Wednesday, September 19, 2012

McMinn County Living Heritage Museum's Annual Quilt Show

(Above:  One of the historic quilts on display at the McMinn County Living Heritage Museum in Athens, TN.  Click on this or any other image in this blog post for an enlargement.)

Last weekend was wonderful.  The weather was perfect.  Steve did the driving while I stitched and looked out the window on our way to Athens, Tennessee.  We were headed to the McMinn County Living Heritage Museum as I was asked to be a presenter at their annual quilt show.  It was my honor, of course ... as the "Best of Show" and "First Place Art Quilt" winner in last year's event.

(Above:  A selection of my Grave Rubbing Art Quilts, wrapped wooden spools, and business cards in a fiber vessel.)

I was also honored to share the speaking engagement with Julie Jack, gallery director and assistant professor of art at Tennessee Wesleyan College, whose work was also on display in the spacious temporary exhibition space.  (She shared the exhibition with her husband Jerry Hagaman.  The show's title: "Contemporary Interpretations of Traditional Folk Art")  Julie's working with epoxy.  We have lots in common, including interest in Medieval and Renaissance studies and love of fibers.  I can't wait to try some of the ideas for epoxy that her work suggested to me!

(Above:  Me ... speaking to some of the people who came for the quilt show opening.)

It was wonderful to share my work with local quilters and also to have Randall Higgins, a newspaper reporter with Time Free Press, in the midst who snapped a photo and wrote a nice article ... HERE.

(Above:  The McMinn County Living Heritage Museum.  One of the historic rooms featuring a Victorian crazy quilt.  Click on this or any other image to enlarge.)

We arrived with plenty of time to check out the museum.  It was showing an outstanding collection of Victorian crazy quilts and historic applique quilts from their collection and in many of their permanent exhibition spaces.  I love this sort of museum.  They are always filled with all the personal, special, and details of life from a bygone era ...

(Above:  Retail bobbin box.)

 ... like this unique retail container for sewing machine bobbins.

(Above:  Detail from one of the finest Victorian crazy quilts I've ever seen.  Signage listed it as circa 1860.)

I could have spent the entire afternoon admiring the needlework skills on the more than a dozen crazy quilts and another afternoon studying the insane number of quilting stitches on the appliqued quilts.

(Above:  Detail from a Rose of Sharon quilt made by Miriam Alexander (Ragsdale) before her marriage, circa 1840.)

(Above:  McMinn County Living Heritage Museum, detail from a pioneer cabin.)

I took loads of photos ... some of which actually turned out very well.  Hand holding a camera is so difficult when trying to capture the delicacy of hand embroidery.  I uploaded the photos I liked onto a Flickr! set.  There are plenty of nice picture of the crazy quilts and applique.  (It can be viewed as a slideshow as well.)

 (Above:  Steve getting an education at the McMinn County Living Heritage Museum.)

So ... where was Steve while I was drooling over historic textiles?  He was getting an education of his own, complete with recipes!

 (Above:  How to make Moonshine!)

(Above:  Outdoor Adventures' bus unloading rafts for the upper Ocoee River white water course.)

We had time to take some back roads on our return trip, including a winding road up the Ocoee River.  Dozens and dozens of white water rafters and kayakers were enjoying the water.  We just had to stop at the drop in point for the upper course.  It is right near the 1996 Olympic white water course!

(Above:  The dam at the head of the upper Ocoee white water river course.)

The parking lot served as a place for the former school buses to unload the rafts and a place where instructions were given to those brave enough to be headed down river.

After instruction, the rafters carried their vessel down a ramp to the waters immediately below the dam. 

The mist from the dam can be seen in this photo!

Off they go!  Steve and I now really want to try this experience.  One of the many reasons why I blog is the fact that I can store information right where I need it ... like the Internet link to one of the many companies that take people safely down the Ocoee River ... High Country's Outdoor Adventures!

 (Above:  The back of one of my Decision Portraits with rod from Hang Ups stitched in place.)

So ... what new "art" have I been up to lately?  I've been unframing the curated selection of Decision Portraits and preparing them for the upcoming November Quilt's Inc. show in Houston.   All 107 pieces are created on three, edge-exposed layers and were framed.  (Click here for a post of the show in Charleston where they occupied both floors of City Gallery at Waterfront Park.)  Forty are headed to Texas.  All of them will be shown at Vision Gallery in Chandler, Arizona this coming January - March.


It is imperative that the hanging devices work with the lanyards used by Quilt's, Inc.  I learned that their system comes from Hang Ups in Oregon.  Through a series of conversations, I was able to purchase single rods in desired lengths.  I drilled holes in the rods.  This week I've been stitching the rods to the back of the forty pieces ... hiding the stitches so that they don't show on the front.  They are now all packed in boxes and ready to be shipped.   Soon, I'll start doing the same to the remaining pieces ... as this is how they'll all be hung in Arizona.  So ... in a very real sense, this is a WIP (Work in Progress) and oddly appropriate for Nina Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays" project ... which I'll link to this Friday! 


Wanda said...

Wow..everything about the weekend sounds fantastic. I want to go riverrafting too but I'm afraid! The quilts are beautiful, incredible actually. It's sometimes difficult to grasp that they are so old..they are in such great condition mostly! So...does Steve have a new hobby? Are you going to Chandler?

Nina Marie said...

ohhh sounded like so much fun!! And ANYTHING that is creatively driven - probably your whole life (grin) - can make a good post for Off the Wall Fridays!

wholly jeanne said...

what a fun post about a fun trip! amazing needlework, right? i'll bet you could've spent days there without getting bored. (i stitch and drive, too. aren't we lucky to have husbands who are willing to drive?!)