QuiltCon: Panels and Patchwork

Guest post by Linzee McCray

Vanessa Christensen class "Working with Ombre Fabrics", student work

Vanessa Christensen class "Working with Ombre Fabrics", student work

For day two of QuiltCon, I wasn’t up for the 7:45 a.m. yoga session, but did enjoy the Maker to Making a Living panel at 9 a.m. on Friday. Four industry professionals whose experience ranged from a few to 40 years shared their career paths, their aspirations vs. the reality of “making it” in the quilt industry, and the challenges of small-business ownership. While each panelist (Denyse Schmidt, Mary Fons, Heather Givans, and Brenda Groelz) looks for personal fulfillment and a life filled with making things, they acknowledged that making money to pay the rent (or “buy the kitties food” as moderator Jacqueline Sava called it) was of equal importance. I loved hearing these women riff off one another’s comments and acknowledge the satisfactions, but also the hard, hard work that goes into making careers like theirs happen.

Panel: Maker to Making a Living

Panel: Maker to Making a Living

Next up was one of my favourite lectures: Modern Materials: Quilts of the 1970s with Bill Volckening. This Portland resident found his first quilt rolled up under a table in an antique store and though he didn’t buy it at first, he couldn’t get it out of his mind and returned for it. He was initially seduced by the colors of the quilts of this era, but also became intrigued by the fabrics themselves—Dacron, polyester, and some quilting cottons—and the context in which they were stitched. (He compared one quilt to the painted bus used by The Partridge Family.) A number of quilts from his collection are on the show floor, so it’s possible to admire them in person. They’re pretty wild.

Log Cabin medallion, unknown maker, c.1975 from the Bill Volkening Collection

Log Cabin medallion, unknown maker, c.1975 from the Bill Volkening Collection

Tile Blocks, unknown maker c.1977 from the Bill Volkening Collection

Tile Blocks, unknown maker c.1977 from the Bill Volkening Collection

Woven pattern, unknown maker c.1979 from the Bill Volkening Collection

Woven pattern, unknown maker c.1979 from the Bill Volkening Collection

Grandmothers's Fans, unknown maker c.1979 from the Bill Volkening Collection

Grandmothers's Fans, unknown maker c.1979 from the Bill Volkening Collection

At noon I gave a talk about UPPERCASE and expanded on the story I wrote about feed sacks for issue #24. Audience members ranged from people who had never heard of feed sacks to two women who had worn feed sack underwear as children. I shared a photo of a doily crocheted from the strings used to hold feed sacks shut and an audience member recalled a relative knitting a pair of socks from the strings she’d saved.  Another pulled the loveliest piece of feed sack material from her purse—the pink, grey, and gold apples had such a contemporary feel.

Feed sack example shared by an audience member.

Feed sack example shared by an audience member.

All day long I ran into people who wanted to talk—about quilts, about feed sacks, about fabric, about a quilt they’d seen on the exhibition floor. Those conversations are the real highlights of QuiltCon. Even after the convention center doors closed for the day, Austin was full of people talking about textiles in hotel lobbies and over dinner and drinks. The quilts and the lectures and the workshops provide fodder for getting a conversation started, but the shared love of stitching keeps them going.

Meet UPPERCASE's QuiltCon 2015 Correspondent, Linzee McCray

Alas, I can't be in two places at once, so while I'm over here in Australia, Linzee McCray is in Austin experiencing QuiltCon and will be our correspondent on the scene. -Janine

Linzee McCray

Linzee McCray

Greetings! Linzee McCray, here. I’m a quilter, knitter, embroiderer, and a former weaver and spinner. I’m also a long-time writer and editor who’s had the good fortune to focus on textiles, fiber, and craft for nearly a decade. So I’m especially excited about covering QuiltCon 2015 for UPPERCASE.

I pitched my first modern quilting story in 2009, when I noticed that while traditional quilt guilds had been around for decades, blogs and Flickr were changing the status quo. If modern quilters—those interested in functional quilts influenced by modern design—couldn’t find like-minded sewists down the street, they sought them out online. In January, 2009, Jacquie Gering’s virtual quilting bee, Project Improv, drew 225 participants via her Tallgrass Prairie Studios blog. In October of that same year, the first Modern Quilt Guild meeting took place in Los Angeles. Quilters from geographically diverse regions, including Denyse Schmidt on America’s East Coast and Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr in the Midwest, were designing quilts with a modern feel, too. All this coincided with a rising interest in handmade goods and DIY.

