Guest Post by Design Team Member Kerry Ayers Cain
When I first started quilting, I followed patterns and thought of my quilts as useful items. I certainly never thought of them as art or myself as an artist. Even when I started altering the patterns I was working with and then creating my own designs, I still didn’t think of myself as an artist. As with many quilters and mixed media people I know, I downplayed the creativity involved. And I only shared my quilts with family or occasionally at show and tell.
Then about ten years ago, I saw a small local quilt show was having a challenge. Serendipitously, the fabrics in the challenge worked well for a kaleidoscope quilt pattern I had recently designed. So I made it, entered it and actually took second place of the about twenty quilts that were entered. It was a turning point. Although I still didn’t feel like an artist, I decided that I owed it to my own development as a quilter to continue to challenge myself and submit to shows when it seemed appropriate.
At the same time I developed a guiding philosophy for creating work I might submit. I don’t want to worry about the “quilt police” and whether every corner matches and every stitch is exactly the same size and perfectly placed. Such worry definitely spoils my joy in making a piece and can even spoil the design in my head. When I make an item I try to do quality work and I try to do work of which I am proud – but it certainly doesn’t have to be “perfect”. So I may never win any prizes, but I really don’t care as I am not entering for prizes – I am entering to challenge myself and share my work.
I just finished a very challenging queen size quilt. It is a promised wedding present for my son. As he would take any quilt I ever make, I knew a quilt was the wedding present he would want; I just didn’t anticipate that he would want a queen size double wedding ring. But as I was working on it, I realized that serendipity had struck again. This year is the Capitol Quilt Show; a biennial show, sponsored by the Colorado Quilting Council, where quilts by Colorado quilters are displayed in the Colorado State Capitol Building in Denver. As with that first quilt, it seemed fated that I try to finish in time to submit it for that show. After all, as you can see in the following picture only larger quilts display well in the three story capitol building and only larger quilts are accepted. Who knows if I might ever make a qualifying quilt again?
Some 400 hours later, I did get it finished and would love to share a picture, but don’t really have anywhere in my house to take a good picture of a quilt that large. So I would encourage you, if you are in the area or will be traveling here, to see it and the other quilts for yourself. It really is an amazing show. The show will run from July 29th to October 10th and the quilts can be seen any time during normal business hours from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. In case you can’t make it to the show, here is a corner of the quilt that I could get on camera to give you an idea.
Oh – and about that feeling like an artist – I still don’t. Even though I have had a number of quilts displayed in a number of places, both locally and regionally, I still don’t feel like an artist. I have decided that really doesn’t matter. The important thing is to share your work and so I will continue to fake it and share mine. I strongly encourage you to do the same.
Blue Twig Studio – 5965 Whiskey River Dr – Colorado Springs, CO 80923 – USA
Let Your Inner Artist Out To Play
PS from Deb – I have seen this quilt up close and in person and it is a stunning piece of work. The colors are beautiful and the quilting is amazing. Kerry does fabulous work and I encourage you to visit the show if you can. I know that Kerry is an artist!