by Mary Jo
Quilting is a very ancient skill, probably dating back to ancient Egypt and introduced to Europe by returning Crusaders. It's wonderfully practical for warmth, or protecting a knight from chafing armor.
These days we usually associate quilts with lovely cozy bed coverings, but they've also evolved into a beautiful form of craftwork. A friend of ours is a honcho in the Baltimore Heritage Quilters Guild and she always notifies us of the guild's biennial quilt shows. It's a treat to visit the shows, which are held in sprawling school gymnasiums, and only held every two years because it takes time to create new work. (I blogged about the last show two years ago--the quilts are too pretty not to share!)
As the Mayhem consultant said when we visited the show, there weren't many of the cuddle-under-in-winter type quilts. Most were beautiful art pieces of various sizes, like modern tapestries designed to be hung on the walls. There were hundreds of quilts, and the show was so visually dazzling that it was impossible to take it all in.
I attended the show to appreciate, not buy, but I succumbed to this guy. Carol, the artist who made him, is part of a small group of quilters who like to do challenges together. (It made me think of the frontier quilting bees, where women gathered to socialize and make quilts.)
This group decided to do a mosaic challenge using a material that bonds to fabric on both sides with the heat of an iron. First the pattern fabric is chosen and bonded, then mosaic squares are cut out, positioned on the backing fabric, and bonded with another ironing. Then Carol did the quilting--sewing the patterned fabric to the final backing making sure that every square was sewed down. A lot of work, but such a wonderful result!
We visited the show on the second day and I was really surprised that this piece, which is about two feet square, hadn't been snapped up by someone else. But no, he was waiting for me! The official title is "Scary Cat," but the immediate reaction of me and any other cat people was "Scaredy Cat."
See that anxious expression in Quilt Cat's eyes? He's asking, "Will you be my friend?" In fact, he looks like our newest adoptee, The Spook, who has a similar anxious expression. Poor Spook hung out at a feral colony for a long time after he lost his first home. When you live rough, you survive by being wary, and he's understandably concerned. (He's getting over that. I found him on the dining room table a couple of days ago and he had that cross eyed anxious expression, but he didn't look the least bit guilty. <G>)
There were so many wonderful different designs. This one is a beckoning doorway to magical new places.
My friend Natalie did a marvelous marvelous quilt made up of squares based on photographs from her backyard after an ice storm. It's so evocative and cold looking! Here's a detail.
I loved the one below of the female figures. Haunting.
I also really enjoyed this playful one called "Fish Gotta Swim."
There were many, many more beautiful pieces. Here's a church in the vale.
Are you a quilter? Or a lover of quilts? Have you ever had a beloved quilt that offered you comfort and warmth when you needed it? Would you like to own one of these? If so, which one?
By luck, I found this BHQG which has pictures of all the pieces in the show. Feast your eyes here!
Mary Jo, adding one last brilliantly covered quiltwork