Linzee's string-pieced quilt

Linzee's string-pieced quilt

Not surprisingly, fabric-lovers are a tactile bunch, and the opportunity to both touch quilts and meet face-to-face with other quilters spurred the growth of the Modern Quilt Guild. Today, there are more than 100 groups around the world, as well as many individual members. In 2013, the Modern Quilt Guild organized the very first QuiltCon in Austin, Texas, to bring many of them together.

Mod Nine Patch Pattern by Elizabeth Dackson, pieced by Linzee.jpg

Mod Nine Patch Pattern by Elizabeth Dackson, pieced by Linzee.jpg

I missed that first QuiltCon, which is why I’m especially looking forward to this year’s speakers, workshops, and exhibitions. If you can’t make it, I’ll share some of the excitement and eye candy with you.

Vintage feed sack crazy quilt

Vintage feed sack crazy quilt

If you will be attending, I hope to say hello in person. In addition, I’ll be doing a demo on Friday at 12 noon in Exhibit Hall B, sharing information about UPPERCASE, including a special QuiltCon subscription discount, and expanding on the story about feed sacks that I wrote for the latest issue. Join me to learn more about this remarkable bit of history, which touches on issues of recycling, early marketing to women, and of course, fabric. (Feed sacks so fascinate Janine that she had 10,000 tiny pieces of vintage feed sacks applied to each cover of issue #24. Janine is sending along 10 copies of that issue—come to the demo for a chance to win one!)

Linoprinted wallpaper by Marthe Armitage

"You have time to think and so one idea grows out of another." – Marthe Armitage

Thank you to Noa Ambar Regev for the link.

Inspired? Enter your work for the Printmaking issue of UPPERCASE (out this spring).

Calling Card: A Gathering of Stitches

A Gathering of Stitches is offering some amazing retreats next year! Participants will have the opportunity to work intimately with some really talented and generous teachers in 2015. 

Sherri Lynn Wood of Daintytime will be spending two intensive days teaching a small group to quilt with curves, April 30 and May 1, using the extensive facilities of AGOS. Wood’s first book, The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters will be published by STC Craft in March of 2015.

In July, Amy Butler and Heather Jones will lead a small group through their colour stories, and how to translate them into quilts. This exclusive retreat will take place at the luxurious Point Lookout resort in Northport, Maine.

The dynamic trio of Carolyn Friedlander, Chawne Kimber and Rebecca Ringquist take up residence at the Medomak Retreat centre in Washington, ME, in August, for a long Slow Stitching weekend. Slow down and connect to needle and thread or floss in a summer camp setting with a small community of stitchers.

For the garment sewists, Lauren Taylor of LLADYBIRD will spend four days exploring the joys of making clothing at AGOS. Start the Fall with new skills for creating your very own handmade wardrobe at this September workshop.

Thank you to Samantha Lindgren for her support of UPPERCASE magazine through the purchase of this Calling Card ad.

Step away from the computer

Looks like a fun time can be had at Grafisch Werkcentrum Amsterdam.

The making of a Japanese Kokeshi doll

Discovered thanks to a tweet from Brent Wilson.

UPPERCASE Etsy Pages

UPPERCASE on Etsy
made by our readers curated by UPPERCASE on Etsy
illustration curated by UPPERCASE on Etsy
home curated by UPPERCASE on Etsy

Do you have an Etsy store that you'd like me to include on my Etsy pages? Tweet your shop name and url to @uppercasemag or leave it in the comments below.

In

New Craft Coalition: Meet the founders

New Craft Coalition was founded by three enterprising women crafters, Kari Woo, Laura Sharp and Natalie Gerber. "We are makers, moms, entrepreneurs and firm believers in the power of art, craft and design to change not only our communities, but the world. Our current mission is to bring a carefully curated collection of independently produced, Canadian art, craft and design to the people of Calgary twice annually, with other plans unfolding all the time!" 

Laura Sharp, above, creates her wares under the name White Owl Ceramic Studio. Her work is distinct with her graphic black and white, hints of turquoise and love of birch motifs. "I mostly attend art and fine craft shows and sell my work to an audience already won over by the greatness of handmade objects. I enjoy meeting all the people who have invested in my work, their feedback, encouragement, and support has been absolutely priceless.  I look forward to many more years of growing, developing and dreaming." 

Kari Woo's jewellery is a study in simplicity and quality. Kari used to co-own INFLUX Jewellery, one of my neighbours in the former Art Central. She has since moved to Canmore with her family and makes things from her home-based studio.

