In the Suburbs: At last! This novice shares exhibit space with master quilters
The quilting guild my wife and I belong to was invited by our Fairfield University Bookstore to exhibit some of our work during the month of October. I am happy to say that three of my larger quilts and three wall hangings are part of the quilting show and I had to step back in amazement when everything was hung, because, compared to other guild members, I still consider what I’m doing as a work in progress.
After nearly 11 years of classes, workshops and a week-long beginners quilting trip 10 years ago, I have learned so much about color combinations, sewing quarter-inch seams, keeping my seams straight and taking on bigger and bigger projects, I feel I’ve just grazed the surface of my quilting ability. And I have such a long way to go to even remotely catch up with the master quilters in our guild. Each week when we meet and members walk us through what’s affectionately called “show and tell”, we are treated to some breathtaking designs. And the support my wife and I have received can never be measured.
While the bookstore exhibit space is not huge, we’ve managed to fill it a wealth of creativity and an array of vivid colors and designs. Eighteen quilts of varying sizes adorn the stairwell and various downstairs areas of the store.
Some quilts are for sale, including a couple of mine, and I have to say that the idea that something I created was even remotely appealing for sale was hard to get used to. But Laurie, who is one of the founders of the guild, assured me that, believe it or not, many people want to buy quilts.
Two of Laurie’s quilts, for instance, adorn the walls near our kids section of the store. One is a delightful alphabet quilt in vivid blues, reds and greens with a little dog and cat peeking out from squares and a bird and lady bug in another square. The background is tan with red and blue polka dots. It’s really perky and fun.
The other quilt is a stark white background with an orange inner border. A little train uses the border as an l-shaped track on the top and the bottom and four large blue squares, filled with toy trucks really make it pop.
Across from the car and train quilt in the same stairwell is a larger quilt that my wife and I recently finished. It is squares of various geometric shapes in reds, pinks and mauves with accent shapes in gray. My wife found some humorous squares with men doing various quilting tasks like cutting fabric, sewing and ironing for the back. That creative touch really brought the backing to life.
Nancy, another of our other amazing quilt guild members, made a kind of colonial quilt with a vivid border of stars on a light gold background. The quilt itself is simply thin squares with bright, lively patterns and some dark and bold reds with bursts that look almost like fireworks. It’s beautiful.
Rose, a master quilter for years, created a small, striking quilt in what’s called in the trade, a log cabin pattern. Rose has alternated different grays and blacks with a vivid blue gray. The quilt is breathtaking.
Barbara, Laurie’s mom and the other coordinator of our guild, contributed a couple of quilts. One is probably a queen-size masterpiece with a bold green border around the outside and around squares with more colors than I can describe. It’s amazing.
Barbara’s other contribution is a Christmas quilt in small green squares, cream colored background and star patterns that mix browns and greens. The breathtaking outer border looks almost like a potpourri of holiday colors and shapes. One visitor already expressed definite interest in buying the quilt. A real not-to-miss quilt is Flo’s creation, completely hand done, of little maidens. The background is all yellow, but bright colors accent each of the squares, bringing out the shapes of the little maidens. This is a true work of art from a real master quilter.
On the way in or out, a visitor shouldn’t miss Laurie’s diamond shaped quilt with a black background and a diamond shape in reds, purples, blues and grays, Laurie created an inner frame that looks like a circle of multi-colored small fish.
I’ve hardly done justice in describing these magnificent quilts, but I hope that during this month the exhibit will attract a lot of visitors. I am truly in the company of master quilters and can’t wait to complete another project.
Steven Gaynes is a Fairfield writer, and his “In the Suburbs” appears each Friday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.