Shifts: Quilters who stitch are stitchers who quilt.

This shift paradigm that I’m in is taking me to unexpected places…and I do mean that literally. This past weekend, I wound up flying into Nashville to work at the Nashville Needlework Market, which is sort of equivalent to Quilt Market in the quilting world. Nashville must be exhausted after having hosted QuiltCon the week before this, but this show has a flair and a flavor all it’s own.

This kind of scene was repeated all weekend. I wanted to join them.

I quickly learned it’s a bit like traveling to Spain but speaking French. It’s very similar – and very different to the quilt world. The kindness, the generosity of greeting a newbie (on her own) and welcoming her made me feel very welcome. But for someone who’s trade show experiences are mostly based on expo and convention centers, this was far more intimate. It was in a large hotel in Nashville. There is a lot, it turns out, to be said for southern hospitality.

How did I get here? A lot of my work in the past 6 months has been with a company called Global Artisans Designs, and it does a lot of vending throughout the country, covering both retail shows and wholesale shows. Global Artisans imports absolutely wonderful threads from Africa in a variety of weights. It actively supports Fair Trade Practices, which makes it especially attractive to me. This weekend, there were two shows at the same time, so I took the wholesale show in Nashville. This was an opportunity to speak directly with the shop owners and designers who love the brand and support it, and others who were intrigued.

My biggest takeaway from this is a new vantage point on our creative people. They really don’t exist in a vacuum. They are quilters who stitch and stitchers who quilt. The stitching universe has one distinct advantage over the quilters, and that’s that they don’t have to deal with a large volume of fabric.

I tend to make a lot of smaller quilting projects, and I’ve recently worked on getting two large ones to my longarmers. I can appreciate a smaller project, for sure. Their one disadvantage is the need to do closework on highly detailed designs – as we age, our ability to see work closeup has seriously declined. At least mine has.

Note: I’m writing this in an airport (Baltimore) this afternoon, as I am waiting for my connecting flight to Manchester. So this is going to be a two part blog post – next week’s will run next Monday, March 11th.

For more information about Global Aritsan’s Designs, please drop me a line and I’ll be happy to help you out.

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