"In 1993 the I found the art of jewellery making, literally by accident," says Kari. "While recovering from a serious snowboarding injury I enrolled in my first jewellery class on a whim. It was love at first make! Now, two decades later, I am still at it and I still love it. My aim is to create substance and meaning through design. Patrons know my work through two distinct collections of sterling silver jewellery that offer the wearer versatility, comfort and simplicity."

Natalie Gerber designs home wares and hand bags using her own surface pattern designs. You might recognize her from the UPPERCASE Surface Pattern Design Guide (issue 21) and I also photographed her and her studio back in issue 13.

"As an artist, designer and maker I am inspired to create functional design for everyday living. While craftsmanship is important to my creative process, so too is function. I combine my love for illustration, surface design, clean lines and hand-printed fabrics with conscious material choices and in-studio practices.

My South African background influences my aesthetic, while inspiration is drawn from styles that include Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Mid-Century Modern design. From detailed sketches to mark making and loose line drawings, I explore the above within my work and transfer the imagery onto textiles through silkscreen printing."

 

The show opens today at 4pm at the Festival Hall in Inglewood. I'll be there with the latest issue of UPPERCASE plus some good deals on back issues and other print products. See you there!

New Craft Coalition: Sarah Pike Pottery

As you can see from my previous posts, there are some pretty talented ceramicists showing at New Craft Coalition this weekend. Sarah Pike will be visiting us from Fernie—you have to admire artisans who travel to shows with vehicles full of breakables!

Sarah writes:

I am interested in pottery with personality, beauty, and attitude. The marks of process, the slight distortion or off-round from a gentle hand, or the fingerprints on glaze and slip are all a part of the language with which my pots exclaim, "I was not machine-made, I was not mass-produced, I was made by fingers and hands, in a small studio, by an artist listening to music, dreaming and making." Because in a time of mass-production, consumer culture and waste, the handmade object brings us back to the intimacy of human nature.

New Craft Coalition: Kalika Bowlby

Kalika Bowlby is a ceramicist living in Nelson, British Columbia who will be bringing her wares to Calgary for the New Craft show. (How perfect is her name, for a potter?)

"I love living in a small mountain town but visiting big, bustling cities. I wish I could ride my bike every day, make every meal feel like a celebration and that each thing I make would be better than the last.I feel blessed to be both a mother and maker, to use my hands to make and share objects that become part of others lives. Hopefully, these objects will survive the ebb and flow of life because I think that things get better with age, use and understanding."

New Craft Coalition: Juliana Rempel

Juliana Rempel is another ceramicist showing and selling at New Craft Coalition this Friday and Saturday. About her work, Juliana writes:

Recognizing ceramics undeniable connection to life, the home and to the mundane activities of our everyday, I look for potential in these objects as registers of information and as the archetypes of our lives. We are comfortable with ceramics as both a material and as an object, allowing permission for it to become part of our personal space. This established relationship we have developed, holds the potential to be taken out of a comfortable home context and disjointed, dislocated and to be re-introduced as something other then utilitarian.

In a gallery, ceramics becomes a representation of the objects that are the silent bystanders of our lives, the symbols of our day. By dislocating our expectations of them, questioning our understanding of them and utilizing them for their symbolic value I introduce these objects in a gallery context, ultimately questioning our understanding of ceramics and bridging the gap between art and life.

New Craft Coalition: Cathy Terepocki

These gorgeous ceramics are by Cathy Terepocki, a regular exhibitor at New Craft.

D4399E59-3A43-4244-ACFF-E3D68FEB19C0.jpg

Cathy writes:

From a young age, I developed an appreciation for materials and an awareness of how things were put together. I grew up around handmade objects, in a culture where things were used and re-used. Materials were recycled to create something new. Fences were mended, sweaters darned, old shirts and dressed made into quilts. When I travelled through third world countries I was always struck by the innovative ways things were repaired and everyday materials were re-purposed to extend the life of something that would otherwise be discarded. 


One of the constants throughout my practice has been combining print-making techniques with ceramic processes, primarily pattern and imagery. Recently I have been bringing mixed materials into my pieces, particularly re-used materials. In both cases I am particularly interested in components that have had a past-life or for the narrative quality they construe. In addition they add texture and richness to the pieces. Re-contextualizing these elements also gives them new meaning and elicits new appreciation from the user. 


The forms I use are usually wheel-thrown. The surfaces are developed by building up layers of print including basic mono-printing techniques when the clay in wet, in-glaze or laser decals after the pieces are glazed and repurposed commercial decals to finish off the piece and provide one more layer of complexity, beauty and nostalgia.

I have a 'thing' for following ceramicists on Instagram. I love seeing all the works lined up pre and post-firing. Follow Cathy here.