Quilt Odyssey 2010, Part I: The Quilts

August 5, 2010 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

Detail, "Floral Fantasy"

Detail, "Floral Fantasy" by Molly Hamilton-McNally & Cindy Seitz-Krug

The ostensible purpose behind Diane’s visit the weekend of July 23-25 was to attend Quilt Odyssey at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center, but the show wound up being the last aspect of the weekend I wrote about.  I can’t really define that as odd or inappropriate, as certainly the time we spent quilting was more fun, meaningful, and productive than attending yet another quilt show.  Also, I was surprisingly underwhelmed by the show this year, and it’s taken me about a week of mental digestion to figure out why.

The main conclusion I’ve reached is that despite some notable exceptions, it was a great big rerun.  Quilt Odyssey is an amazing, highly selective national show that attracts the top echelon of quilts from all over.  And in its own way, that’s the problem.  It’s ironic that looking at one nearly-perfect quilt after another gets a little… boring?  Not to mention that most of the top shows allow a quilt to be exhibited for two years after it’s completed, so I had seen, either in person or in magazines, most of the ribbon winners before — in some cases, I’d seen them at multiple shows already.

Detail, "Big Bird Blues" by Marilyn Badger and Claudia Clark Myers

Detail, "Big Bird Blues" by Marilyn Badger and Claudia Clark Myers

So, Best of Show was Filigree by Marilyn Badger, just like at AQS Lancaster.  We also saw Hell Freezes Over, by Marilyn Badger and Claudia Clark Myers (which won a blue ribbon at PNQE 2009) as well as Big Bird Blues, by Marilyn Badger and Claudia Clark Myers.  Sensing a theme?

"Wings and Feathers" by Mark Sherman

"Wings and Feathers" by Mark Sherman

The blue ribbon for Large Quilt/Mixed Techniques went to Saffron Spring by Barbara Lies, which won Best of Show at the 2009 Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival (displayed at the 2009 Quilt Fest of New Jersey)  and second place in Other Techniques at the 2009 Quilters’ Heritage Celebration.  That means it beat out one of my favorite quilts ever, Circles of Life by Linda French, which wound up with the red ribbon despite the Best of Show it won at the 2010 Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival.  Another surprise upset was seeing Sieglinde Schoen Smith’s masterpiece, Once Upon A Christmas Night, take second place to Heron Happiness by Kathy McNeil in the Appliqued Wall Quilt category.  But overall, many, many of the quilts on display, and almost all the ribbon winners, were quilts we’d seen before.  In fact, I couldn’t figure out where I’d seen Mark Sherman’s blue-ribbon-winner, Wings and Feathers, until I looked at the latest American Quilter magazine and there it was on the cover.

"Heron Happiness"

"Heron Happiness" by Kathy McNeil

I’m very conflicted about this reaction.  It’s not that I expect the cream of the show quilt crop to limit the number of shows each quilt is entered in.  If I ever make a quilt on that level, I can guarantee it’ll be touring until the clock strikes twelve on its eligibility.  And I was actually grateful to see the domestic- and longarm-machine quilting award winners from AQS Lancaster both on display again at Quilt Odyssey, since the lighting was so poor where they’d been displayed at Lancaster that I hadn’t been able to see the quilting.

Detail, "Darwin's Diamonds and Flowers" by Rhonda K. Beyer

Detail, "Darwin's Diamonds and Flowers" by Rhonda K. Beyer

In general, the display space at Quilt Odyssey is one of the best in the area, between the overall better lighting and the show organizers’ decision to barricade the quilts with a clear tape X that allows the viewer a few feet into the “cubicle,” rather than a chain at the front that keeps you 8′ or more from the furthest-most quilt as in Lancaster.  I have heard some showgoers grumble about the busy carpet pattern in the Hershey ballroom, but I don’t find it distracting; perhaps they’ve seen Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas one time too many?  The location as a whole is a far cry from the bad old days when Quilt Odyssey was held at the Eisenhower Hotel and Conference Center in Gettysburg — the less said about that place, the better!  Plus, Quilt Odyssey is the only show I’ve attended at which the quilt display space and the merchant mall are completely separate from one another.  It creates almost a gallery atmosphere in the quilt exhibit, without the hectic distraction of the vendor booths.  It’s quite nice.

"Explosion of Sunflowers" by Barbara H. Cline

"Explosion of Sunflowers" by Barbara H. Cline would have been my vote for Viewer's Choice.

It’s not that I’m sorry I went, just that I have such high expectations of this show that I was surprised not to be more bowled over by it.  And if I didn’t go to so many quilt shows, I wouldn’t have the jaded, “been there, done that” attitude that I’m concerned may be coming across here:  I can only imagine what my reaction would have been to seeing all those top quilts I’ve just enumerated, for the first time, all in one place!  My brain might have exploded, and that sounds messy.  Does that Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover get gray matter out of cotton?  Better not to find out.

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Entry filed under: Quilt Shows. Tags: , .

Wonderful Things for Retreats Quilt Odyssey 2010, Part II: The Vendors

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