Posts Tagged ‘Power Suits Art Quilt Challenge’

This is the first stop on a 10-stop blog hop exploring how quilters and sewists got started quilting and sewing. The complete list of blogs with links is at the end of this post.

Bridesmaid Dress

Linen bridesmaid dress I made from two patterns

I cannot remember a time when I didn’t sew. Whether I was pulling yarn through fabric with a fat, blunt needle or making simple clothes for my dolls, I’ve always worked with fabric to make things. The girls in my family all learned to sew on Mom’s Singer sewing machine. Sewing was a useful skill, and we mastered that along with vegetable gardening and basic cooking. Through middle and high school, I wore some really embarrassing homemade clothes. Tim Gunn would have said they looked like “Happy Hands at Home,” but I was so proud of my creations.

In the early 1980’s, my sister Vicki learned quilting from a friend of hers. Her friend would accept no money for the lessons; she taught quilting on the condition that her students would teach others. Pay it forward. Everything was done by hand with modern tools like sandpaper templates, sharp pencils, and scissors. Vicki and I shared a love of needlework. As soon as she learned to quilt, she taught me.

My first project was a simple navy and white sailboat pattern made with half-square triangles painstakingly hand-pieced and then hand quilted. I made the block into a pillow and gave it to my sister as a gift. The pillow is long gone with no pictures to prove its existence, but I can present my first quilt as evidence of how much I had to learn.

Puff Quilt

My First Quilt

My grandmother made puff quilts; you may know them as biscuit quilts. Nana constructed each puff by hand, pieced them together by hand, and finished the quilts by hand. She cut up nylon stockings for stuffing each puff and used worn out clothing and scraps from homemade clothes for the decorative puff tops. She made a quilt for my brother, working long days to finish it. I had never seen anything so beautiful; oh, how I wanted one. Ultimately, I made my own. I learned so many lessons on that quilt: test any pattern changes you want to make, think things through, and plan. My king-sized, flannel-backed monstrosity of a puff quilt weighs more than a bag of potting soil. Enough said.

Cyndi Souder's Quilt

Power Suited Him, part of the Power Suits Art Quilt Collection

I quickly made the transition to machine piecing and, more slowly, to machine quilting. I took classes that intrigued me and read every book I could get my hands on. I met other quilters and learned something every time we sat down to work together. I had found my people. And I had found my art form. Bodies change and clothing no longer fits; walls don’t outgrow their quilts.

Let's Go! Recently seen at Sacred Threads 2013.

Let’s Go! Recently seen at Sacred Threads 2013.

Now I am a professional quilter. I make art quilts and celebration quilts on commission. I teach art quilting and I’m inspired by my students every time we meet. I travel to give lectures and workshops, and I teach at the IQA Quilt Show in Houston. I realized my lifelong dream of being a published author this spring with the publication of Creating Celebration Quilts.

If I had a week with no responsibilities, I’d quilt. Whether I’d attack my pile of UFOs or start something new, I don’t know. What I do know is this: quilting calms me, excites me, fulfills me, and makes everything right in my world.

Please visit the other blogs on the tour to learn more about how we become who we are: quilters.

Aug 1. Cyndi Zacheis Souder 
Aug 2. Becky Glasby
Aug 3. Cheryl Sleboda
Aug 4. Barb Forrister
Aug 5. Jackie White
Aug 6. Tracy Mooney
Aug 7. Lisa Chin
Aug 8. Laura Krasinski
Aug 9. Catherine Redford
Aug 10. Sylvia Lewis


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Back Corner of the GalleryI took a road trip yesterday. I packed my truck with the 104 quilts of the Power Suits Art Quilt Challenge and I drove them to the Arts Center in Orange, Virginia, where they will be on display from June 7 until July 20, 2012.

The quilts will be shown in three locations: the Morin Gallery at the Arts Center in Orange, VA, the Law Offices of Sean D. Gregg, and the Virginia National Bank. All three locations are just a few steps away from each other.

Quilts to Hang NextThe opening reception is scheduled for Thursday, June 7, 2012, from 5 to 7pm at the Arts Center in Orange at 129 East Main Street, Orange, Virginia. Normal exhibit hours at the Arts Center are 10am-5pm, Monday through Saturday. Most of the quilts will be at this location.

You can find some of the Power Suit Quilts at the Law Offices of Sean D. Gregg, 111 East Main Street, Orange, Virginia. Hours are 9am-5pm Monday through Friday.

