News Notes from All Over

Art Quilts from Largest Quilt Collection on View

Contemporary Quilts from the James Collection, opening April 3, will present a dazzling sampler of works from the American Art Quilt Movement over the past 20 years. Twenty-seven quilts from the Ardis and Robert James Collection, International Quilt Study Center, University of Nebraska feature some of today's foremost quilt artists including Nancy Crow, Michael James, Jan Myers-Newbury and Faith Ringgold. Organized by Rebecca Stevens, Consulting Curator of Contemporary Textiles, the exhibition is based on an exhibit at the Museum of the American Quilter's Society curated by Penny McMorris with quilt descriptions by Ardis James.

Extraordinary for both its size (almost 1,000 quilts) and its diversity the James Collection began in 1979 with the acquisition of an antique Mariner's Compass quilt. A quilter herself, Ardis James bought the Mariner's Compass quilt on a kind of educated impulse. She knew it was a fine old piece and she wanted to acquire it. Her husband Robert, recalling fond boyhood memories of his mother's quilting, shared her interest in quilts. Soon they were shopping quilt shows together and buying quilts in numbers. Without losing any of their initial interest in the heritage of traditional quilts, the Jameses began to collect contemporary quilts in 1983.

Their first contemporary purchase was a group of six Art Quilts by Michael James (no relation), an artist who taught a workshop Ardis attended in 1975. Michael helped open the Jameses' eyes to the fascinating work being done by contemporary quiltmakers. The Jameses learned that Art Quilts are built on past quilt traditions but they represent a transformation in the history of quiltmaking. Quilts were not just bedcovers, they had become an art form. The Jameses quickly became champions of this new quilt genre.

The Art Quilt Movement traces its roots to the 1970s when a group of artists began to use fabric and needle instead of paint and a brush to express their ideas. Within a short time, a venerable medium became a new mode of expression. Traditional quilt blocks were reinterpreted, enlarged or diminished in size, and often abandoned altogether as in "Suspended Animation" by Michael James and "Opening Moves" by Linda MacDonald. Alternative materials and methods were used to construct Art Quilts. Paint, found objects, and machine stitching were no longer considered inappropriate but were embraced by the artists, as the work of Susan Shie, Patrick Dorman, and Therese May will attest. The movement was nurtured by "fine arts" interests in surface pattern ("#43" by Pamela Studstill), and social commentary ("The Happy Homemaker" by Wendy Huhn and "The Men: Mask Face Quilt #2" by Faith Ringgold.)

Ardis and Robert James's goal has been "to build a broadly-based quilt collection encompassing museum-quality specimens from all time periods." The Art Quilts in the James Collection definitively document quiltmaking's transformation into an art form of our time.

1998 International Quilt Week Yokohama Contest

The International Quilt Week Yokohama '98 will be held from October 22-24 at Pacifico Yokohama Exhibition Hall. This event is organized by the Quilt Week Executive Committee consisting of 8 quilt-related companies.

With this event, the Quilt Week Contest is annually held and it's open to quilters from around the world. The Grand Prize is 500,000 yen (approximately US$3,880) and the top winner of category 1-6 will get 200,000 yen (approximately US$1,552) each. There are many other prizes and total prizes would be worth 4 million yen. The winning quilts will be exhibited at the International Quilt Week Yokohama '98 and may be published in our magazines.

The Quilt Week Miniature Quilt Contest is also held. The size of the miniature quilts for this contest is 50x50cm.

To request the rules and entry forms, please write to: Quilt Week Contest '98 c/o Patchwork Tsushin Co., Ltd. 5-28-3 Hongo Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033 Japan fax:+81-3-3815-7662 patchwork@viq.com


C&T Publishing of Lafayette California has announced a new Teacher's Retreat to take place at St. Mary's College in Moraga, California, June 23-26,1998.

The C&T Publishing Teacher's Retreat is open to teachers, shop owners, and anyone interested in becoming a quiltmaking teacher. "This Retreat aspires to make the knowledge and expertise of authors available to teachers," said Todd Hensley, Publisher. "It also aims to encourage fellowship and goodwill among teachers and to build a greater appreciation for the art of quiltmaking."

The Retreat will be facilitated by Diana McClun and Laura Nownes. According to Diana and Laura, "The C&T Retreat will promote good teaching skills, which the participants can take back with them to further the education of other quilters." Scheduled to teach at the Retreat are Jean Wells, Harriet Hargrave, Joen Wolfrom, Diana McClun, Laura Nownes, Hari Walner, Sally Collins, Alex Anderson, Gai Ferry, and Judy Mathieson, with a special evening lecture by Candace Kling.

The cost of the Retreat is $575.00 and includes three one-day workshops with your selected instructors, three evening lectures, and optional breakout sessions. Price also includes all meals and lodging at the beautiful St. Mary's campus nestled in the Moraga hills of the San Francisco Bay area.

Registration is accepted by mail or fax only. To register please contact Teacher Development Seminars, 130 Byron Drive, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523-4138, or phone/fax 510- 944-6428.

TVQ * Planet Patchwork