Quilt Show Review: The Art of the Quilt

By Carol Miller


What a pleasure it was to discover the Art of the Quilt, a local invitational quilt show, held October 16-November 30 in Martinsville, VA. Award winning machine quilter, Linda Fielder, organized the show, inviting quilt artists she admired to submit their works. The result was a tiny jewel, set in the Piedmont Arts Association building where quilts were treated like the finest works of art.

As guest curator, Linda was asked to include representations of all the quilting forms - from traditional to contemporary. She also included some stunning pieces of wearable art, not the least of which was her coat covered with her trademark thread painted flowers. Displayed to stunning advantage on a mannikin, the temptation to try it on was almost overwhelming.

The quilts ranged from a Christmas sampler containing both pieced and appliqued blocks, through traditional applique samplers, pictoral quilts, totally freeform creations, pieces with hand-dyed fabrics, pieces with snippets sewed on or voile laid over them all the way to a stunning optical illusion quilt by Karen Combs.

The 41 artists represented were limited to the Southeastern States and included such well known names as Georgia Bonesteel, Susan Brittingham, Carol Britt, Marge Edie, Lois Smith and Darra Williamson.

Did I love them all? No, I have to admit that some of the more modern ones left me wondering what the artist had been thinking. Other pieces left me simply breathless in admiration. But the real joy was seeing quilts displayed as art, well hung, well lit and even launched on their way with a catered affair complete with wine. A large crowd attended and was suitably impressed, even though they were NOT quilters.

Hooray for Martinsville, a tiny town in a depressed part of our state that had the courage to build a wonderful community gallery and then to invite Linda to stage the first Biennial Invitational Quilt Show! Mark your calendar for the fall of 2000 - they're going to do it again.

Carol Miller is an occasional contributor to TVQ. She is webmistress of the Virginia Consortium of Quilters and can be reached at webmistress@vcq.org .


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