Posts Tagged ‘Quilt National’

Here is some real fun.

At the opening of Quilt National, the pre-eminent art quilt show at the Dairy Barn, Athens, Ohio, each artist who had a piece in the show and was in attendance got to give a 2 minute presentation about her piece. I was there, and noticed the videographers,  setting up and making a video of each presentation. The date was May 23, 2015, at the Dairy Barn Art Center, Athens, Ohio.

I found the finished product more or less by accident the other day, a film by Gary J Kirksley.

Watching them is a wonderful entry into that artist’s mind, and a good way to remember her work.

I’ll give you links to some of them. There are many more which struck me for various reasons.  And you can continue with any of the links to see more of the 2 minute videos.


Deidre Adams has the stamp of intelligence all over her work. Knowledge, and who gets it and how it is withheld from others is the theme of Disruption, 55 x 98”

Deidre Adams Disruption


Betty Busby I include for the sheer innovation of her shaped piece, inspired by her years as a potter. Plus she is an exuberant soul! Tribute, 65 x 20 x 18”.

Betty Busby Tribute


Daren Pitts Redman really blows me away with her piecing. Her work is so very different from mine, and sometimes that is what attracts me. Her piece is called Glorious Summer, 42 x 70”.


Diane Nunez had the most unusual quilt in the show called Cross Section, 34 x 34 x 1″. And yes, she does explain why this is a quilt.


Kathleen Loomis simply astounds me with her huge, beautiful, carefully planned out “Entropy,” 71 x 85.”

Kathleen Loomis Entropy

And finally I include Kristin La Flamme because I love her political explanation for why she chose the quilt medium, and the thought behind the piece itself, ‘Murica, 52 x 97”

Kristin La Flamme 'Murica
Enjoy! I hope you learn from these too.


When Art Quilts first burst upon the scene in the 1970’s, most artists followed the convention used in traditional quilts of using a border for their work.  See Michael James, Blue Nebula, 1979.

Soon however they were interrupting the border, using it as a design element, or otherwise changing its function as a “frame” for the quilt.

Most recently, the style is to dispense with it altogether, or keep a ¼” binding only. The edges may be bound to the back, stitched, or even left raw.  Any of these methods allow the image to go all the way to the edges.

What I usually do is either bind to the back, or use a hand embroidery stitch called “Blanket Stitch” all the way around the piece.

Here are some examples of various treatments, some from the 2015 Quilt National show, a major style setter.


Deidre Adams, disruption, 55 x 98″, detail. Note the irregular bottom edge. Quilt National, 2015.

In the Morning I am So Tall detail of corner


Jane Dunnewold, Grandmother’s Flower Garden 1, 40 x 62″ Note the irregular edge on the left. Quilt National, 2015.


Theresa May, For All the World to See, 85 x 89 inches. Note the simple 1/4″ binding that does not create a visual stopping point for the image.

Dawn Nebula Michael James 1979_Page_8

Michael James, Dawn Nebula, 1979. Note the border. This was one of the conventions that quilters picked up from traditional quilts. 1979 was very early in the Art Quilting universe.


Barbara Schneider, Line Dance, Tree Ring Patterns, var. 11, 30 x 80″ Note the irregular edges everywhere! Quilt National, 2015.

I made my first visit to Quilt National, the “Academy Awards” for Studio Quilt Artists.

Quilt National was started by Nancy Crow and others because art quilts were not being accepted into traditional quilting shows. It premiered in 1979.

First Art Quilts rocked the world of traditional quilts, then artists continues to innovate and expand the definition of “a quilt.”

Quilt National’s definition is more conservative that SAQA’s (Studio Art Quilt Associates).

Here are both of them:

Quilt National: It must be predominantly fabric or fabric-like material and must be composed of at least two full and distinct layers — a face layer and a backing layer — that are held together by hand- or machine-made functional quilting stitches or other elements that pierce all layers and are distributed throughout the surface of the work.

SAQA defines an art quilt as “a creative visual work that is layered and stitched or that references this form of stitched layered structure.”

While staying within the narrower QN definition, some of the innovation was toward more 3 dimensional work. For example Diane Nύñez cleverly used fabric strips, altered and quilted, strung on aluminum tubing like abacus beads. It isn’t on her website yet, but there is a similar one.

Ever innovative, Betty Busby formed her quilt into the shape of a Chinese ginger jar for a full sculpture.

Betty’s isn’t on her website yet either,  but here are some other of her vessels  While you’re there, check out her whole website.  It, and she, are bursting with life, color and energy.

Both piecing and applique continue to be popular. I don’t know if there is MORE hand stitching this year, but what there was really popped out for me. Helen Geglio’s “Femoral Fracture: A Fall” was a piece she stitched by hand as she sat with her mom for hours after a fall and hip fracture.

Here is a detail I took (sorry Helen if this isn’t legal, but I couldn’t help myself . . .)

Helen Geglio detail crop

Another piece that blew me away was Diedre Adams’ “disruption.” Here is her list of materials: Commercial cottons, acrylic paint, paper from various sources: dictionaries, text books, maps, sheet music,novels, and other found materials.  Machine stitched, hand painted, layered papers peeled and torn.

I have been using papers too, and was so happy to meet and speak to Diedre. This piece is somewhat similar, and on her website.

And this was a detail I took of “disruption,” again with my apologies, Diedre. Diedre Adams detail

As a political statement, I thought Kristin La Flamme’s “‘Murica” was very powerful. She says, “Part of my Security Blanket series, this flag expresses America’s obsession with guns as a (false) sense of safety and comfort.”

And, thank you Kristin — the picture IS on her website.

Judy Kirpich’s “Conflict No. 6/ Mugging” was inspired by a personal tragedy. Darn, I can’t find a website for her. The quilt is big (77 x 60”), and black, white and grey with red bars about two thirds of the way down, referencing how her daughter was cut in a mugging. She pieces everything — which I have never learned to do well!

Finally I want to mention Patricia Kennedy-Zafred’s “Tagged.” It has personal meaning for me as my best childhood friend is Japanese-American, and her family experienced this black mark on American history first hand.

Here is the image, on her website.

A number of pieces are a little smaller this year.  I guess collectors’ wall spaces are filling up with this wonderful art.  I was glad to see a more manageable scale represented, as I find it hard to work really big.

Here is Quilt National’s website:  The show is a biennial, so the next one will be in 2017. This time I am going to submit!