Saturday, July 18, 2009

Quilt Show in Columbus, Ohio

While we were visiting family in Columbus, Ohio I went to my first quilt show. We went mostly because our cousin had entered some of her quilts in the show, and discovered a spectacularly imaginative and colorful world of art of which we were not truly aware. They were creative beyond anything that we had anticipated.

Peace Mandala by Cris F., Lebanon, OH. Peace in 25 languages

The world “quilt” comes from the Latin “culcita” which means a tied and padded mattress looking like a Japanese futon. The history of quilting is about two thousand years old. The oldest quilt found to date is a Siberian quilted linen carpet found in a tomb and dating from the first century B.C. It seems that quilts could have been carried from the Crusaders coming back from the Middle East and brought into Europe at that time. There are references to “courtepointe” the French word for quilt, in 12th century French poems. In the 14th century quilted armor and clothing started to appear in Paris and London. The first surviving European bed quilts were made in Sicily. During the Colonial Period in the United States, quilt making evolved into beautiful and intricate patchwork, like the traditional quilt below.

The Victorian Era saw quilts called “Crazy Quilts”. Tiny odd shaped pieces made of brocade, satin, silk, wool, cotton and linen were fitted together. The quilts were made of irregular patterns and embroidered, like the sample below.

In the United States quilt making was also a social activity since it gave an opportunity to isolated farm wives to get together to work on a quilt. Quilts are no longer just bed coverlets but have developed into attractive and creative art pieces and means of self expression.

Meditation, Robin R. , Decatur, GA “My goal was to illustrate with cloth and stitch what the act of reflection feels like to me – peaceful, flowing, simple and serene, with sparkling illumination." 37”x37”

The Quilt Exhibit in Columbus was called “Sacred Threads 2009”. The brochure said “this exhibition was established to provide a safe venue for quilters of all faiths who see their work as a connection to the sacred and/or as an expression of their spiritual journey.“ There were 216 quilts on exhibit from the USA and Canada. The quilters exhibited in this show expressed the joys or struggles in their lives by creating stunning quilts which are real works of art. The quilts were divided into categories entitled: Expressions of Joy, Grief, Inspiration, Peace/Brotherhood, Spirituality and Healing. A special category covering 16 quilts made by inmates of the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville, Ohio were also shown.

Hope by inmate Rosa A. “This quilt expresses my hope that I will have the tools I need to fly when my time for release gets here.

Quilt category: Expression of Joy – (click on pictures to enlarge them).

From left to right:
Bright Hope, Cathy S., West Chester, OH., "Hope turns the darkness bright with joy"
Cane Creek Falls, Ann Q., Jasper, GA. "A Spiritual Place"
My Peaceful Place, Carol E., Shelton, CT., "
a peaceful place where I can reflect on my thoughts"
Gloriosa Lily,
Patricia S., Lawrenceville, GA. "for health reasons, I spend my time quilting, I love flowers."

From left to right:
Dance! by Sherryl B., Scottsdale, AZ., "Dance embodies the spirit of freedom"
A Vision of Joy Discovering,
Connie C., Atlanta, GA., " The title has the double meaning of the joy of any child discovering nature, and this particular child named Joy discovering flowers."
Thomas B., Columbus, OH., "the joy of watching the African's lilac-breasted roller"
Coming in on a Wing and a Prayer,
Carolyn M, Hilton, NY., "The beauty of the earth sings forth, filled with joy and peace."

Quilt category: Expression of Grief –

From left to right:
Nola's Tears, Suzanne R., Wauwatosa, WI., "A 9th Ward House in New Orleans after Katrina breaks my heart."
, Helen H., Oakton, VA., "A child in an abusive setting tries to maintain a positive sense of self."
Elegy, Nancy B., Oakland, CA., "In memory of Tatiana from the San Francisco Zoo"
Orphans of AIDS,
Sharon R., Seattle, WA., "More than 12 million children in Africa have been orphaned by AIDS and are trapped in a spiral of despair"

Quilt category: Expression of Inspiration –

From left to right, clockwise:
Daily Provisions, M.C. B., West Lafayette, IN., "Like the birds we feed in our backyard, God provides for us through the storms of life."
Peace like a River, Cathy J., Heath, OH., "inspired by the first line of the hymn It is Well with My Soul."
First Light,
Gerrie C., Portland, OR., "Sunrise over the sea of Galilee"
bottom left - Wash Your Spirit Clean, M. Denise J., Ashland, OR., "Cherokee Song: Go and pray beside the Ocean, go and pray upon the mountain, and you'll wash your spirit clean."

Quilt category: Peace and Brotherhood -

From left to right:
White Buffalo Calf Woman Rhapsody, Janice P., Scottsdale, AZ., "her legend of peace, harmony and careful stewardship of this earth is the inspiration for this quilt" 60x60
, Betty B., Albuquerque, NM., "dedicated to all the people of the world who are displaced from their homes by violence - inspired from the terrible situation in Darfur."
Moonlight On the Water
, Vivian M., South Riding, VA., "As I walk along the beach, I wonder if others are also thinking of peace."
bottom from L to R:
L'Héron, Héléne B., Oyster Ponds, Nova Scotia, Canada "
bird of the Tinglit people in the NW embracing the M'Ickmaqs, a First Nation on the East Coast."
Marla F., Palisade, CO., "As each of the 7 continents are connected by the Ocean, so are all the people on earth connected in spirit as a part of one world."
Bearing Fruits,
Sharon R., Seattle, WA., "Cranes - May my prayer of peace arise and come to bear fruits."

Another quilt in this category, shown below, was made by Karen B. of Ashland, OR . It is called “Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem” “Praying for peace in Jerusalem, the Middle East, and throughout the World can be a thread that holds us all together.

