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Brewery Artwalk

April 7th was a big day for me.  For the last few months, Hawke and I had been working nearly every day on the Ascension Quilt, a collaborative art quilt based on his wall mural. We had a hard deadline for the Brewery Artwalk and neither of us were entirely confident it was going to be complete. I gave myself a pretty gnarly concussion in the studio in early March, but with some pretty intense work we managed to complete the entire quilt in time for it to be hung in Hawke’s loft and be ready for the droves of weekend visitors.

A lot of love went into this quilt, including Hawke’s favorite “woobie” jeans. He’d worn them to the point that my patching was doing no good, so he sacrificed them to the quilt gods and we used them for the top of the wings.

Hawke’s porch above the quilt was  a favorite for many visitors and it was fun to see their reaction when they realized there is an indoor porch!

The number of people who came through the loft was pretty overwhelming, but between the living room theater, the quilt space and the upstairs studio and  bedroom they had plenty of places to wander.  It was still weird to have so many strangers in there all weekend.

Hawke took his time to explain our methods and purpose to so many visitors and Aaron disarmed one visitor after another with his brash humor. I can’t thank them enough; it was really outside my wheelhouse to talk at length about my quiltmaking work and get such positive feedback.  So strange.

We had quite a few fellow Brewery Artist Lofts friends come by (thanks, Binns!) as well as our local security guy (below).

This was my first time participating in the Brewery Artwalk as an artist. It was wonderful. It was overwhelming. It was inspiring. It was exhausting. It was everything I could have hoped for.  An enormous thank you goes to Hawke, whose support I could not have done without.  The collaborative work was amazing and then there was Artwalk.  His love, encouragement, artistic skills, knowledge and handyman skills made it all work out and I can honestly say, this would have never happened on my own. Thank you, Hawke.

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Modern Quilt Perspectives {book review}

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It’s finally here, the book that Thomas told me he would someday write way back when we first met at Quilt Market. Houston in 2011, right, Thomas?

I’d already fallen for his first collection, Pear Tree, and its lovely muted colors (the same just-off hues that would sucker me into every TK collection).  We’d talked online thanks to my work for FabShop News magazine and I was both awed and honored when he went out of his way to talk to me in the wide aisles of Market. He told me his ideas for a book and I knew this guy was different.

Spend five minutes talking to Thomas and you’ll be awed by his vast knowledge and ability to pull info, facts and connections seemingly out of thin air. I like to think the guy is a genius. He chalks it up to a lot of schooling. I’ll agree to something in the middle.

Thomas’ skill at drawing connections and thinking beyond the “Isn’t that pretty?” that infiltrates the fabric world continues to amaze and inspire me. And it is in that unique way that Modern Quilt Perspectives unfolds.

Essays. Quilt patterns. Sidebars of wisdom. It’s a remarkable book and I can’t recommend it enough.

In particular I want to share about the Excess quilt. No, I didn’t have anything to do with it (though I did make an ‘I’ for the Identity quilt!).  It’s just one that symbolizes all that this book does.

Here, take a look:
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Lovely, right? It is an incredibly long quilt (13 feet, in fact!) and when I was flipping through the book for the first time, it caught my eye with its size and the preponderance of reds and dashes of green and blue. It’s scrappy the way scrappy ought to be, I thought.

It wasn’t until I stopped to actually read the accompanying essay, that I understood its importance as a piece of art, an unspoken message.

And that’s something that Thomas never  forgets or looks past. Quilts are art. They can be powerful, awe-inspiring, meditative and breathtaking. This quilt took my breath away.

In Excess, there are 1,600 of those little 2-1/2″ blocks. It’s not a random number, something picked out of the air or decided on when the quilt got to the right size. No, that number was chosen for a reason.

Every year, approximately 1,600 women and men are killed in acts of domestic violence in the United States, victimized by their partners and spouses. … Excess is a memorial to this overwhelming reality, a visualization of the forest of loss. Each of the 1,600 squares in the quilt represents a death, with each red or orange stripe a woman killed, and each blue or green one a man.

Now go look at that quilt again and meditate on those numbers, that issue.

Then go read how Lisa quilted it with the text from the United States’ Violence Against Women Act.

This is what makes Modern Quilt Perspectives more than just a quilting book. There is substance and depth and meaning, so much meaning, to all of it. Thank you, Thomas, for reminding me (us?) of the import of it all.

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I decided I  would make the pattern myself (this is a quilting book after all), though not in the numbers that Excess originally calls for. Just a few dozen in my favorite greys. I haven’t decided how big I’ll make it, or quite what I’ll do with it when I have pieced it together. But I can tell you that the quilts in Modern Quilt Perspectives are not only powerful art, but that they are well-written patterns as well.

 

So get to it–go get the book, read it, learn from it and venture onward. I can promise you this: it will change the way you look at quilts and the messages they can send.

Thank you, Thomas, for an amazing book, jaw-dropping quilts and for being you.

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A giveaway! I almost forgot. Tell me what issue/message you’d quilt about if you could. Personally, I’m pondering ways to put the struggles and joys of solo parenting into fabric form. Let me know if you have any ideas. Comments will close on Monday 4/7 at midnight. Winner announced 4/9.