Thursday, August 4, 2016

quiltmakers, originality, inspiration and tradition

three original quilts, connected by inspiration and tradition
I love it when yesterday's quilts inspire today's quiltmakers. Earlier this year, I enjoyed pictures of a Double Wedding Ring quilt made by Tara Faughnan of Oakland, California. The quilt was a prizewinner in the Handwork category of QuiltCon 2016.

Tara Faughnan's prizewinning Double Wedding Ring quilt
photo: Tara Faughnan
I recognized the inspiration right away, and it made me happy. It was a pair of vibrant, vintage 1970s quilts made of polyester double knit.

1970s polyester quilt, collection of Roderick Kiracofe
photo: The Quilt Complex
One of the quilts was in the collection of Roderick Kiracofe, and the other was part of my collection. Both quilts came from an estate sale in Altadena, California, and both came to the quilt market through The Quilt Complex.

1970s polyester quilt, the Volckening Collection
Faughnan's quilt was a beautiful tribute, an eloquent study inspired by the two vintage quilts. Her quilt was the most visually well-balanced of the three, and she made thoughtful, effective choices in updating and resolving the design. It was today's quilt, made with yesterday's inspiration.

the vintage block was one large unit with a solid square anchoring the center
Faughnan used four smaller units with a four-patch connecting the center
Double Wedding Ring is a traditional design shared by thousands of quiltmakers for almost a century, but if the same pattern was given to 100 quiltmakers, the result would be 100 different quilts. That's the thing about quiltmaking. Inspiration is traditionally shared, but individual makers are always deeply present in their quilts.

Like many other aspects of quiltmaking, originality is often subtle, but it is there if you look closely enough. By putting their own spin on things, quiltmakers show what makes them unique. Thank you to Tara Faughnan and all quiltmakers who would never make the exact same quilt as the next maker.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Upcoming Exhibition

Some news from the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum

July 28 through October 25, 2016
Opening reception 5 - 8:00 pm, Friday August 5 
Monday through Saturday 10-5 pm; Sunday 11-5 pm

Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum
1213 Washington Avenue
Golden, CO  80401
Contact Karen Roxburgh, Executive Director

“New York Beauty quilts are rare – hard to find and harder to make,” says collector Bill Volckening. “They are highly prized and representative of America’s finest patchwork. Over the years, the pattern has been known by a number of names, including Rocky Mountain Road and Rail Through the Rockies.  For this exhibit, Volckening selected an array of quilts which spans a century and a half and demonstrates the enduring popularity of this historic pattern.  New York Beauty quilts are very rare and RMQM is excited to host this beautiful collection.

New York Beauty: Quilts from the Volckening Collection, a book by Volckening is available at the RMQM Gift Shop and provides more insight into this collection.

Rocky Mountain Road is sponsored in part by QUILTmania.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Thank You, Quilters Newsletter!

Quilters Newsletter feature, August/September 2012

Back in 2012, I received this e-mail from Mary Kate Karr Petras, Associate Editor of Quilters Newsletter Magazine:

Dear Mr. Volckening, 
Greetings from Quilters Newsletter magazine! I am writing to let you know that we are interested in featuring you and your collection in a future issue of QN. We would want to interview you, possibly by phone, and also include a number of images of your quilts..."


I wasn't sure how they found me. I had collected for more than 20 years, but nobody knew about it.

When I started sharing the collection through social media, I didn't realize I was doing anything out of the ordinary...but Quilters Newsletter realized. 

Quilters Newsletter feature, August/September 2012

The first feature, "Collecting Beauty" by Mary Kate Karr Petras appeared later that year, along with a pattern for one of the quilts. I was surprised by the generous number of pages devoted to the article. I thought, "They like me, they really like me!"

Quilters Newsletter feature, February/March 2015

In 2015, Quilters Newsletter published another article about my collection. It was about 1970s quilts, and I wrote the article and provided the photos. We planned ahead, and the article appeared at the same time as my special exhibit of 1970s quilts at QuiltCon 2015 in Austin.

Several of my quilts have appeared in other issues of Quilters Newsletter. It's been a pleasure to contribute, and I was always happy to get them whatever they needed right away. 

Quilters Newsletter, December/January 2016,
"Readers' Quilt Show - Celebrate Hand Quilting"
"Cheddar Quilts" by Pepper Cory June/July 2014
Quilters Newsletter, October/November 2015

I pitched ideas, and several of them were picked up and published. Every once in a while I was asked to write an article. The recent feature about Tom Korn was one of those, and I was the one who originally pitched the idea. 

Quilters Newsletter Magazine, April/May, 2016,
"Tom Korn's Remarkable Ribbon Quilts"

Most recently, I wrote an article about the Hawaiian scrap quilts. It's in the latest issue.

"Kalakoa! Surprising Hawaiian Scrap Quilts"
Quilters Newsletter Magazine, August/September 2016.

Quilters Newsletter holds a very special place in my heart. Quilting enthusiasts have enjoyed the magazine for 47 years, but last week, I learned the magazine will no longer be published after the October/November 2016 issue. I was sad to hear the news.

Quilters Newsletter played a significant role in my quilt journey. The magazine also documented the history of quiltmaking during the rise of the quilt industry from the 1970s through today. The catalogue of magazines is, and will continue to be, a valuable historical document. Thank you, Quilters Newsletter. We will miss you, but knowing where to find a complete collection of the magazines, it's not really goodbye!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Modern Patchwork Magazine

The latest issue of Modern Patchwork Magazine is here, and I'm in it! There is a five-page article by Abby Glassenberg, and a review of my new book!

How thrilling! Thank you, Abby, and special thanks to Vivika DeNegre and Barb Brown of Modern Patchwork.