Monday, August 29, 2005

AQS Expo Photos and (snarky) Commentary

Where to start talking about the AQS Quilt Expo in Nashville? Well, ok, first of all I'll tell you that the one other time I went to this show was three years ago. I'd gotten a couple of things accepted into it and it was close enough that Nancy and I decided to pop down for a couple of days and see it. We were unimpressed. Oh, I loved the Opryland resort (which reminds me of a huge, land-locked cruise ship with bigger bedrooms), so I think it's a great venue for a quilt show, but I hated how the show was set up and decided I wasn't especially interested in either entering quilts or attending that particular show anymore. Fast forward to a few months ago, when some friends and I decided to give it another try. We entered the Ultimate Guild Challenge, but didn't get accepted. But then we decided to get together at the show anyway (well, some of us did). I thought with more years at the venue, the show might have improved. Um, no. As a matter of fact, I was even less impressed this year than I was in 2002. Oh, there were some interesting entries, when you could FIND them. But that wasn't easy. Guess I should've paid for the show program after all, huh? As far as I could see, it was pretty much a big vendor mall with a few quilt exhibits scattered around here and there. The space wasn't utilized efficiently, so there was quite a bit of wasted space around the edges of the rooms while the aisles were small enough to be uncomfortably crowded during the busiest part of the day. And the quilts were in odd, scattered locations. The Ultimate Guild Challenge quilts probably had the best location, a fairly nice-sized chunk of the room on the far left side. But the Quilter's Choice category...man, I have to wonder if those quilts are going to smell funny when their owners get them back. They were waaaaaay back in the rear of the room, right next to the food court. I almost missed them because I'd been avoiding that part of the room because it smelled so bad. Seriously. As it was, when I realized where they were I walked through them VERY quickly, not stopping to look at even the really good ones as long as I normally would have because I just couldn't stand to be there for long. (I wonder what the hell they were cooking back in the food court. Sweat sock soup maybe?? Whatever it was, I didn't eat it!!) A couple of the other exhibits were in a long, narrow space on the right side of the room. There was one exhibit (something about favorite traditional blocks) that I missed. I have absolutely no idea where it was, but I didn't see it. I so wish AQS would re-organize that show, both in set-up of the entry categories and in the way the exhibits and vendors are arranged. That venue has so much potential, but as it is I have my doubts about the long-term viability of the show if they don't make some changes. A lot of the vendors didn't seem happy. A lot of the show attendees didn't seem happy. It's a shame. But anyway, I promised some pictures, so here ya go --- a few things I found interesting and/or funny at the Expo. (There are others I liked that I didn't photograph because Nancy did, so maybe I'll post more later after we share.) If you want to see the winner's list along with "official" photos of some of the quilts, you can check out the AQS website. I mostly took photos in the Ultimate Guild Challenge area because I found it the most interesting. Here's a photo of Gerrie's quilt, showing it's prime location within the group, right next to the group sign. I actually have a pic of me next to the quilt, acting as Gerrie's Quilt Stunt Double, but I refuse to share it because I was moving and talking and I look like a demented cow. Some day I will learn to stand still, smile, and shut the hell up when someone points a camera at me. Maybe. "I've Got Your Number" by Gerrie Congdon And here was my favorite quilt from a group of New York Beauty quilts made by a group in Maine. (A group Deborah belongs to, but joined too late to do this challenge.) "Affinity" by Stacie Mann There was a group from Louisville, Kentucky, who did a bunch of funny (punny!) cat quilts and these were two I thought were especially clever: "Cathouse Cats" by Ellen Rabeneck (I hope that name is right. I'm getting these names from the signage in the photos and some of them aren't as clear as I'd like.) "Kitty Litter" by ??? (can't read this one at all, I'm afraid!) There was a guild who did quilts based on gift bags and this was the one I liked best from that lot. "Stripes, Dots, and Flowers" by Charlotte Noll To be honest, I forget what the theme of this next group was, but I really liked this particular quilt. "A Glimpse of the Promised Land" by Robin Haller And this one was made by a friend of my friend Morven. It's from a Kentucky Heritage Quilt Society group challenge about pardoxes. Not having bought a program, I can't figure out what's paradoxical about this quilt, but I like it. "Poison Ivy" by Cindy Vough And finally, these next three are from the guild challenge that was my personal favorite - the Diptych Challenge, by a group in New York. This one was fun: "Sun in the Morning, Moon at Night" by June Thompson But my two favorites were this very busy and funky one: "He's Changed Since We Got Married" by Barbara Held and this very spare and lovely one: "Fractured Sunset" by Linda Abrams With apologies to any guild members who might ever read this, I didn't care for the winning group at all. It was a group of 25th anniversary quilts made by some quilters in Tennessee. There were a couple of quilts within the group that were interesting to me, but I found the group as a whole MUCH less interesting and creative than some of the other entries. It's one of those times when I don't get what the judges were thinking at all. Sorry. So I didn't take any pics of those. As I was speeding through the stinky Quilter's Choice area, I managed to snap just a couple of photos. This is "Dispersion" by Carol Taylor. LoveLoveLove her quilts. And this last one, well, I just don't quite know what to say about it. And the photo really doesn't give the true effect, but I hope you get a vague idea of what it was really like and why I needed a picture. I think it should have been titled "HaHaHa, I Have A Bedazzler And You Don't". Ahem. "Eye of the Universe" by Candy Mahaffey

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