“Where have I seen that quilt?” Sometimes, the most familiar quilts are the ones we know the least about. That is true for many quilters who have seen this image promoting the first-ever quilt competition sponsored by Quilting Daily.
Our magazines have been promoting the competition, “Pieces of the Past” for a few months now and the entries are rolling in. Here’s a tip: Now is a great time to enter! Entries received before June 1 qualify for the early bird rate. When we were choosing the theme, tradition was the first word that came to mind. Why? Because it is represented in the work of every quilter, no matter the genre they work in.
The quilts used in the promotions for the competition were made by Margaret Abramshe, a contributor to Quilting Arts Magazine. The following is an excerpt from her Spotlight article in the February/March 2020 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine.
“I have always been an artist, but it wasn’t until I found art quilting that I really found my place in the art world.”
After joining that local art quilt guild and subscribing to Quilting Arts, I began making small art quilts. My guild sponsored a small critique group where I gained a greater understanding of the medium. Each month that incubator of creativity met, offering demonstrations of techniques and feedback for members’ work in progress. Within a couple of years, I was making work accepted into local venues.
As I gained confidence, I also became aware of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA). Initially, I joined SAQA in order to be eligible for juried exhibitions at quality venues. After retiring from teaching, I attended the SAQA conference in spring 2015. At that event, I committed myself to creating a professional-quality portfolio of art quilts. My first step was to work with a mentor. My mentor guided me as I created a portfolio, wrote an artist statement, and assembled a resume. At the end of a year, I was successfully admitted as a Juried Artist Member of SAQA.
Since then my portfolio has grown but my process and my underlying theme is consistent.
My process starts with a digital image. I use photo manipulation software to enhance or create a new composition. The digital file is sent to a commercial fabric printer. When the fabric arrives in my studio, I use a variety of materials including dyes, pigment sticks, and paints directly on the cloth. Some of my quilts include hand-carved stamps and fused fabric. As I quilt through the cloth, batting, and backing, I am drawing with thread to create a rich and visually exciting surface texture.
My work is an exploration of an underlying story. At the beginning of developing my portfolio I focused my attention on family photographs. I now have expanded to cell phone images from my travels and selfies my adult daughter shares with me. The photographs jog my memory. As I work with these images, I am reliving an event or reconsidering a relationship or period of my life. It provides me a never-ending well of inspiration.
Since creating that initial portfolio of art quilts, I have focused on submitting my work to exhibitions. To date, I have been in almost 40 exhibitions. My quilts have been seen in galleries and museums nationally and internationally.
My appreciation of the scope of the art quilt world has changed dramatically. Art quilting had been moving into the realm of ‘serious’ art since the ‘Abstract Design in American Quilts’ exhibition at The Whitney in 1971. Today, there are active collectors, serious programs for academic study, professional teachers, workshops, organizations, and global exhibitions in galleries and museums. It is a privilege to be working in this discipline that will continue to thrive in an expanding community of artists.”
I loved reading Margaret’s story because it emphasizes that no matter how or when you start quilting, the act of pulling a needle and thread through fabric is creative and life affirming. I hope you are working on your competition quilts now and I can’t wait to share the winners with our readers!
Vivika Hansen DeNegre
Quilting has always been an art form that commemorates milestones, honors our collective heritage, and celebrates defining moments. Our craft is steeped in history and rich with artistry. It enriches our lives, feeds our souls, and warms our hearts. The “Pieces of the Past” theme can be broadly interpreted by the maker as a literal or abstract concept and applies to all quilting techniques and styles. Modern traditional quilts also fit the theme, as do contemporary art quilts that reference the past while being firmly planted in the 21st century.
This competition has been created to honor the heritage of quilting and quiltmakers by featuring outstanding quilts made within the last three years that echo these themes. As an avid quilter, this competition is for you! This is the opportunity of a lifetime. Enter today!