On Friday, Auntie Bridgett took the day off from making art and went with me on an adventure. We took the number 15 bus downtown, walked over to the Yellow Line Train, and rode clear to the end of the line.
There was some drama on the train, as a few people with mental health issues were being loud and a little scary, but Trimet Security folks came and calmed them down and got them off the train. After they all went on their way, we breathed more easily and the train continued north.
Inside the Expo were hundreds of quilts by scores of quilters, as well as demonstrations of the latest sewing machines and gadgets. Auntie Bridgett tried the ABM International Innova embroidery machine, which you drive sort of like a motorcycle! It is bigger than our sofa, and costs a lot more.
We found a whole series of quilts by Virginia Hammon, called “Money Quilts”. They are all perfectly pieced and machine quilted, and all say something about money, politics, and humanity. These aren’t just pretty quilts: these are politically informed art.
I saw quilts that I had noticed and photographed last year, like this lovely map-looking one called “Bee Good, or Be Hungry”, also by Virginia Hammon.
As with all good art, the more I looked, the more I saw. There was a barren white section, quilted in tight city blocks, representing the city. As the city gave way to suburbs and countryside, more colors were introduced and the quilting became looser. The message was clear: make room for bees, or do without their help.
Along with these very contemporary quilts were Victorian Crazy Quilts from around 1903, found in people’s grandparents’ attics. I love the combination of piecing and embroidery, and the any-way-it-falls- piecing technique. I may need to get out Great Grandma Billie’s velvets and Ruth Andresen’s silks and do something.
I was inspired by so many techniques! The raw-edge machine applique I saw last year has gotten more impressionistic, looking like landscape paintings. I want to use this on my Portland quilt this winter.
Realistic, moving portraits show how quilting and painting can be combined.
There was more to see and interesting people to talk to, and I will tell you about the tomorrow!