on Shark Tank; – it started life as a tacklebox item for fishermen, and was adapted to out industry. It’s great for travel, or for working with children – you can’t cut yourself with it, but you can sure cut your thread. One size, and one color fits all. I’ve been using mine since I got home.
And if you’re looking for some help designing your quilts – I have something for you as well – a set of QuilTiles, courtesy of Kits by Carla out of Monckton, VT. This is a great way to play with different shapes and colors, while sitting at a table instead of playing online…and like the thread cutter ring, it’s a great tool for working with children. It’s a great tool for expanding your designing techniques. I know you’ll enjoy working with this.
So, is Santa bringing you want you want?