Saturday, December 10, 2011

Quilt Journeys: Three Quilters

The new exhibit featuring work of three quilters is now open at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY.  My quilts are part of this exhibit that shows the journey we all take as we travel through this grand adventure of quiltmaking, shown above.   It will run through March 13, 2012.

When I was invited to participate in this exhibit, although so honored, I was very reluctant to show my early work.  Then I decided the entire point was to allow the viewer to see up close the beginnings, the flickers of inspiration along the way, the development of techniques and skills, which allowed art and ideas to be expressed in cloth by the final quilts that are shown. 

It is a huge honor to have my work showcased at the National Quilt Museum, and I hope many of you can see this exhibit and be inspired in your own quilting journeys, by my work and the quilts of two other quilters.

Included are some of my very first quilts, done mostly with a walking foot and invisible thread.  My early free motion work is there, and the beginnings of the kind of quilting I love to do now show up in all the quilts, but the techniques and machine skills definitely improve as the quilts progress. 

"Through a Glass, Darkly:  An American Memory" is in the exhibit, my NQA Masterpiece quilt, and probably my favorite quilt.  It is a log cabin design, and I made it to work in color exploration, and it showcases my original free motion quilting designs as well.  I never tire of this quilt, and I hope you enjoy seeing it in person.  Below, after winning a Master Award at Houston, 2001.

Other smaller wall quilts are there, "Sixteen Baskets of Mud," "Rabbit in Green," "Mourning Too Soon" from the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. 

October Morning, 2000
Detail, below

"October Morning" was the last quilt I made with trapunto, cotton batt, and invisible thread, many original designs and some stencil designs still, and with a tiny amount of applique (broderie perse) in the center, that I had to do as the quilt needed it.  It is a Delectable Mountains traditional pattern.

Please read about the exhibit on the website of the National Quilt Museum, to get all the details.  The other two quilters are Doreen Speckmann (also from Wisconsin) and Dorris McManis, and I know you will enjoy their quilts as well. 

I've been busy fussing with my quilting with Sparkle thread.  It is going well, but I SO definitely prefer quilting with #100 silk!  Soon the designs will be finished and my background work will be so relaxing, because it will be back to my #60 Sharp needle and #100 silk thread, smooth curves, no crunchy sound as the needle backtracks over stitches (eek), and faster quilting, definitely.  However, it does look pretty nice. 

One night I was having shredding issues, and switched to a new Jersey needle from a different pack and all was well. 

Oliver has sneaked in twice to bite the thread as it comes off the spool while I am quilting.  I did not see him.  He goes behind the cabinet, jumps up on my right, and before I know it, either wet thread is coming through or the thread is chewed in half, the needle breaks, I scream, cat runs off, door is firmly closed. 

Two nights ago a small spring fell out of the machine but I am forging on as it doesn't affect much except the presser foot lever.  It's now a bit wobbly and limp.  Onward!

Oliver has been banished from my room.  How he opened the door twice I do not know.  He is a clever boy.

Relax a bit during this hectic time of year.  For me, that is an hour or so of quilting in my room, door closed, lights on, music playing.  It does wonders for you.

If you learn anything at all from my exhibit at the museum it is that I did keep quilting, and yes, my work did get better!
Happy Holidays,



Joannag said...

Dear Diane,

Congratulations on your show. What an honor to be presenting your work at this prestigious quilt museum! How I wish I could see it in person. So enjoyed seeing your work in Seattle several years ago.

I'm such a fan of your work. Taking your class in Seattle in 2008 was so much fun and I learned so much. I thank you!!

Joanna Guglielmino

corina said...

Congratulations Diane! A well deserved honor. I showed a nonquilter friend of mine your blog. When she saw the beautiful work you do she said "If I could produce something 1/100th as beautiful I would be in heaven". She is signing up for beginner quilt classes in January! Happy Holidays!

Michele Bilyeu said...

Congratulations to you, Diane! I think it says so much about you that you did showcase your earlier quilts, as well!

