Monday, April 7, 2014

Spreading the Word at the Central Alberta Quilters' Guild Show

Since moving to this part of Alberta, I've made a point of getting to the Central Alberta Quilters' Guild Show each year, if possible.  This year I had an ulterior motive.  With my new 'SAQA Co-Rep' hat on, I planned to take over a table in the refreshment area for two hours each of the two days of the show -- April 4 and 5 in the Parkland Pavilion at Red Deer's Westerner Park.

I took SAQA publications -- such as Portfolio 16 and Art Quilt Portolio: People and Portraits -- and show catalogues, such as Art Meets Science, Sightlines, and those from our two Western Canadian shows, Meet the Best of the West and The Burgess Shale.  I also took a cello-wrapped copy of Portfolio 17, for which I held a free draw.

A View of the Table - Day 2 of the Show
The artwork you see in the above photo was what I was working on while I waited for folks to drop by and say "Hi!"  I needed to get facings and labels sewn down and sleeves sewn on for an upcoming show and sale, so I brought them along.

I admit, though, I didn't get much stitching done during my table time -- between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day.  As the noon hour approached, people came in looking for seats and I invited them to join me, have a cookie, look at the books (with clean hands, please!), sign my 'guest book' (the front page of the orange binder) and put their name in for the copy of Portfolio 17.

On Friday, SAQA member Helene Blanchet stopped by for a mini-meeting.  She is one of three members who make up my "feet on the ground" in Calgary as we plan a September Parlour Meeting/workshop day, and she had some questions for me.  Her enthusiasm for the event and for SAQA was palpable -- and as we chatted, numerous quilters came to join us.  Even after Helene left to enjoy the show before heading home, the bodies in the chairs around my table came and went.  No other members showed up -- just people looking for a seat who found themselves surprised by the content of the publications and the names they recognized in the Western Canada exhibit catalogues.  One gal even texted her friend, SAQA member Christine Wiggett, who was unable to be there that day, to enthuse about the table, the books, the artwork, and meeting me!

On Saturday, the scenario was similar -- no members visited (though I ran into a couple after I'd closed up shop), but many quilters stopped by, including several I knew from my years in Calgary. On both days, the SAQA WC exhibit catalogues were the most popular books at the table. It was a bit of old home week, and I did a lot of public education about SAQA and art quilts in general.

My big surprise on Saturday was a visit from a fellow I've known since our days at the Alexandra Writers' Centre Society, where we both served on the board. Bob and his wife, Carol, have recently returned from the better part of a year in the United Arab Emirates.  Although he was working on a contract there, they spent a great deal of time travelling in the area, and he kept up a great blog, with beautiful photos.  I have been blessed with permission to use some of them as inspiration in my work.  Carol took this photo of us at the show, with a piece I had with me at the time:

Margaret, Bob, and "Across the Road"
One of our Western Canada members who didn't get a moment to stop by the table was Wendy Greber.  She is a fixture in the Central Alberta Quilters' Guild, and every year provides a polished and professional presence as the key Master of Ceremonies, announcing door prizes, up-coming demonstrations, lost items (from children to credit cards to car keys) and the like.

She also enters pieces in the show, such as this hand-applique, machine-pieced beauty:

Wendy calls this piece "I've Been Everywhere" because it was carried along on her extensive travels as her go-to handwork project.  I believe she said it took 15 years to get it finished in this stitch-on-the-go manner.  During those years, though, Wendy took classes from the likes of Gloria Loughman and others, and is now moving into the world of art quilting.  One of her pieces -- Alberta Trees 2 -- is in the "Meet the Best of the West" exhibit, which finishes its two-year tour as part of "Western Threads", opening to the public on Saturday, April 12, at the Royal Alberta Museum.

It's not surprising that, living in this area, Wendy is fond of trees -- in particular the poplar aspen that are so prolific here.  Her beautiful rendition of these trees won her a first place red ribbon and "Best in Show: Art/Innovative Quilt" on Saturday:

Wendy Greber with her winning entry
Congratulations, Wendy!

NOTE: You can learn more about Wendy on our SAQA WC Featured Members page (scroll down).  :-)

My day ended at home with the drawing of the winner of the copy of Portfolio 17 I had on display at the SAQA WC table.  Ann B. of Red Deer, a member of the guild and volunteer at the show is the lucky recipient.   All in all, it was a rich and full weekend, and I'm glad so many people -- quilters and non-quilters alike -- got to learn a wee bit more about SAQA and the studio art quilt in the process.

Psst! Going to any quilt shows this season?  Let your SAQA WC Co-Rep know!  Perhaps she can join you -- or give you some cards/brochures to take along.  Spread a little studio art quilt love where-ever you go!

No comments:

Post a Comment