about the artist

Contemporary Quiltart Symposium

I am in Tacoma, WA for the 2oth anniversary celebration of the Washington Contemporary Quiltart Association. They are putting on a symposium with some pretty great speakers, tomorrow. Tonight there was a delicious banquet and a retrospective of their evolution as an art quilt organization, given by 4 former president. It was very interesting and comforting to hear that they have been fraught with many of the same problems that other organizations come up against. I am impressed at how far they have evolved and the shows they have mounted.

We arrived in a driving rain storm around lunch time. The we being Mary Maxwell, my companion and roommate for the trip. Mary belongs to Columbia Stitchery Guild and is a new friend. We have discovered that we have a lot in common. Here she is posing with this guy we found standing out in the rain.

We saw one of the traveling Gee’s Bend Quilt exhibits at the Tacoma Art Museum. I was underwhelmed and quite disappointed. Many of these were made in just the last few years and seem to me to be made in an attempt to jump on the band wagon. I was not alone in this feeling. I would have loved to see the original show that started all of the brouhaha. There were maybe two or three quilts that I would call “art.” Otherwise, they were very wonky utilitarian quilts.

The CQA has a show titled Evolution of the Art Quilt which is quite stunning. Each quilt is accompanied by a statement from the quilter with a small photo of an earlier quilt. In most cases, it is quite interesting to see how the artist has evolved.

Here are a couple of bad photos of the scene there tonight.

Our first speaker, tomorrow, is Robert Shaw who wrote the first compendium of art quilts. I think it is called “The Art Quilt.” Then we hear from Barbara Lee Smith, Cynthia Corbin and a panel discussion on Intelligent Design with Erika Carter, Jeannette DeNicolis Meyer and Jill Nordfors Clark. The final speaker is Michael Monroe, the executive director of the Bellevue Art Museum.

I have met some heroines, like Janet Steadman, and run in to friends I have before only known on the internet, like Lorraine Edmonds and Andree Fredette. I am making new friends and solidifying friendships with others who have made the trip from Portland. I’m so happy to be here. Ciao!

7 Responses to “Contemporary Quiltart Symposium”

  1. cory says:

    for Thelma Smith: Contemporary QuiltArt Assn is still the name. If you want to watch for their events, you can check the website http://www.contemporaryquiltart.com. Photos of the entire exhibit at the Washington History Museum are posted there now. Just click on “CQA shows” in the left margin on the site homepage.

  2. melanie says:

    I did see the original Gee’s Bend show at the Whitney in NY — and was more than disappointed — I was something like horrified. The original show was also wonky utilitraian quilts touted as dynamic and spontaneous art. Mostly, I thought, they were nothing special (when not outright ugly).

  3. Jane Davila says:

    What a spectacular conference. Lucky ducks. Why isn’t there something like this on the east coast?

    Btw, you’ve been tagged – seven random facts about yourself, tag seven other people. I don’t know who started this tagging jazz, but coming up with the facts is harder than it looks – see my blog!

  4. thelmasmith says:

    How wonderful! When did the Contemporary Quilt Art Association become the Washington Contemporary Quilt Art Association? The symposium they held in October of 1998 was what set me on the art quilt path.

    They and I have lost track of each other. Do they now restrict membership to the northwest? I really would have enjoyed coming to another symposium. I’m so glad to hear your comments. thelma

  5. Judy says:

    Looks like you’re having a wonderful time, but then you always do!! Enjoy the fabulous community of quilters.


  6. PaMdora says:

    Wish I could have stayed for this.We’re already home, and I didn’t get to see the exhibit since we only went to Tacoma for one evening for the ISC party. Have fun!!

  7. Jeannie says:

    OH WOW! I would be walking around, mouth gaping, and stuttering. These women are the ones that opened my eyes and heart, especially Erika Carter. I am so happy for you – enjoy!