Sunday, May 25, 2014

Then and Now Opening

Yesterday I traveled to Willamantic, CT for the opening for of Inspiration Quilts: Then and Now.  I was one of the twelve invited quilt artist asked to make a modern day interpretation of an antique quilt in the museum's collection. While all twelve quilts were worthy of publication here, I only chose a few so that maybe you will go see the rest for yourself. In only a couple of cases were the antique quilts hung next to their modern redo. Most were just too old and/or fragile to be hung, so they were either folded on quilt racks or folded and put in glass top cases.

Kate Themel chose to make a Honey Bee as her take on a Grandmother's Flower Garden from the 1940's.  Since the old quilt was made of hexagons, as is a bee hive, Kate thought of bees flying to the flowers.  Done with Kate's usual mastery of techniques, her quilt was glorious.

Catherine Whall Smith was assigned a Wedding Ring quilt from the 1930's.  Catherine made a quilt in blacks and whites that incorporated pictures from various weddings in which she had participated, including her own, and words from their wedding vows. She called it Marriage is Seldom Black and White.

Here is a detail showing a photo and text.

Pat Ferguson's quilt, Zen Dresden With a Surprise on the Back really should be seen in person. Her antique quilt, Dresden Plate, was a sweet little quilt with a dresden fans made of of pastel calicos on a peach background.  Pat who is a free-motion machine quilter extraordinaire, made a whole cloth peach quilt on which she quilted the fans in tiny patterns in several different colors of thread.

The real surprise was on the back of Pat's quilt.  She used fabric pens to fill in her exquisite quilting patterns to recreate the tiny calico prints.

Much to her surprise  some of the pens actually glowed under a black light.  She had a black-light flash light hanging next to the quilt to see the magic.  It was much more dramatic than this picture shows. Be sure to click on this picture to see the amazing quilting!

Rita Hannafin has always loved the 9 patch block so she chose an antique Nine Patch and made Deconstructed Nines.  She said that her goal was  "to echo the traditional format of the antique block while creating an original narrative". I love the fresh modern look of her quilt.

Here is the antique Nine Patch quilt folded over a quilt rack.

This show was full of surprises. Would you believe that this quilt was painted!  Yup, not bit of colored cloth here. Melanie Johnston's A New Sunrise, uses blocks that she painted with thickened dyes using colors very close to the original Sunrise/Mariner's Compass , made in 1845.  She quilted along the painted lines to simulate actual piecing.

Even with your nose to the quilt, it was hard to believe that it was painted. Bravo, Melanie!

And here is mine, Snapshots From My Garden, hanging over my antique inspiration, Peony Flower Appliqué made in 1850.  Mine is a hard quilt to photograph and as with many quilts, it's much better in person. We were encouraged to stand by our quilts and I was starting to lose my voice with all the explaining of my process of ice-dyeing.  I was pleased that it was so well received.

Here, as promised are some pictures of the Frog Spool Bridge in Willamantic. I was so delighted to be able to see it in person.

This last one gives you an idea of the scale.  Those spools and frogs are huge!

Now one last treat.  Members were encouraged to make postcards to be sold in the museum gift shop celebrating the museum's and SAQA's 25th Anniversary.  I bought this one made by Kate Themel, she of the Bumblebee quilt. Isn't it fabulous?!


Anonymous said...

Norma, You presented a lovely portrait of the Then and Now Opening on Saturday. Thank you for including my piece. Twas a wonderful day for all. Congrats to you on a really unique interpretation on your antique quilt too!!! Rita Hannafin

Martha Ginn said...

What a delightful tour of this exhibit--thanks, Norma! You have certainly piqued the interest of all who will see your pictures.
Wish I could see them in person.

Linda M said...

What an interesting interpretation of some of the quilts, wish I could see them all.
Love the frog and spool.

Catherine Smith said...

Great job Norma - you really have enticed the public to see the show. And your comments were right on!

Vivien Zepf said...

What a great show! So glad you shared it since I am unlikely to get over in time to see it. Lovely pieces. (I like the postcard, too!)