Monday, March 12, 2012

Southport Congregational Church Quilt Show, 2012

I've spent the last week kind of noodling this post around in my head, because it feels like there's so much to it. Those of you who have been reading since last year may remember that I attended this show with my grandmother last year, too. (If you missed those posts, take a second to go back and browse--there were some really incredible pieces!) Southport Congregational Church has been putting on this quilt show, Fabrics and Fabrications, since 2003, and it is hosted and run entirely by community volunteers. The proceeds go to Emerge, Make a Wish and Project Learn. This year's show hosted over 150 quilts and quilted objects, and the theme was "Reuse, Recycle, Rejoice!". There was a huge showing of scrap quilts, as you'll see, as well as a special exhibit of art made from found or repurposed items. The special exhibit was super-crowded, and I didn't manage to get many photos of it, unfortunately.

The day was overcast and kind of dreary, which meant that there wasn't the same stained-glass glow lighting the quilts in the sanctuary as last year. The lights were turned all the way up, but some of the photos still feel a little dark--my apologies! I also didn't get a chance to take as many pictures this year--last year, my grandmother had brought her cane, but chose not to walk very far, and sat at the entrance of the sanctuary while I ran around and ooh-ed and ahh-ed and snapped photos. This year, she'd brought her wheeled walker, and I believe I might have used the term "heck on wheels" more than once. She's a speed demon with what she calls her "jeep". So I didn't get as many photos as last year, and therefore chose to keep this as one post.

There were LOTS of scrap quilts this year, and they ranged from antique to contemporary, traditional to modern. Actually, you'll see that there are quite a few more modern quilts this year than last, something one of the volunteers mentioned while talking to a reporter from the local paper as we walked through the chapel display (the chapel's pretty small, I swear I wasn't eavesdropping...much). It was cool to see that shift in the show quilts in just a year's time!

Finally, I will say that there were a few issues with the program this year, so I will share what I can that I think is accurate. I'm also linking out where I can--I'm not receiving any compensation or incentive to do so, just so this is all above board!

This first is a star sampler using a Connecting Threads pattern, using fat quarters. It was finished in 2010 by Pat Cole, machine quilted by Butler Country Crafts, Clyde Park, Montana.

This Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt was hand-pieced, -appliqued and -quilted. I don't think I've ever been to a quilt show that didn't feature a hexagon quilt! There's a reason we're all obsessed with these all over again, I think--they're so timeless. We might not use seafoam green borders if making one today, but if you didn't include that, you could easily be looking at something a modern quilter might create today.

Log cabin variations were very well represented this year. This one was made in 2008, machine pieced and quilted.
This next was made in the 1930s, and was machine pieced on a Singer treadle sewing machine, then hand-quilted. Many of the fabrics were flour and feed sacks. I could have honestly looked at this one all day.

Another log cabin quilt, hand pieced and quilted, finished in 1998.

I kind of love the crazy scrappiness of this next one. It was made sometime before 1920, according to its family pedigree, and is just a flimsy (an unquilted, unbacked quilt top). It was hand-pieced by the owner's grandmother and great aunts. I really kind of have to wonder why it has gone unfinished for nearly 100 years. What happened? That's one for Jennifer Chiaverini to write about, huh?

This next one I totally fell in love with. I love Ocean Waves, though the thought of so many little HSTs gives me pause. It's a bucket-list pattern for me. This one is a quilt that obviously saw lots of hard use and was well loved over the years--you can see that some of the fabric triangles are worn clean through to the batting in some places. The program says 1922, and was made by the same women as the quilt above. Can't you just see a group of sisters sitting and hand-piecing triangles every night? This one went into the owner's grandmother's wedding trousseau. I love the stories behind these.

This four patch had pride of place on one of the front pews. Unfortunately, this is one that the program sort of doesn't agree with the number, so it will go down as the mystery 4-patch.

And now we start seeing some of the modern-feeling quilts. This one, made in 2006 by Richard Killeaney (a local CT quilter), is machine pieced and quilted, using 13 men's dress shirt fabrics (some over dyed with natural dyes). The back and batting are organic cotton. As a side note, there was a second quilt made in a similar style by Mr. Killeaney in red and white fabrics from recycled men's shirts. Unfortunately, I could not get a photo where that one did not read as sort of muddy pink! Could not do it justice, sorry Mr. Killeaney!

This next is also one of Mr. Killeaney's quilts, and I really wish I'd gotten a better picture. Called "Design Elements", it represents different elements of quilt design, including photocopies on some of the fabric of paper piecing designs. The creme color represents masking tape. This quilt was made in 2003.

Can you tell yet that I seriously love Richard Killeaney's design aesthetic? This 2008 Zig Zag quilt is another of his designs, made from 13 different men's shirts, with a linen backing and organic batting. May I say that the linen backing gave this quilt the coolest drape? I didn't touch, but I did ask one of the gloved volunteers working there to show me. I just love the neutrals, the echo quilting, the giant zig-zags. It honestly made my heart go pitter-pat!

Numbers 130 and 75 in the next two pictures were both made by one of the lovely ladies my grandmother and I lunched with that day, Charlotte Matthews. I'm particularly enamored of this first one, with the almost pixelated edges and neutrals mixed with just a couple of pops of color. Her process on this was to copy a photograph onto graph paper, then determining colors and sewing it together using just squares. It is called Leaves in Pond Ice. I can see it, can you?

Charlotte's other quilt, #75, was a scrappy throw to cheer up a friend. I was also taken with #74 beside it--do you see the wonky piecing? Me, too!

And finally, can you guess who made #46?

If you guessed Richard Killeaney, you'd be right! I have to say, I didn't look up anything in the program until after I got home, so this was all purely by what spoke to me. This piece was Mr. Killeaney's RISD thesis, machine pieced and appliqued, lined with flannel.

I hope you enjoyed my little highlights tour of the show--I'm very excited to attend a second show here in CT next month, the bi-annual Connecticut Piecemaker's Quilt Guild show, A Spring Shower of Quilts. The madman was nice enough to accompany me at the last show, two years ago. I'll be interested to see if there's a shift toward more modern quilts in this show after two years, especially since seeing such a shift at the Southport show.

What's inspiring you these days?

1 comment:

Stray Stitches (Linda G) said...

So many wonderful quilts at the show. Thanks for sharing :)