Friday, August 24, 2012

Founding the Seacoast Modern Quilt Guild

Hi, it's Amy from During Quiet Time, blogging here with the permission of the Boston Modern Quilt Guild.  Becca from Sew Me A Song, Peg from Sew Fresh Fabrics and I have been talking about founding a modern quilt guild for those north of Boston for awhile.  Now, we are actually doing it! I am a member of the Boston Modern Quilt Guild (and will continue to be) but I can't make it to as many meetings as I would like because the meetings are just far enough away that they consume most of my day.  For those of you with young children, you know that can be a deal breaker.  I'd love a guild that was close enough for me to be a more active participant.  We hope that this guild will be a sister guild of sorts to the Boston Modern Quilt guild, maybe sharing swaps or retreats, etc.  We'd like to reach out to those in Northern Massachusetts, Southern Maine and Southern New Hampshire.  All skill levels are welcome!

Our first meeting will be held on October 20, 2012 from 10-12 in the morning at the West Newbury Town Annex located at 381 Main St., West Newbury, MA, 01985. The main building will say "1910 Building" above the door, the Annex is located at the rear. We'll have a sign on the door.

West Newbury is about an hour north of Boston; 32 minutes south of Portsmouth, NH; 50 minutes south of Manchester, NH; 35 minutes south of Kittery, ME.  The room is large and spacious and there is a free parking lot in the front of the building and an additional parking lot in the rear of the building.  Nearby Newburyport, MA would be a great location for lunch if you are travelling.

The first meeting will be a time to meet each other, talk about our goals and interests, and preferred meeting times.  We will also have a show and tell so please bring your latest or favorite creation or a work in progess.  There will also be door prizes sponsored by Sew Fresh Fabrics, Sew Me A Song, and During Quiet Time.  I nearly forgot, there will be snacks as well!  The first meeting will be free with donations accepted at the door to help get our group going while we iron out little details like the cost of dues.

Thank you to Maureen from Maureen Cracknell Handmade who designed our logo. If you'd like to grab a logo, please feel free to grab this one that is more appropriately sized for your sidebar than the one above!

Also, please follow our blog:  Seacoast Modern Quilt Guild Blog
And "Like" us on Facebook too of course: Seacoast Modern Quilt Guild

Please let me know if you have any questions.  All are welcome and we hope you will attend!  I look forward to meeting you!

Thank you Boston Modern Quilt Guild for allowing me to spread the word here.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Future of Quilting

 Rachel and I were invited to participate in a Lowell Quilt Festival panel discussion last Friday morning.  The other panelists included Mary and Marianne Fons and Martha Sielman (executive director of Studio Art Quilt Associates).  The purpose of the discussion was to talk about the future of quilting amongst this selection of traditional, contemporary, and modern quilters. 

I will admit that I was a little nervous - I am not a professional in the quilting industry and could only speak from my own experience.  But my minor anxiety was unnecessary - the whole event was pretty easy going and lighthearted.  The discussion primarily focused on the similarities between quilters of all ages and styles - we all thrive on the sense of community that is fostered among quilters and guilds, we find great joy in creating, and we often use quilting as an escape from the stress of daily life.  I talked a little about the differences, from my own observations, between traditional and modern quilters - mainly that modern quilters tend to rely on internet resources for networking, swaps, information on quilting techniques, and purchasing fabric.  We also tend to be a younger crowd, most have full time jobs, and many of us are raising young children. 
 Rachel and I talked a bit about how the modern aesthetic is quite similar to the traditional aesthetic and that those who really try to divide the camps and insist that the modern style is "new" or "better" tend to alienate others. 
 I mentioned that "dumbing down of quilting" blog post that swept the internet about a year ago.  The woman seemed upset that modern quilters were getting so much attention and acclaim for making "simple quilts."  It upset a lot of people and many argued that difficult piecing techniques are not the only quilting skills worth admiring or mastering.  In our guild, we try to be very accepting of all styles, levels, and preferences - no quilt police for sure!  It's all about enjoying the process and having fun for us.  [I have sprinkled this blog post with pictures of quilts from our show - I am so proud of the level of craftmanship and diversity displayed by our group!]
 Marianne gave me permission to post an email she sent to Rachel and I:

Just a quick note to say again how much I enjoyed meeting you both. The exhibit at Appleton Mills was just terrific.

"I've thought a lot about things both of you said during the panel discussion, and I have to tell you, you brought back memories of when I first started making quilts in 1976.

Everyone who was quilting was, like me, in our 20s or 30s. My first quilting heroes like Jean Ray Laury and others were about ten years older. At first, there wasn't any 100% cotton fabric, and then there was, but I had no money, really, to buy much. Liz had more money than I did (though not much) so she bought more, which worked out for me later because she was able to afford to buy some really ugly fabrics she later hated. I didn't have any of those.

Later, in the mid-80s, when we switched to rotary cutters from scissors, and there were enough fabrics around to actually make a scrap quilt (we were simply blown away to put, like, 60 fabrics in one quilt!), we found we could work those ugly fabrics into the mix unnoticeably. It was fabulous.

As far as money for classes or to, OMG, take a trip to a quilting event farther than we could drive to and back in one day (child care!), there just wasn't any. It was out of the question. For me, using quilting to MAKE money was the key to happiness, and I started teaching (with Liz) when we were barely ahead of our students.