And as an AAQI quilt volunteer, I am so delighted that you included 3 of your Alzheimer's quilts in the show...wonderful of you to create in the first place.... and even more special to have them in this show!!!

Diane Gaudynski said...

Joanna, thanks! I loved teaching in Seattle and am so glad I had the chance to travel there.

Corina, what a wonderful thing your friend said, and now she is taking classes, terrific. The exhibit shows that we all begin at that level, and work and struggle to become better, something that is a continuing process. I was so surprised to look at those early quilts of mine and see work that was not nearly as good as my beginning students can do in class now.

Michele - thanks! I thought it was a good way to bring attention to AAQI in a small way, but there is only one quilt there from the original exhibit that travelled for three years, "Mourning Too Soon." It was auctioned off to raise funds for the initiative, and the owner graciously allowed it to be part of this exhibit.

Louise Orwell said...

Hi Diane
The show looks amazing - hope it is a great success.
I have just looked up 'Mourning Too Soon' - and was really moved by it - what a beautiful piece. I would be interested to look up the other pieces you made for the original exhibit - can you tell me the quilt names or where I can look for images. My mother has dementia and is in a nursing home at the moment - so 'Mourning Too Soon' seems especially poignant to me
Best Wishes Louise

Marty Bryant said...

Diane, you continue to teach us with exhibits like this. The classes we take are great, but we continue to learn even after taking your classes. Continuing to see your work displayed, especially from your earlier work helps even advanced students. And, love, love, love the Oliver information. My little one likes to reach in under the arm and grab me while I stitch, kind of scarey but at least she's not eating my thread. OMG!

Diane Gaudynski said...

Louise, the other quilt I did for the AAQI exhibit is part of the new touring exhibit. They are all the same, signature quilts - names signed on shades of purple fabric in long strips, and quilted by volunteers.

As a group they have a huge impact, names and names in purple as far as you can see. As I quilted each one I gave it a new design and tried to think what that person might have liked. It was heart breaking but uplifting at the same time, a way to honor them and remember them and show the world what this disease has done. I thank all of you for contributing to this initiative; the money raised from it is working hard to help find a cure.

Marty, that is a great way of looking at this exhibit, as a teaching/learning experience too. The museum's curator mentioned to me that so many visit and ask if these quilters ever were beginners and how did they ever get to this level, so the concept was born to show the journeys from beginning work to current museum-level quilts. I also did a brief video interview that is available to watch.

And don't our cats keep quilting interesting? I think it has now become an extreme sport with Oliver in the wings! He LOVES being in my room, it's the ultimate cat experience.

Anonymous said...

Diane, congratulations on your show. So glad you included your earlier work, my artist friend always said to keep your early work as it's always good to look back and see where you have come from. It's also good for other to see how you can progress, maybe not to your level but at least to improve as you continue to work and evolve. Look forward to seeing the exhibit. Linda Ross, Lake Saint Louis

Deborah said...

I just signed up to go to the museum in January with a guild group. Your work is beautiful and I look forward to seeing them in person.

Martha said...

It's wonderful Diane! How exciting to have your work shown in this exhibit. You have been such an inspiration to me in encouraging my machine quilting skills through your books, and now others have the opportunity to see your work up close. If I lived closer, I would be there!! Contratulations!!

Mary said...

Congratulations for having your work exhibited at the museum in Paducah! I have been a long time admirer of yours, as well as Doreen's. Your quilting is very inspirational.

I just remembered that I have some of Doreen's fabric, and will have to get them placed in a proper quilt.

From a fellow Wisconsin native, thanks!

Kay Lynne said...

Congratulations Diane! Your work is beautiful! Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

Linda in NC said...

Diane, I was thrilled when driving from NC to Kansas City for Christmas when my husband mentioned that we'd be passing Paducah and did I want to stop? Well, duh! When we arrived, I discovered your quilts were being showcased. After seeing your quilts in person, all I can say is "Wow!" I am so happy that you hung some of your early work; it was inspirational to see your progression plus wonderful to see "old friends" that I only knew from pictures in past publications. Congratulations.