Quilt category: Spirituality

From top left going clockwise:
The Peace Quilt, Ellie P., Mt Desert, ME., "a mandala symbolizing wholeness and my hope for peace in the world. "
Golden Triangle Buddha,
Jutta Halpin G., CT., "He is positioned at the Golden Triangle where Thailand, Burma and Laos meet."
The Followers,
Marlene S., Wethersfield, CT., "Nine people of faith looking for guidance from above, encounter a celestial happening and spiritual journey."

Quilt category: Expressions of Healing –

From top left going clockwise:
Believe, Marianne B., Philadelphia, PA., "Cancer patients, though fearful like little frogs, must take a huge leap forward, believing they will make it."
Sparks, Kristin K., Westerville, OH., "Sparks of energy heal, and sparks of life create us all."
My Father's Rose Garden,
Karen F., Tucson, AZ., "In honor of my father and his beautiful roses."
Painted Prayers,
Barbara H., Vienna, VA., "Wrap yourself in swirls of endless prayers." inspired from Kolam design from India.

The quilts were real pieces of art made of various fabrics and hand died fabrics with brilliant use of colors. Next to each quilt was the name of the quilt and of the quilt maker plus a short statement giving insight into the inspiration behind the quilt design. Here is the statement next to the quilt pictured below, under the category “Expression of Healing” by quilter named Barbara C, Mansfield, OH.
Serenity - My husband Bill died too young at 52 of an autoimmune disease that left him totally paralyzed and unable to speak. His spirit was as strong and unwavering as the ancient gingko tree even on the days of severe pain. His spirit shines through this simple gingko leaf. And my healing comes from remembering his grace and love.

Don't forget to click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Another outstanding quilt under the category Expression of healing is the quilt below, named Ground Zero, by quilter Lois J. of Madison, WI (size 85"x85"). When the photograph is enlarged the faces of individuals who perished in the attack on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001 are discernable. They are printed on the fabric which is arranged in a Lone Star pattern to represent the shattering of lives at the moment the buildings collapsed.

All these quilts crossed the barriers of faith, age, culture and reflected the personality of the quilter. Each quilt told a story, sometimes joyful , sometimes sad and even poignant. The exhibit gave me a new appreciation of this stunning art form.

My Art is no art
Without my mind's simplicity.
My Art does not want
To subscribe to the view
That unhappiness
Commands the world.
True, in my Art I want to see
The face of earth's beauty.
But I want to see
The heart of Heaven's Divinity
More, infinitely more.
-Sri Chimnoy (1931-2007) Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, South India

Good Morning, Rachel W., St Charles, IL., "Rejoice in God's gift of each new day."


DJan said...

Ooohhh. How absolutely beautiful! And thought provoking too. I left an award for you on my blog, the "Top 10" or "Makes My Heart Smile" award. I forgot to mention how well researched all your entries are. Thank you for this wonderful wonderful collection.

Paty said...

Hi! Thank foy sharing the history of the quilts and for posting such beautiful pictures! I love quilts, and I hope one day I´ll take patchwork lessons, i love it!

Jinksy said...

What a fabulous collection of peoples' imaginative capabilities wher quilts are concerned. Inspiring...

Ruth said...

As someone who has sewn very simple quilts I get deeply touched by quilts like these. I especially loved the Hope one by the inmate imagining freedom, the gingko, and the Jerusalem. Women have infinite capacity, I believe. These are art, craft, compassion, love, imagination and time. Their value is beyond calculation. They must have been profoundly touching in person.

I loved hearing the history too. I didn't know quilts go back 2,000 years.

livininlb said...

Wow! I am going to have to go to a quilt show now and am going to be on the lookout for some in Southern CA. I had no idea the depth of feeling, creativity and beauty that went into these! How inspiring.

Marguerite said...

Vagabonde- Wow, these quilts are so beautiful! What a fabulous quilt show! One of my cousins makes quilts like these, too. It is such an intricate art form. I think your posts are spectacular and I have an award waiting for you, over at my place. Come on over and pick it up, when you get back from Blogfest.

Darlene said...

Fascinating history of quilting. My sister, who quilts, will love your blog and I am sending her the link.

I have never quilted, but I have knit and crocheted over a dozen afghans in a variety of styles. The most difficult one I made had exotic birds added to the base quilt and it took me six months to complete. I don't want to do that again.

Shammickite said...

I've made a few fairly simple quilts, but nothing as complicated and detailed as these. So impressive. Just think of the amount of intricate work and dedication that has gone into these maserpieces, wonderful.

Carolyn said...

Thank you for such a beautiful and informative post. Quilts are such beautiful pieces of art and show such patience and imagination. Thank you for sharing your wonderful and information of this beautiful show.
Blessings and smiles

Elaine said...

This is a lovely post. I do a bit of quilting, but nothing like these. My daughter-in-law is into quilting in a big way and she would love this. Whenever I go to a quilt show I am in awe at the talent that is displayed. Quilting is definitely an art form and it is starting to receive the respect it deserves.

Jean said...

Quelle richesse , quelle créativité !
Magnifique !

Friko said...

Wonderful work, both the quilters and, no less, yours. Fantastic photos, extremely well researched and presented. Yours is a great blog.

claude said...

C'est vraiment un bel art. J'aime beaucoup le premier, et ma foi, le dernier aussi..

Vagabonde said...

DJan and Marguerite – Thanks for your comments, I answered on your blogs too.
Paty, Jinksy, Ruth, Linvininlb, Marguerite – I am pleased you enjoyed the quilts.
Darlene - I hope your sister took a look at the quilts.
Shammickite – Thanks for coming to my blog and leaving a comment. I appreciate that.
Carolyn. Friko and Elaine - I agree that quilts are works of art and thanks for coming to read my post
Jean et Claude – Merci pour votre visite.

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