Yesterday, I went to the annual "Utah Quilting and Sewing Marketplace" show in Sandy, Utah. This is a huge event, mostly focused on machine quilting, with both quilt displays and vendors. I had three quilts in an exhibition of work by the Utah Surface Design Group, the organization in which I participate. Here's one of mine:
The background is a hand-dyed black cotton that I've then discharged (taken out the color). I've hand embroidered spirals and sewn on shells that I picked up on the Oregon coast. The quilt is titled, "The Things They Left Behind." When we die, we leave the shell of our life but the living core is gone.
Most of the quilts in the show are made with store bought fabric and many follow traditional geometric designs, which is very different from the work I do. I hand dye all the fabrics I make, and I'm more likely to find the supplies I need at Home Depot than a quilt store. However, I admire other people's work, and I'm glad the quilt world is large enough to include all of us.
One exhibition I particularly liked was titled "Herstory": 85 quilts that celebrate "strong women who cracked the glass ceiling." The quilts were made by women from 7 countries, and each one showed the particular style of its maker. Below is a portrait of Amy Johnson, who in 1930, was the first woman to fly solo from London, England to Darwin, Australia. The journey of 11,000 miles took 19.5 days, and she did it in an open cockpit. I can hardly get my mind round such an achievement.
I also liked this simple quilt which speaks, with wit, about the strides we've made as a society:
This is a heartening reminder, especially when we read about the ongoing racism and its associated violence in this country.
For me, making quilts is about much more than creating something beautiful to hang on a wall. It is a powerful way to speak our truths.