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).So, 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). 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. One 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.We’re beginning to pack for a two-month camping trip. Back into the wilderness. Hooray!