People with great talent have always intimidated me a bit.  In my own life, I’ve searched for that speck of talent that I could exploit into a great hobby or career.  My folks spent hundreds of dollars and years of toting me around to music lessons, hoping that my flying fingers would dazzle accordion lovers worldwide.  Mediocre at best.  Organ lessons?  Even worse.  Hundreds of dollars on camera/darkroom equipment produced no evidence of hidden bits of talent.  I even took a floorcloth painting class, hoping to find my inner muse.  Does this look like talent to you?  Uh, probably not. (I called it the Flying Bagel).wpid-20140823_075659.jpgSo, I’m in awe of the talent displayed here in town this week at the American Quilting Society show.  Caroline and I visited this group’s show in Phoenix in February, and it was my first experience with textiles on this level.  We went again to check out the Grand Rapids show, which was even better.  Why?

The highlight of the show is the first US display of the Quilt of Belonging, a massive tapestry (120 feet long, nearly 11 feet high).  DSC00187-001 Canada’s rich cultural heritage is represented by each of the 263 blocks, depicting a country, or one of the Canadian aboriginal groups that comprise Canada today.  Designed and/or executed by a person of that heritage, the quilt is a fascinating geography and anthropology lesson.  For example, the block from Central African Republic is composed of actual butterfly wings.  Caribou hide is the base for the square of the Inuvialuit.  Some of my favorite panels from this amazing project are are in the slideshow.  Sadly, many of the photos I took were too poor to post.

Other quilts in the show are a mixture of traditional and modern styles.  The artistry of these quilters, and sheer volume of fabrics, techniques, and styles is amazing.20140820_094828 20140820_11214020140820_11200620140820_10580120140820_10532220140820_10340420140820_10261520140820_10260820140820_10254120140820_09471320140820_09343120140820_10212220140820_094934One last little note.  The bike rack outside the arena where the exhibit was held, has a little textile project of its own.  Sadly, I parked my bike around the corner, so I didn’t get to use the bike rack koozie.20140820_085322We’re beginning to pack for a two-month camping trip.  Back into the wilderness.  Hooray!


National Quilting Show

Caroline is a quilter.  So, when she asked me to join her for a day at the National Quilting Show in Phoenix, I jumped at the chance.  A day with one of my best friends, a chance to educate myself with some truly fantastic fabric craft.  Amazing.wpid-20140205_100454.jpgwpid-20140205_094755.jpgwpid-20140205_100129.jpgwpid-20140205_101719.jpgwpid-20140205_094809.jpg

It’s hard to believe that this is fabric and stitching.  Not traditional old quilting for sure, althoug the roots are there, and some of the familiar old designs are still visible.  The artistry and visions of these quilters are beyond my imagination.  I was awed.wpid-20140205_104635.jpgwpid-20140205_110159.jpgwpid-20140205_110115.jpg

This was probably my favorite of all

This was probably my favorite of all


While spaceships land in front of him, this guy is reading the police blotter in his local newspaper. Not all quilts are traditional in design.

wpid-20140205_102325.jpgwpid-20140205_101819.jpgwpid-20140205_103049.jpgQuilts from all over the world were entered in this juried competition.  Many of these were European entries.  We saw several from Michigan.  Each was unique.wpid-20140205_105457.jpgwpid-20140205_105530.jpgwpid-20140205_105643.jpgwpid-20140205_110016.jpg

Of course, we strolled downtown Phoenix a bit.wpid-20140205_140637.jpg

I think Phoenix might be having a bit of fun with of us with these sidewalk plates.

I think Phoenix might be having a bit of fun with of us with these sidewalk plates.

A friendly pedestrian warned us that we invited a $400 fine for jaywalking in an area with a streetcar crossing.  Thanks for the tip!  For sure, that won’t happen again.