Fabric Art: Bosque Arts Center’s popular Eighth Annual Quilt Show names winners among masterful works of art
CLIFTON – Anyone with a pair of scissors, a rotary tool, a measuring board, some pins and needles, a sewing machine, a seam ripper and fun cotton fabrics can start quilting. But like any other craft or art, masterful quilting requires practice, practice, practice.
It is in the selection of the pattern, the colors, the materials and different techniques that elevate quilting to the art level. Once more at the Eighth Annual Quilt Show held by the Bosque Arts Center June 10-11, quilters showed their artful approach to a very traditional, and functional craft.
Coming off the COVID-19 restrictions, when a lot of quilters had more time to quilt, the numbers of quilts entered were down, but the quality and diversity of the quilts this year was exceptional. According to BAC program director Deb Phinney the Quilt Show once again was a success in attendance and in quality of quilts entered. She received a lot of positive feedback from visitors and vendors alike.
“Every year there is different stuff to marvel at,” Phinney said. “This year’s Best in Show and the leather quilt are an example of that.” The quilt show attracts a lot of new people, which is why this show is important to the BAC and to Clifton. “It is a unique art form,” Phinney said. “Although the modern techniques and quilts are different from our grandmothers’, it still preserves that heritage, which I think is important.”
To keep their craft and art relevant, experienced quilters love to mentor young, beginning quilters. Many of the quilters as well as the “white gloves” – the volunteers explaining the quilts to the Quilt Show visitors – in the BAC Quilt took their time to show the backs of the quilts, to explain the intricacies of a certain design or technique. And reiterated that skills grow with every new quilt sewn; and that quilters should not be afraid of making mistakes, because that is all part of the learning process.
Besides a perfect venue to show off their quilts to the public, the BAC Quilt Show offers up to $2,150 in monetary prizes to winning quilts in their category. The prizes are possible thanks to the many sponsors of the Quilt Show. There are 19 different categories in the Quilt Show. Hand-pieced and Hand-quilted being the most traditional of skills; machine-pieced, Machine, Long Arm Quilting, computerized being the most modern of techniques. Many names on the winners list are familiar to those frequenting the quilt show. Show judge this year was National Association of Certified Quilt Judges member Sandra Gard.
As usual, there were many seasonal and red, white and blue nationalistic and state-proud quilts on display, like the “I Pledge Allegiance to Texas Bluebonnets” by Cheryl Barron, long arm quilted by Steve Chambers.
With 10 entries, art quilts was the largest category, which produced both the Best of Show – Octopus’ Garden by Judy Beskow. For me, I straight away hear the Beatles’ song in my mind…“I’d like to be, Under the sea, In an Octopus’s garden, In the shade….” The back of the quilt is as intricate and beautiful as the colorful front.
The original design was made from a photo taken at the Dallas World Aquarium. Beskow hand-died the fabric for the octopus. Beskow also went on to win in the Best Handwork category for her quilt “Flora Nova.”
Judge’s Choice – Braids and Braces by Anne Wyatt, with an interesting upside-down perspective and contrasting green, red and purple. Wyatt had four pieces in the show.
People’s Choice went to Molly Culp’s “The Garden,” a machine-applique quilt – beautiful yellow and orange flower wreaths on a striking an unusual midnight blue background.
From the very beginning of the quilt show, a special and uniquely created award the Special Art Recognition award, pays homage to the show’s art center roots. Judges are asked to work together and select a quilt they believe is deserving of an award based on their painter’s view of art in quilt form. This award incorporates two area artists in the judging process.
Over the years the show has been lucky to have the talents of judges Mary Ellen Boren, Tony Eubanks, Kathy Tate, George Boutwell, Betty Graham, Nancy Boren, Lloyd Voges and Martin Grelle. This year Jo Beck and Robert Fobear had the honor to judge the quilts on their artistic quality. The SAR Award and machine-pieced hand guided award went to Janice Forney’s “Love of Tulips.”
“The quilts were all so beautiful,” Beck said. “It was so hard to choose.” She and Fobear walked the entire exhibit three times before they came to their final choice. “I love quilts,” Beck said, having made quilts herself as did her mother. “I love the idea of the pieces of fabrics and colors making up a quilt.” Fobear and Beck who were thrilled, honored and happy to be asked to judge the SAR category, looked at construction, design and color.