The satisfaction I got from finding a quilt block design I liked, drafting the pattern, choosing the fabrics, sewing that first block, then more, was incredible. It made everything else in my life better.

Now, almost 40 years later, I get just as much joy out of starting a quilt as I did from the beginning. The joy of making is so sweet I can hardly understand why everyone doesn't do it.

As I said during the panel discussion, you (mostly) young "modern" gals and we (mostly) older "traditional" quilters have way more in common than any differences."
Marianne Fons seemed interested in how we could "bridge the gap" between younger/modern quilters and the traditional quilting world.  The only ideas I could tell her are that many local guilds and shops cater to the retired/empty nester in both store hours/meeting schedules, selection of fabrics (e.g. a local shop near me only carries two solids - black and white), and many of us have experienced disapproval for daring to bring our children to a shop or a guild meeting. 

When I was cleaning out a closet this weekend, I came across the October 2007 issue of Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting magazine.  The quilt on the cover is identical to the quilt on the cover of the first edition of "Quilty."  (Quilty is a new magazine, geared towards modern quilters, created by Mary Fons).  I think it is pretty remarkable that Quilty redid an older Love of Quilting pattern for the cover of their premiere issue. 
It was a privilege to participate in the panel and it made me feel excited for what the future holds for our craft.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mini Quilt Challenge - QuiltCon Inspired

As part of our special exhibit at the Lowell Quilt Festival, we decided to host a little mini quilt challenge. Here were the guidelines:
We had seven quilts entered into the contest - seven amazing quilts. We had visitors vote on their favorite quilt.  No prizes were being given to the winners, it we purely a way to get people talking about the quilts, modern quilting and interacting with the show.
Seriously, check out these quilts!  Here's a closer look at all of the quilts.

This is Karen's entry into the contest.
This is my (Jen) entry into the contest. 
This was Stephanie's entry into the challenge.
Alice made this quilt.
Janis made this mini quilt for the show.
Nancy submitted this quilt to the challenge.
And last, but certainly not least was Rebecca's entry.

After careful calculation of the votes, the winners of the challenge were:
1st Place - Jen
2nd Place - Alice
Honorable Mention - Karen

Thank you to everyone who participate and a special thank you to everyone who attended and voted.  We heard so many people talking about the quilts, the challenge and modern quilting.  We certainly achieved our objective with these quilts and our show. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Got Quilts?

The Lowell Quilt Festival has come and gone. What an exciting weekend it has been! For the very first time, BMQG had our very own exhibit happening right in the heart of the festival. What a great opportunity and honor this has been for our guild! A lot of time and effort was put into this event, and there are many people to thank for making this happen. First and foremost, thank you Alexis for coordinating everything. Everything went smoothly and it's all thanks to you! A big thank you to Aimee as well, without whom we wouldn't have had poles to set up our quilts! And thank you to everyone who volunteered their time to oversee the exhibit, bake goodies for the reception, and help with setup and breakdown. We have fantastic people in our guild, and the fact that we were able to pull off such a great event is proof of it. One last thanks goes out to everyone out there who came to check out our exhibit. We hope you enjoyed it!

For those of you who weren't able to make it, I have a few pictures of the festival itself, and a slideshow of each and every quilt that was in the BMQG exhibit.

My first stop was the New England Quilt Museum, in Lowell. What a fun place!

Next stop: the auditorium, where the main show, IMAGES, was held. (Also the location of the vendors!)

There were some AMAZING quilts there!!! I am so happy I got see them.

FINALLY, last stop (and most important and dear to me), our very own exhibit, Boston Modern Quilt Guild at Appleton Mills:

 Rebecca, our treasurer, made this badass sign. Isn't it amazerful?!?!?

This was an incredible space for us to have! We had over 50 quilts to show, and they fit perfectly in the space without being too crowded or looking too sparse. The best part of this experience was getting to chat with quilters and people who were genuinely interested in our work. I feel like our exhibit was a perfect demonstration of what modern quilting is.

We also held a reception on Friday night, which attracted quite a lot of people. This was such a great opportunity for us, a chance to show quilters what modern quilting is, and a chance for our members to show off their hard work. Congrats everyone, mission accomplished!


Friday, August 3, 2012

Lowell Quilt Festival, here we come!

Hello quilters out there! As you may (or may not!) know, these are exciting times for BMQG. In less than a week's time, we will be hosting our very own exhibit at the Lowell Quilt Festival!!! This is a HUGE honor and opportunity. So we'd like to invite all of you to come and check out our work. On Friday the 10th, we will be having a reception at the exhibit, where you can enjoy some refreshments and snacks as well. The exhibit will be free of charge, which means you can get in without buying LQF tickets. So really, there's no reason not to swing by!

The last of the preparations are on their way. Threads are being snipped, labels are being sewn, quilts are being dropped off. We will be showcasing over 50 quilts, ranging from minis to full quilts, appliqué and paper piecing, longarm and machine quilted. It will be worth your trip! And as a bonus, you can stay a bit and chat with some of our members, who will be volunteering throughout the weekend.

Hope to see you all there next week. Please come and introduce yourselves to us. We'd love to chat!