Each quilt submitted for the exhibition was juried by quilting experts in the region, including Colleen O’Neill from Cornish, New Hampshire, Nola Forbes from St. Johnsbury, Vermont, and Jen Daly from Grantham, New Hampshire. Each juror selected one quilt to receive a Juror’s Choice Award. The awards were presented at the opening reception on Friday, June 2.
Linda Diak of Chester, Vermont
Raw edge appliqué, free-motion/ruler work, machine quilted
This quilt rules the roost with a handsome, poised, and challenging rooster. He fixes you with his stare and doesn’t back down. But as you look closer and take in the incredible detail of the fabric and stitchwork, you will also see the sadness in his eyes. Diak explained that “when the pandemic hit and online communities began to devolve, I wanted to make a quilt of ruffled feathers to illustrate that tension.” She found her bird in the photograph of an attitudinal rooster that she discovered on Unsplash, a free stock image website. Diak tracked down the German photographer Finn Mund for permission and he has since followed the creation of the piece.
Through incredible skill, planning, and meticulous attention to detail, Diak captures the beautiful plumage of the rooster, the intensity of his stare, and most poignantly, his attitude. She takes traditional featheredappliqué to new levels, achieving both depth and dimension. Beyond the beautiful craftsmanship, her powerful imagery sums up feelings and frustrations that were shared by the whole world through the pandemic.
Liberated Log Cabin
Susan Damone Balch of Reading, Vermont
Machine pieced, applique, machine quilted
This piece pushes and pulls the sensibilities. The mismatched designs and chaotic elements are balanced by the soothing blue, gray, and black color scheme. Balch comments that “no pattern or templates are used, and the design is not predetermined. It is spontaneous, intuitive, improvisational, and FUN!” The liberated log cabin breaks away from conventional square or diamond repeating shapes of traditional log cabin quilts.
When observed from different distances, this quilt changes drastically. Up close, there are beautiful details and compositions and an invitation for each person to find their favorite sections. At a middle distance, the canvas becomes an optical illusion challenging the brain to fit the puzzle pieces together. From afar, the repeating patterns emerge, helping to ground the design with familiar repetition. The colors of the fabric and appliqué stitching pulls everything together into this masterful piece. Balch teaches “Liberated Quilting” Workshops at the Fletcher Farm School for the Arts & Crafts in Ludlow, Vermont.
A Simple Life
Patricia Ploof of Chester, Vermont
Machine pieced, appliqué, Machine quilted by Carolyn Niesuchouski
The title describes well the sweet collection of items that adorn this quilt. Each image symbolizes beauty in nature and creates a sense of home and comfort. The bright, yet serene colors and sensible composition complete the scene for a beautifully designed work of art. Ploof’s love of machine appliqué is apparent in her methodical, yet free flowing stitchwork that surrounds each item. The waves of appliqué lines add depth and show the quilter’s hand at work in a cathartic release. Additionally, Ploof wanted to recognize the work of Carolyn Niesuchouski who did the machine quilting.
Juror Coleen O’Neill commented “I was drawn to this quilt by the warm and soft colors of the browns and turquoise. The visual impact was pleasing and well-balanced. The appliqué was well-executed. There is an incredible amount of work in this beautiful quilt. I appreciate the hours and patience required to put it all together. This quilt called, “A Simple Life,” was a true labor of love.”
Susan Leventoff of Windsor, Vermont
Hand pieced, hand embroidered, hand quilted
While this may be called a crazy quilt, this compilation exudes a peaceful and familiar quality. The soothing colors and the choice of fabric along with the 3-D elements of the embroidery and beading evoke the feeling of a fond memory. There is a beautiful story and poem that accompanies the quilt about the day Leventoff met her husband. She comments that “the fabrics in the quilt are from his shirts, ties, denim jeans, some scraps from my cloths, and bandanas from our beloved dog, Oso.”
The incredible display of color and design of the artfully crafted quilts adorning the Billings Farm Historic Barn will be on display through July 23. Billings Farm & Museum is pleased to present this unique and vibrant contemporary art form while reflecting on the historical significance of quilting in rural American heritage. The display features quilts made by Windsor County quilters, a locale that boasts a richness and breadth of creative talent and harbors a strong quilting community. Exhibitors will be joined by The Heart of the Land Quilters Guild whose challenge quilt theme featuring “The Beatles” gives a nod to 1960’s era rock. There will be quilting demonstrations, activities, a quilting book nook for all ages, and a scavenger hunt to challenge guests. The exhibition is included in the price of admission. Tickets are available for purchase in advance or at the door. Billingsfarm.org/quilt-exhibition.