Long Wall with QuiltsThe third exhibit location is the Virginia National Bank, 102 East Main Street, Orange, Virginia. Hours are 8:30am-5pm Monday through Thursday; 8:30am-6pm Friday; 9am-noon Saturday.

For more information about the Power Suits Art Quilt Challenge or to find out where the quilts are headed next, visit the Power Suits website.

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Power Suit Exhibit with Spectators

Power Suit Art Quilt Debut

Saturday, October 22, 2011 was a big day. We unveiled Power Suits: An Art Quilt Challenge at Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria, Virginia, to a bustling space filled with artists, family members, friends, and newcomers to the art quilt world.

About the Exhibit

When Judy Gula and I issued this art quilt challenge in April, we could not have predicted the number, variety, or quality of quilts that were sent to us. Every day was Christmas as we opened boxes and registered the 18″ x 18″ treasures! 105 artists responded with 108 quilts, addressing topics as varied and unexpected as playing cards, super heroes, swim suits, ancestors, robots, politics, and animals. And there were, of course, quilts that focused on men’s suits and women’s equivalents to the power suit wardrobe. As our guests moved from quilt to quilt, reading artist’s statements and reacting the artwork, I repeatedly heard comments like, “How did they do that?” and “I would never have thought of that!” Surprisingly, while some topics were addressed by multiple artists, each quilt was unique.

Power in Any Suit by Marilyn Owendoff

Quilts will remain on exhibit at Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria, Virginia, through November 23, 2011. They are available for viewing during shop hours or by special appointment.

Viewers’ Choice

Judy and I agreed to put out ballots for Viewers’ Choice Awards, not to judge the quality of the quilts but to celebrate the reactions the quilts evoked. Thanks to my hubby for that idea. We found that people (read: people who are not quilters but came anyway) seemed more engaged in really looking at the quilts. I loved watching the discussions!
The Viewer’s Choice Made Me Laugh Award went to Marilyn Owendoff for her quilt Power in Any Suit. I watched as people led their friends over to see Marilyn’s quilt. It certainly had lots of people smiling as the bikini-clad body on the quilt clutched her smart phone while enjoying the rays on the beach.
Ellen Flaherty's Quilt

The Real Power Suits by Ellen Flaherty

The Viewers’ Choice Made Me Think Award went to Ellie Flaherty for her quilt The Real Power Suits. The quilt featured three nuns made in the image of her mother, her grandmother, and her great-grandmother. I love the play on words: The Real Higher Power Suit.

The Viewers’ Choice Hands-Down Favorite Award went to, well, me! I created a quilt called Power Suited Him from a portrait of my father. This image of my father has been a favorite of mine and I loved using it for our Power Suit Challenge logo. I tried to develop a different idea for my challenge quilt, but I kept coming back to my father’s picture. I’ll try to blog a little about process later. In response to requests for a class in this technique, I will offer a Studio Tech class in photo-inspired art quilts at Artistic Artifacts in the coming year.  

Cyndi Souder's Quilt

Power Suited Him by Cyndi Zacheis Souder

Exhibit Travel and the Power Suit CD
I’m thrilled to say that our quilts are scheduled to travel! We currently have two quilt shows on our calendar and we are looking for more opportunities to share these treasures with more quilters. If you are interested in showing our quilts, please contact me. We’d love to hear from you!

Look for Power Suit Quilts at these shows:

We’ve created a Power Suit Quilts CD that includes the quilt images and artist’s statements. We’ve included two formats on the CD: a PowerPoint presentation that requires PowerPoint on your machine to view and a PDF that requires Adobe Acrobat Reader (a free download that comes loaded on most machines) to view. These will be available at Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria, Virginia, at the Artistic Artifacts booth at the IQA Festival in Houston, TX November 3-6, 2011, and on the Artistic Artifacts website after the second week in November.

Next Challenge
While we had a captive audience, Judy and I announced our next challenge: Arts & Old Lace!

Arts & Old Lace LogoUnlike the Power Suit Challenge, we’ve limited the number of packets we’re distributing. After the feeding frenzy at the debut, we continued to receive calls for the packets. We’re taking whatever we have left to the IQA Festival in Houston, where I believe they will disappear in a flash. More about the next challenge in a future blog. For now, thanks for following our Power Suits Art Quilt Challenge. We’ve had an unbelievable amount of fun and we hope you have, too!

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