Monday, June 30, 2008
I attended the Vermont Quilt Show last weekend. I went on the Brown bus tour. Daryl was on the same trip although I didn’t see her all day! The place was packed! You were literally elbowing your way into and out of the vendors’ booths. I was happy to see some familiar faces—“the boys” from Woodstock were there. I learned that everyone refers to them as “the boys”: it’s not a Betty Smith invention. There were lots of vendors; a good assortment of wild and ethnic fabric, traditional fabric, embroidery, buttons, quilting machines, threads, magazines...a little something for everyone. My lady from Handloom Batiks was there so I bought myself another of the batik shirts I like so much (I have 4 now!). I also bought one for my mother-in-law who liked mine so much she wanted one just like it! I went to the show looking for some plain black and some southwestern fabric and I found both. Of course, I couldn’t limit my purchases to just that! As always, I spent way more than I should have. Oh well... The quilts in the show were a mixed bunch. Carolyn Olsen was a featured quilter. Her art quilts are indeed stunning! “Anna Byrd: a life in quilts” was another separate show. She is someone who has been a participant in the Vermont Quilt Show since its inception. Ms Byrd tried every new trend that came along so her display was a nice little collection of quilt styles. The antique quilts were amazing and provided the only examples of hand quilting to be seen in the whole show. I was particularly drawn to a quilt made from thousands, maybe millions of little ½“ squares. There was a special display of fairy tale quilts which were very nice. These collections were all in the North building along with bunches of vendors. The South building had the main quilt show plus special exhibits by the teachers and a special collection by kids. I found the teachers collection to be unimpressive and uninspiring for the most part. The kids’ collection was cute and some of the quilts were great but frankly I think that kids’ quilts belong in local shows, not national shows. Maybe instead of presenting kids’ quilts as a bunch of quilts hanging in a row it should be presented as a whole information package of how to teach kids’ to quilt. That would be more useful to me anyway. As for the body of the quilt show: most of the quilts were quilted very heavily with lots of stippling. In my opinion many of them looked over-quilted and the heavy quilting didn’t add to the design. In a few cases it was used properly and truly added to the beauty of the quilt. But too much is definitely not better. There was also a lot of thread painting. Again, thread painting can be used to great effect but just having it on your quilt doesn’t necessarily make your quilt better. There were quite a few quilts made with tiny pieces—log cabins with very thin logs, etc., or a quilt built from very small pieced blocks. There were some quilts with swarovski crystals, sometimes used effectively and other times just stuck on with no apparent rhyme or reason. A few quilts with buttons but other than buttons, crystals, threadplay and a few with embroidery, there was very little embellishment. I attended only one of the vendors’ workshops. It was on designing with ethnic fabric. It was very short but she did give some helpful nuggets of information. They had 1 quilt each from some of the teachers for the 2009 show including pieces by Jane Sassamon and Paula Nadelstern both of whom do stunning work. A good time was had by all as always. I came home and went straight to bed for a long night’s sleep.