A couple of weeks before the show i got an email from QuiltCon that my quilt, Modern Improv Sampler, had won a prize in the Small Quilts category. however, they didn't say which place. Luckily, I had already planned to attend the award ceremony. Jacquie Gering was the host and, fortunately, this year the ceremony went off without a hitch. I got my camera ready and took some test photos while waiting for my category to come up. The quilt above is one that I've been admiring on Instagram since last fall, so it was great to see that it won a prize!
And now for the Small Quilts Category. The third place quilt is really amazing! This map quilt, Holyoke 1938 by Timna Tarr, is created with both hand and machine applique. You'll see a photo of the actual quilt later. It depicts Holyoke, MA which is where my mother-in-law is from.
Lines Lost and Found by Jennifer Rossotti won second place. This one is also quite amazing. It was pieced by looking at a design drawn in Adobe Illustrator. I have no idea how you even do that. Such good company for my quilt to be in! When this one was announced I finally knew which place my quilt got!
Oh my, Jacquie called my name and I took a quick photo before going up on stage for a hug. I was sort of a nervous wreck, but happy that I finally knew the outcome and could just go and enjoy the rest of the ceremony!
The last one I want to show from the ceremony is the Best in Show winner, My Brother's Jeans by Melissa Averinos. I knew something about this quilt already because I have been following Melissa on Instagram for a while. The story is very compelling and you can read it in Melissa's own words below. I just want to say that I was thrilled to see this quilt win Best in Show. Not because of the story, but because it's unashamedly improv and uses materials you don't expect to see in modern quilts- worn denim, pretty little calicos, and gold ribbon. It's so different from anything else I've ever seen at QuiltCon just based on the fabrics. It just shows, it's all in how you put it together.
This quilt is made with improvisationally pieced crosses, both in the denim shapes, but also in the pieced background. Here's a list of the characteristics of Modern Quilts that I think this one represents:
- high contrast
- minimalist design
- expansive negative space
- improvisational piecing
- alternate gridwork
I would love to know which category this was placed in initially. The Best in Show is chosen from the top winners in all of the categories. I learned a few things about how QuiltCon in particular is judged by reading some of the blog posts this year. For one thing, the quilts are juried into the show by people who are not the same people who end up judging the entries. I can't find anywhere a list of the jurors, so I suppose they are MQG higher ups who plan the show. The judges were Cheryl Arkison, Lisa Congdon and Scott Murkin. Cheryl has written a marvelous blog post about the judging process if you are interested. It's important to note that the quilt descriptions were not revealed to the judges, only the name of the quilt. Cheryl said there were a handful where they asked for the description to learn about whether a quilt was an original design or the intent of the artist.
I don't think this quilt would ever have been chosen to be the Best in Show at any other juried quilt show. That's what makes this one special. Quilts that show the hand of the maker, the ones that come from the heart, these are the ones that interest me the most. I think this was a brilliant choice and I hope it causes people to rethink the possibilities of judging quilts. Perfection shouldn't be the end goal. Do what you like, try your best and put your heart into it!
Melissa Averinos is a quilter living in Cape Cod, MA. This is her quilt story:
The denim in this quilt is from my brother Michael's work jeans, which I rescued from the dumpster after his suicide in 2009. I improvisationally pieced the crosses, which resemble a variation on the traditional nine patch. The pale ground includes subtle gold and white crosses. Grid quilting creates the echoes of the cross motif, as well as references to my brother's work as a tile installer. I tucked vintage gold ribbon behind some of the tears in the denim. This quilt was a joy to work on, as I love worn materials and find beauty in forgotten and discarded things.
~ machine pieced, machine quilted on a frame, improvisational piecing.
Isn't this a gorgeous ribbon! All the ribbons for the show were handmade by Nicole Daksiewicz. More to come soon I hope. Next up will be the Small Quilt category!