Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Whole Lotta Inspiration

Gwen Marston has been a huge inspiration to me ever since I stumbled upon her {and Freddy Moran's} 'Collaborative Quilting' book back in 2006. Without having ever heard of her, I bought the {rather expensive} book on a whim after simply flipping through it at a quilt store! Since then, I have bought several of her books and read them all completely through. Several times. What an incredible quilter!
Color Study Quilt by Gwen Marston
So when Sharon, over at Grass Roots Quilt Studio, mentioned a Gwen Marston exhibit here in Washington State, I was beyond excited. Surely I could fit in a visit sometime in the two month window! And yay! just this past weekend, I convinced my husband to take a slight detour previous to a family obligation near the area. LaConner Quilt & Textile Museum was only about an hour out of the way {but added up to several hours total by the end} and was totally worth the visit! At least to me. My husband sat out in the car and caught up on a couple phone calls. What a sweetheart.
Quilt by Gwen Marston
So many have taken Gwen Marston classes {or sat through a lecture} and raved about the experience on their blogs. Not having that opportunity has made me sad, but I have to say, looking at Gwens quilts in person was very moving. The sheer personality and life in her quilts is quite incredible, especially when you consider the subtle ways she uses simple form and color. It's brilliant really.
Quilt by Gwen Marston
There were two other exhibits in the museum at the same time, Sharon Tucker on the first floor, and Charlotte Bird and Ree Nancarrow on the top floor. All really, beautiful work that I'm so glad to have the opportunity to have seen. Sharon's tiny little piecing and wonderful use of color, Charlotte and Ree's fabulous stitching and thought provoking works--all wonderful stuff! But honestly, Gwen's quilts are what made my heart melt. Sorry guys. She's my hero when it comes to quiltmaking!
Quilt by Gwen Marston
I stared and stared at the stitching and considered how much texture it gives to her quilts. Roamed around the museum and then came back for another look. Pondered the many hours of work involved and was charmed by the human element in the piecing and stitching. Marveled over the fact that these simple quilts could be so intensely compelling to me and wondered if I, personally, could ever learn to incorporate elements of real connection through my own quilting efforts! Any sort of comparison kinda makes me feel like the dunce in the corner, if you know what I mean.
Quilt by Gwen Marston

The cheapest quilt was $4000 so I only bought three of them. haha  Just kidding. But I did buy her latest book which had all the exhibit quilts included. Figured I could splurge on a souvenir of such a great day.
Quilt by Gwen Marston
So jealous of all you quilters who have access these kinds of great quilt showings on a regular basis! Thank you to the many who share online though, as it gives us rural quilters an opportunity to get the occasional glimpse of a larger quilt world....

*The gal at the museum said it was perfectly alright to upload photos of these quilts on my blog provided I give credit to the maker. It didn't seem right to post a pic of every quilt though so you'll have to visit the exhibit to see them all.*wink

27 comments:

  1. I love Gwen and Freddy's quilts and have both books too! What a fun filled day!

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  2. Audrey I am with you, I have and possibly never will get to be in a Gwen class but her books and your writings bring me a little closer. I admire perfect piecing and orderly quilting but my eye just slides over it all. However when faced with the oh so slightly wonky but still cleverly curated piecing of Gwen Marston and many others of her ilk my heart really does smile. I think that is why I am drawn to your blog and quilts, you do have an eye for the colour and placement of your appliqué. Thank you for sharing those lovely images, and put me down for a dozen of Gwens quilts......in my dreams...sigh!

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  3. How wonderful that you got to see the exhibit!! I haven't been to it yet, but I've seen some of her quilts before. You are so right--they are vibrant and alive in person.

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  4. glad you got to see it - too bad you couldn't get one quilt LOL - I wouldn't have been able to either - I do not have any of her books.

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  5. I'm so thrilled you were able to get to the museum and see these little gems! I'd like to get up there to see Sharon's quilts, but we'll see how the rest of winter goes.

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  6. Some of these I've seen before, but your photos are better, so thank you! I haven't seen that pink one -- it looks like silk or shot cotton -- lovely! Every time I see these quilts I have some new inspiration. Great post!

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  7. Gwen is my hero, too. She has an iquilt class that is the closest I will get to having taken a class with her. So awesome to hear her voice and watch her hands ... Thank you for sharing your photos and your deep appreciation for her work. Made my day!

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  8. How fortunate you were able to see the quilt exhibit. I wish I was able to attend. Like you, I've enjoyed reading several of her books but have never taken a class. And now it's too late. A lesson to "do it now."

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  9. Gwen is such an amazing quilter! I am so thrilled for you, that you got to see her exhibit. I am sure seeing these quilts I person is an inspiring experience. Thank you for sharing, I don't think I will make it. lol

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  10. So wonderful that you saw Gwen's quilts up close & 'in the flesh'. I was very lucky to attend a one day class with her in Melbourne, and it was exciting to be able to view a few of her quilts and hear her speak about her quilt making.

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  11. Lucky you to have a Gwen exhibit close enough to visit. In person! The closest I've come to her quilts are in books and on blogs -- which is better than nothing but not like being near the real thing!

    You wondered if you "could ever learn to incorporate elements of real connection through my own quilting efforts!" Don't you think we're all on a continuum toward making that connection. Some of us newer quilters are much further away than those who are more experienced. But I think your quilts do make connections, Audrey.

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  12. like others I love Gwen`s quilting and envious that you have seen all thse lovely quilts, I do have her liberated quiltmaking 11 book think I must get it off the shelf today and have another browse.

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  13. Wonderful quilts, thanks for sharing.

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  14. The pictures of the quilts are beautiful, I wish I could see them. Maybe i should invest in books to see those quilts.

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  15. How lucky to be able to see some of Gwen's quilts in person! You will be dreaming about her quilts for weeks to come!

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  16. It is really interesting to see how Gwen's quilting has evolved over the years. I've had three of her very early books from the 1980s and early 90s when she focused on traditional quilting designs. Fascinating quilting career. How wonderful to see some of her latest work in person.

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  17. Gwen is a gem for sure. Here quilts always make me smile. I have followed her since she wrote a column (along with her partner Joe Cunningham) for Lady's Circle Patchwork Quilts (oh how I miss THAT magazine!) and her work continues to fill me with joy. Just as YOURS do! Thanks for sharing. So happy that you got to go.

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  18. What a thrill for you to get to experience Gwen's quilt in real life. I'm sure the time you spent will influence your future quilts.

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  19. I saw these in person last year - aren't they something!

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  20. Fellow Gwen groupie here who would swoon if I ever got that close to her quilts in real life! I do adore her books though. Love your new blog look! How fun for spring.

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  21. Wow! Your pictures are amazing! So glad you could see them from up-close. There is so much inspiration in her quilts and books. I am curious to see how this influences your work too.

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  22. I thank you so much for showing these fabulous quilts - not sure I'll ever get to see a Gwen show or take a class. You know, you already express so much of yourself and your talent through your quilts - don't sell yourself short!

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  23. So glad you got over to see this exhibit. Gwen's work is mesmerizing. I see something new every time I revisit her books. Don't sell yourself short, I see a lot of creativity in your work, and I enjoy seeing your posts. You inspire many. Thanks for sharing your day out!

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  24. Loved seeing these photos, thanx for sharing! How interesting to see these different nearly all-solid quilts, something I need o explore at some stage.

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  25. I've never taken a class with Gwen or seen her speak, but I loved seeing these same quilts in person at VQF last year. I walked through twice, and like you, I was so moved!

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