Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mennonite Quilt Center, marking, and stars

Yesterday Mr. IQ and I took a quick trip to California's Central Valley so he could attend an NFL fantasy football draft. Meawhile, I visited the Mennonite Quilt Center in Reedley, California. I had not been before and was not sure what to expect. There was no agenda, I had nothing in mind except the time on my hands ought to be spent well. Imagine my delight when I walked in and was greeted by Mary, the manager, and she graciously permitted me to take photos and then invited me to see a quilt show by their featured artist, Pat Robertson. "We have go upstairs", she said, "let me know when you're ready."

About thirty minutes later I said I was ready but nothing could have prepared me for what I saw. Three ladies and I exited the comfortable air-conditioned shop and made the arduous climb up the staircase. When we entered the room we were awestruck and were literally speechless. Then I said, "wow". That was all that came out. There were no words, just the taking in of the sheer volume of space which showcased the quilts coupled with the delectable quilts we saw. Gorgeous. Striking. Spectacular.

There is something of a little miracle in that moment when you're taking in all of the colors, shapes, the minute stitches, the negative space, all the beauty of another artist's work. I began to look at each one. Which one pulls you in first? Do you remember? Is it the one you're closest to or do you move across the room to take in the quilt so spectacular it pushes its way to first in line? These were all lovely. She used applique, paper piecing, machine piecing and perhaps some hand piecing as well. Some of the quilts were machine quilted, others all by hand and still others used both methods. There was one which resembles a persian rug, a study in reds, a spiky one, dresden plate with a petal askew called He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, gorgeous appliqued flowers and vines amid pieced patchwork and actual woven baskets, and more. Our friendly guide announced that Pat does all of the steps in making the quilts herself, she works outside the home in addition to teaching at the center and creating all of this beauty. Wow, I am still captivated.

The Quilt Center features an artist every year following the quilt auction, when they have no auction quilts to display. Each April the Mennonite Quilt Center holds a quilt auction at Fresno Pacific University in Fresno, California. This year it was held April 1 and 2. The quilts sold are still listed here for your viewing. The auction is a benefit for the Mennonite Central Committee. More information is available at this site.

If you can get to Reedley, California make the trip if only to see the Mennonite Quilt Center. I was pleased to meet the many volunteers who work there and a few kind ladies, including Debbie, who began quilting in January and said she didn't remember to bring her phone to take photos. Of course I offered to provide a link to the photo slideshow as I usually take quite a few pictures when I bring the camera along. Reedley even has a 'quilt walk'. Traditional blocks are featured in mosaic tiles in front of several downtown businesses, including the Mennonite Quilt Center. I stopped to photograph a few of them, but in the 111 degree fahrenheit heat I decided to pack up the camera after the two block stroll, leaving about half of them for my next visit.

See the 86 photo quilt show here.

Fabulous Free Finds: This week I am seeing stars inspired by this post

*Star of the West is this week's Civil War Quilts commemorative block by Barbara Brackman
*A scrappy beauty, Star Formation, featured on the cover of the October issue of American Patchwork and Quilting. A smaller pattern in an alternate colorway is available here.
*Minick and Simpson's American Banner Rose pattern featuring eight pointed stars
*These star blocks will make a beautiful star sampler
*Kelly and Carol featured stars in their Simple Things Quilt Along...and they posted the quilts.
*This short, ingenious video features a new-to-me way to make a New York Beauty block and a paper piecer's dream realized in these lovely New York Beauty Patterns
*If you are in the Christmas spirit sew a lovely Stars All Around tree skirt by Darlene Zimmerman - alternately, Hannukah Lights is gorgeous
*A cute Little Wren from Fons and Porter features a feathered star.

Bow Tie blocks from civil war reproduction scraps

This week I worked on a few bow ties (26 so far and counting) and some English paper piecing (the triangle hexagons). A recent finish is this Three Bean Salad quilt (that's what the folks at Cotton Pickin Designs called it - it's their design!).
Three Bean Salad quilt

Hopefully you've had better luck than I when it comes to finding the PBS documentary Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics will be available to you locally. I may have to simply buy the DVDs in order to ensure I can see all nine episodes as I have not yet been able to find the air date and time, or even whether it will air on my carrier, despite numerous attempts.

Regarding the last post, if you want more information on marking with Pilot FriXion(R) pens Tonya did an experiment and blogged about it.


1 comment:

  1. I can understand why you were speechless. I looked through your photos and that is a truly amazing place. Beautiful quilts.
    I love the tile blocks, too. Such a great idea.
    Thank you for sharing your pictures.
    And by the way, your bow tie blocks look great, too!