It's taken me a few weeks to get my thoughts in order, so here we are! My solo exhibition of 20 original quilts opened at the Quilt and Sewing Fest of New Jersey, a Mancuso show, from March 2-5, and it was a crazy, out-of-body experience.
I've had the thrill of seeing my quilts in shows before, but it was totally surreal to walk up to the section featuring just my work. Sometimes, it felt like I was walking naked into a room because, quite honestly, it was like baring my soul to the world (okay, I was also wearing a faculty name tag so some figured out that I was the artist pretty fast, haha). But excitement overcame mild trepidation.
Today, I have some thoughts about the show. If you have further questions, just let me know in an email or comment!
I taught classes at Quilt Fest on Thursday and Friday, and I spent most of my free time that weekend showing the exhibit to family and friends who came to visit (thank you so much for your unending support!). So many of my guild members came to see the show and I had the pleasure of bumping into them and/or walking around with them. My family helped me pack up everything when all was said and done. It was truly a team effort!
My dad and I, before take down. He's so supportive (he even reads my quilting newsletter, though he has zero interest in quilting beyond my love for it). :)
Speaking of parents, my totally-into-quilts-already-has-several-of-her-own-but-wants-more mom got in on this one! :)
My best friend/former college roommate and her mom visited! I love this picture of us (we don't take nearly enough anymore, partially because we don't see each other too often).
How could I choose which 20 quilts to put in the show? Well, there was some criteria. First, I decided to stick to original designs, which is most of my work (that was the easy part). It had to be something considerably show-worthy (everyone has those first couple years of quilts they want to redo, right?). Now, I am NOT a show quilter and I embrace imperfection (especially in stitch length - see that explanation here), but I still wanted the quilts to be technically sound.
Finally, I chose quilts that seem to most embody "me": saturated, bold colors, unique free motion and walking foot quilting, quilted words, and orange peels. I wrote more about how I prepared for the exhibit itself here.
It was such a pleasure to meet so many of you at the show!
Thank you for your support and for saying hi!
While I was near my quilts, I overheard some of the things people were saying. I heard one lady telling her group that she would need a special machine to do quilting like mine (I really wanted to go up and tell her that it's totally possible on a domestic machine, because that's how I do all my quilting! ;) ).
People tell me that my quilts have a style, and only now, with so many of them hung up together, did I really understand that. Often, your work, as varied as it may be in color, shape, and quilting, can be one and the same. It was a really interesting concept to contemplate that weekend.
So, I've been asked - what's happened as a result of the show? I shared my work with the world, outside of the internet and guild meetings - which was really exciting. I've booked several classes and lectures since, and received encouraging and humbling emails. All my quilts are now show-ready for other engagements or just for hanging up in my house (labelled and quilt sleeved), so I'll call that a huge win on my end. :) Thank you again to the Mancuso staff and Quilt Fest for this amazing opportunity!
I'll be back later in the week with a full tour of the exhibit with more comments and links to each quilt. It would have made this post super extra mega long!