Sunday, June 6, 2010

North Carolina Quilt Symposium 2010

North Carolina Quilt Symposium 2010 in Charlotte was fabulous! Here are some highlights of symposium, and I'll start with last night’s “Iron Quilter” event. Celebrity quilters Laura Wasilowski, David Taylor and Elin Waterston were the judges of this event, which was roughly based on “Iron Chef” reality TV show, only with fabric substituted for food, and quilting substituted for cooking.
We all got chef’s hats when we arrived in the auditorium. 
My good friend Grace Howes looked very fetching in hers. Grace was one of the co-chairs for the event, and in charge of procuring all the fabulous teachers. What a huge job, and she performed it with her usual charm, positive attitude and good humor.
The competition pitted Karen Stone, a.k.a. Chef Daisy Blade, against Robbi Joy Eklow, a.k.a. Chef Goddess of the Last Minute.
A video presentation, which played on a screen above the set, set the scene and introduced the teams.
Robbi Joy holds up a humungous pair of women’s underpants (each of the judges was given a pair) while her sous chef, Leah Day, looks on. Leah is a very talented quilter from Shelby, North Carolina, and she won four ribbons at the Symposium Quilt Show, including Best of Show and Best Machine Quilting.

The underpants were an inside joke from the opening ceremonies. One of the teachers shared with us that her 3-year-old granddaughter had gone into the bathroom with her at a store and made a comment about how HUGE her underwear were. So underwear got to be the unofficial theme of the event. The ones Robbi Joy is holding in the photo above got snipped and made into a faux tossed salad during the competition.

Elin made the undies into a fashionable vest, and modeled it for the audience.
Robbi Joy and her assistant got right to business preparing an entree, appetizer and dessert from two “secret ingredient” fabrics and other fabrics and embellishments brought from home. Robbie turned some fish fabrics into sushi, pan-fried trout, and fish ice cream (this last one was not so popular with the judges).
Karen Stone and Leah pose as the show starts. Karen managed to piece and stitch several beautiful blocks in her signature style.

Robbi Joy’s team presents their finished dishes to the judges. This is the last photo I took at this event, because I was ducking for cover when the whipped cream pies started flying. Almost no one involved got out of there without whipped cream down her shirt front or in her hair. I was sitting in the front row, and managed to escape the flying debris.

Johnson and Wales University is a fairly new facility in the heart of uptown Charlotte. The dorms were clean and functional, and everything was within easy walking distance.
The classrooms were large, well lit, and well air conditioned (which was good, because man, was it hot this weekend!). This is the class I took, and you can see that we brought a lot of stuff with us and quickly made ourselves right at home. 
Students of Laura Wasilowski’s Chicago School of Fusing had pressing matters to attend to…
and could purchase Laura’s hand-dyed fabrics, threads and patterns.
The hall outside Velda Newman’s classroom was littered with trout bodies and flower petals painted in her “Quick and Easy Painting Techniques” class.
Elin Waterston strikes a pose before her class got started. Can you tell that Elin’s been dancing and acting since she was a wee lass? I had the pleasure of being Elin’s “teacher buddy” for the weekend and enjoyed getting to know her better. We are both natives of Pittsburgh, Pa., but went to different high schools and didn’t know each other then. Later we found out that we have friends in common, including a guy who was Rolf to my Liesel in our high school production of The Sound of Music (how’s that for six degrees of separation?).
 I showed Elin’s photo to Terry White, and she decided to one-up Elin by getting cozy with her quilts. What a sweetheart Terry is. I have admired her amazing thread painting for years.
Of course, Pat Sloan had to take a break and talk to her thousands of Facebook friends!
 Paula Scaffidi talks with her students about needle felting. 
 Cynthia Corbin critiques DebbyHarwell’s fabric choices in the class I took called “Structure and Variation.” We started with what Cynthia calls a “black fabric sketch,” which is a black rectangle cut into simple pieces (you can see Debbie’s at the top left), then played with different values of fabric, and experimented with arrangements and design variations. Cynthia was a wonderful teacher, and very patient. 

I took this class because I thought it would be a challenge for me to work in a different style and technique than I usually do. It was. I’ll share more on this in a later post. 
These are the funky creation of my fellow student, Lise. Aren’t they fun? 

Symposium was a wonderful way to spend time with my quilting friends, make new ones and learn new things. And guess what? Next year, I get to do it again, only then, I’ll be teaching! I’ve been asked by North Carolina Quilt Symposium 2011, which will be hosted by the Capital Quilters Guild in Raleigh. I don’t know yet what I’ll be teaching, but I’ll have more details soon.