“To me, this quilt was thoughtful, tasteful, neat and simple, quiet,” Beck said. “We chose the more traditional quilt that was fun because of the colors. Fobear and I liked another more contemporary quilt with fishes [Turqoise Wate by Beskow], and “The Garden” but what impressed about this one, was the fact that it could be a universal quilt.”
The Applique by hand category delivered both the NACQJ award for Cheryll Lundberg’s “Tree Bells” and the SAR Honorable Mention award for Cristine Poen’s Janet’s Quilt.
Best Original Design went to Carilyn Alarid – one of the vendors – for her “Smokey’s Place” in memory of Smokey, the dedicated watch cat of Mimbres Culture Heritage Site in Mimbres, NM.
Showing that politics bleeds into art every now and then, Judy Steward’s “Sunflowers for the Ukraine” won in the Machine-pieced Domestic category.
Retired Music Professor at Tarleton State University Steve Chambers, who makes exquisitely intricate and geometric quilts won in the category Machine pieced, Computerized with “Antithesis.” Antithesis normally means simply "opposite." Thus, war is the antithesis of peace, wealth is the antithesis of poverty, and love is the antithesis of hate. In the case of Chambers quilt it was more, when two opposites are introduced together for contrasting effect.
“They say opposites attract. The quilt is the direct opposite of something that represents that. One side of the quilt is the opposite of the other in color, placement, quilting and binding. The patterns in the center that span the living line are split. One half is quilted in blue thread, the other half is white.”
Another Chambers’ piece “Arise My Love and Come Away,” which received second place in its category showed his love of geometry and stories behind his quilts.
“On Oct. 1, 1922, my grandfather Tull Stroud drove to my Grandmother Amy’s home in a horse and buggy,” Chambers said in his description. “They drove to the minister’s house and tied the horse to a tree and sat in the buggy as the minister married them. They would have celebrated their 100th anniversary this year. This Double Wedding Ring quilt is dedicated to their memory.”
In memory of a beloved BAC Quilt Guild member, sponsored by the BAC Quilt Guild, the Nancy Pugh Award went to Charlotte Massy for “Grandma’s Dream for Heather.” It is a more traditional quilt, with many colored and patterned triangles around quilted diamonds.
“My Mom talked about making quilts for her three grandchildren, but never got it done,” Massey said in her quilt description. “She collected fabrics and talked about patterns often. After she passed, I used her fabrics and added background fabrics and made quilts for them. This one is for my daughter.”
Not winning any awards, but spectacular in its own right and garnering a lot of public attention was Dr. John E. Harris’ leather “Australian Patches” quilt. Harris was living and working in Australia in the 1970’s and found a sack of leather scraps. He sewed them together in a quilt top. In 2018, he brought it to Cheryll Lundberg in Clifton who commissioned it to Maria Hall to do the quilting. The tan to brown leather pieces and blocks, off set with the grey blue patches conjuring up images of the dry and dusty Australian Outback and moisture-less sky made the quilt a delight.
Another very special quilt was the “Sewing Camp July 2021.” It embodies the wish of all quilters that their craft continues into the next generations. During the first day of BAC Sewing Camp, each student learned about their sewing machine and then chose the five-inch blocks to make their nine-patch block. Each signed the middle block. Emma Gibson then took each block and sewed them together to make the quilt. BAC Quilt Guild member Debbie Stubbs went on to quilt the piece. Contributors were Emma Gibson, McKenna Church, Graef Schulte, Logan Reynolds, Gareth Schulte, Sarah Wendt, Jaclyn Nickel and Eden Anderson.
“We like to encourage our new quilters,” Jan Rogers from the Temple Quilt Guild and show “white glover” said. Besides the beautiful and exquisite quilts on show, visitors could enter to win a spectacular purple, white and tan raffle quilt with the beautiful alliteration name “Summer Solstice Swirl” patterned by Judy Niemeyer, pieced by Cheryll Lundberg – Lundberg is the BAC Quilt Guild President – and quilted by Joy of Quilting, and to visit with the 11 quilt-specific vendors on hand, including a knife/scissor sharpener and a computerized sewing machine vendor.
Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS
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