QuiltCon 2016 – the quilts

Thought I’d share snaps of just a few of the many inspiring quilts from the QuiltCon 2016 exhibit hall.  It was fascinating to see the different approaches to every moment in quilt construction played out across so many pieces.

IMG_6607Some of the Modern Quilt Guild’s “improv with intent” Member Charity Challenge quilts were on display in the entry to the conference center.

I was blown away by the Pittsburgh Modern Quilt Guild’s entry, 35 Sisters.  What a fantastic concept to unify the guild members’ individual contributions into a cohesive, dynamic whole.  The guild’s blog post on how they worked out the concept and piecing is terrific.






A special exhibit, The Quilts of Molly Upton, included most of the quilts created by this innovative quilter during her short life.  Spurning the dull-colored calicos that were available to quilters in the 1970s, she created painterly illusions from varied substrates: corduroy, velveteen, silk, polyester, plaid shirting, and more.  She had great imagination and an eye for texture and light.  I loved how her work shows you don’t need a room full of designer quilting cottons to end up with something incredible.

IMG_6704The youth section was full of interesting work.  Check out Modern Harris, by Alexus Upitis, inspired by a Group of Seven painting.  Her large-scale “appli-pieced” image is right up my alley, as is her infusion of personal meaning into the quilt: it is a personal interpretation of a painting by Upitis’ favorite artist, of a lake near her home.  The quilting lines add direction and dimension to each piece.




Incredible details were everywhere: edge-matched, color-blocked binding, hand stitching, blind embossed quilting, and on and on.

For instance, check out the rough reverse applique on Kim Eichler-Messmer’s Crop Circles.  And the toothy texture of Tara Faughnan’s Pine Burr Quilt—I’d never seen that technique before.  I’ve been a fan of Shawna Doering since I first saw her work via Fancy Tiger.  She loves to rehabilitate unloved colors like peach and mustard, putting them together with unexpected partners.  I fell hard for her Red Hot quilt.  Speaking of mustard, House Plan by Pam Rocco picked out her condo’s floor plan in piecing.


I was utterly charmed by Sylvia Schaefer’s Paper Cranes.  I really wanted to take it home with me.  In contrast, I’m not usually drawn to block-based quilts, mod shapes, or midcentury color schemes—yet Juli Smith’s The Color of Squares upset all my notions of what those things could be.  Look at the energy!


Detail of The One for Eric

The One for Eric, by Chawne Kimber, was the emotional heavyweight of the show.  Many of us felt literally breathless confronting it.  People struggled with tears.  A detail (left) shows hand stitching in “the red of blood and bricks.”

I recently found a Los Angeles Times article on many of the discomforting quilts shown in QuiltCon: if you haven’t seen it, it’s a good read, and an exploration of quilting as art.


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