Wednesday 2 October 2019

Modern Quilt Exhibition - my first solo show

I had a pretty exciting week! I had my first solo exhibition in a small atelier house in my home town.

Quilts: Define Gravity, Emerald City Quilt, Regatta, Regatta II, Fade To Grey
My best friend Eva is a founding member of Gruppe 11, which is a diverse group of artists. The group has an atelier house in which they also host exhibitions by their own members as well as regularly by external artists.

My husband and I love the atelier house and go to exhibitions on a regular basis. Early this year I was asked if I would like to exhibit my quilts. Wait, what? Me??? That was my first reaction, that was quite quickly followed by a Oh yes, why not?

Purple Haze                                                                                Define Gravity
Coming up to the exhibition date I had my doubts. Will people be interested in quilts? Are my quilts good enough? And will I have enough quilts to fill the exhibition hall? That actually was my main concern. I wanted to show my best work and work that was truly my own. But with only maybe 20 large quilts in total since I started sewing the choices were very limited.

The Blue One                                                  The Green One
These two mini quilts were made just a couple of weeks before the exhibition. They are called 'The Blue One' and 'The Green One' for the obvious reasons. The log cabin block is currently a real favourite and to interprete that traditional quilt block in a modern way was so much fun.

Quilts: Define Gravity, Porcupine Playground, Connected, Four
In total I was showing eight large and four small quilts. Enough to fill all walls, yay!

It took me a while to figure out how to hang the quilts to picture hooks. After a long search I've found a tutorial here which I adapted a bit.
So all quilts had a 4" sleeve, some just temporarily fixed with pins like the one in the photo above. And then I used a 20mm square timber profile where I srcewed a little hook in. The remaining nylon band was rolled up and put into the sleeve, so no fixing was visible from the front and all quilts hung nicely.

The exhibition was on for one week, respectively two weekends and one week day. I was present at all opening hours and explained to really curious visitors what a quilt actually is, how it's constructed  and the design idea behind every quilt. First I was not sure if people wanted a tour, but everyone enjoyed to hear about the design process.

I also explained what the difference is between a tradtional quilt and a modern quilt. That's me and my October quilt, made from the traditional maple leaf quilt block in typical autumn colours and in a very traditional and geometric arrangement.

I also had everyone to touch this quilt. The quilts exhibited were not to be touched but I knew that there were a lot of people who had never seen or touched  a quilt. And I think a quilt is such a tactile experience, so I thought that was great and everyone truly enjoyed that.

I had descriptions up for every quilt and then a colleague of mine suggested, after I told him that the backs of the quilts are actually also really nice, that I put up pictures of the backs of the quilts. So the next day I printed photos of the backs and put them up and that was a really good idea.

In total there were 82 people visiting the show. I kept a record of it because I was curious how many would come and also how they heard about the exhibition. A good few people came because of newspaper articles, my flyers and Instagram posts and stories.

Quilts: Four, The Blue One, The Green One, Fade To Grey, Splinter, Purple Haze
I had a great time talking to new and experienced quilters, people who had never heard about quilts and were just curious and friends and colleages who knew I make quilts and wanted to see what I'm actually doing.

The best thing actually was an 83- year old patchworker who came and listened to me talking about all my quilts and also shared her experiences. As she left she said to me, that she was so happy that she visited and that she goes home now all inspired and filled with new ideas. I think there is nothing better than your work inspires other people.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and to everyone that came to see my quilts. I first wasn't sure whether that was a good idea or if I would do an exhibition again since there is a lot to do and to organise but it was so worth it. I called this post 'my first solo show' because of I'm asked again, I'll definitely do another!