1st Cypress Creek Quilt Guild Quilt Show Covers the Garden in Colorful Beauty

Bright Beginnings from Our Garden, the 1st biennial Cypress Creek Quilt Guild (CCQG) Quilt Show and Charity Auction was held on Saturday, March 1st at the USF Botanical Gardens. If a better site or better day could have been found to host this event, CCQG would have been hard pressed to find it. It was a rare, perfect spring-like day, sunny but breezy, and the previous day’s rain did not revisit. Flowers very lightly scented the air as quilts hung between trees swayed in the breeze, their colors sharper than the surrounding growth making this a very different sort of quilt show.

The CCQG (www.cypresscreekquilters.com or call Joyce Bartholomew at 813-343-8197) meets on the first Tuesday of each month from 6:30 to 8:30 and encourages anyone interested in the quilting arts to attend. Their next meeting will be on April 1st at the Willow Bend Community Church, 2541 Henley Road in Lutz. Only four years old, they had the gumption to put on a full scale quilt show including a charity auction, outside vendors, gift shop and two book signings. This takes an amazing amount of womanpower and enthusiasm. What is even more amazing is that they managed to bring this event together in just over four months.
“We’re a young group and growing,” Diane Juranko, co-chair of the event said. “No one should feel intimidated or less than or better than anyone else. Everyone should feel welcome. There is always something new out there [to learn or do]. Our goal is to educate and improve. Quilting is becoming an art form. We have a lot of newbies [beginners] and a lot of more experienced quilters. We all have a good time.” This inclusive attitude carries over into everything the CCQG does. Members and potential members are encouraged to come and enjoy, pick each other’s brain, pick up new skills and work together towards common goals. Quilters of all levels are encouraged, from the newest beginners barely able to hold a needle and thread to the most sophisticated piecework or appliqué artist.

Although this was not a juried show, the level of expertise was high and the variety of techniques was vast. At a juried show, experts rank the quilts according to difficulty of design, aesthetics of color combination and quality of workmanship. The guild felt that a juried competition would be discouraging to its members at this time, although many of the works qualified. Pieced quilts are made by joining various sized bits of fabric, cut into squares, rectangles, triangles or circles, to produce geometric or pictorial designs. Double wedding rings, twinkling stars, nine-patch, mariner’s compass and flying geese were all in abundance. Appliquéd quilts, which are made by layering fabrics cut into shapes to produce designs, similar to collage, and enhanced by embroidery and beadwork were also in abundance.

There were a few trapunto and stitched quilts, solid pieces of fabric where the design is produced by careful stitching and some light stuffing of the design area. A “Statue of Liberty” by Alma Coston was a dramatic sample of this style.

“Light of my Life,” by Joyce Bartholomew, current president of CCQG, is a stunning combination of piecework and appliqué, enhanced by silk ribbon embroidery which was awarded 1st place both in the Viewers Choice and USF Botanical Gardens Award. Pat Yucantonis’ “New England Village” won 2nd place Viewers Choice. You could almost step into the work. 3rd place Viewers Choice was “Firefighters T-shirt Memory Quilt” by Crystal Freund, composed of commemorative t-shirts.

One of the more amusing areas was the “Our First Quilt” area. Members of the guild brought in the first quilt they’d ever made. Some of these were made when they were kids as young as eight and some as adults. It is fun seeing how skills develop with use, but it also encourages young and old to try something new.

An additional purpose of the CCQG is to give back to the community through charity outreach. This includes donating quilts to hospitals, putting on educational workshops and the auction of 48 quilts at the show. Ellen Schon, a local fiber artist and quilter for over 30 years, (www.schonart.com) was the auctioneer. The Guild members made quilts large and small, in a vast array of styles and colorations for the auction. Over 100 people gathered under the large tent to bid on these beautiful works and raise money for USF’s Hope House for Eating Disorders. The auction was very successful, raising $3950 for Hope House.

Dr. Pauline Powers, Director of Hope House, helped arrange for CCQG to use the garden for this event. Hope House provides free intervention, support and a variety of resources for people afflicted with eating disorders in the Tampa Bay area, including therapy groups, parent/caregiver training, education and drop-in services. For more information on Hope House, call 813-839-7341 or email Suzanne Eldridge, Managing Director at seldridge@health.usf.edu.

While quilt shows often have book signings, usually by quilt designers, to have a double book signing is very unusual. Ed West, a fiction writer, and Marcia Layton, a quilt designer, were the featured authors at the event.

West’s novel, Father’s Quilt, begins during the Civil War and follows the life of Sarah Parker, a teenager in rural New York State, for over 50 years. The quilt, made from scraps of her late father’s clothes, is a comfort and a symbol of small town camaraderie. Sarah endures many harsh years, turning to the quilt for solace, reflecting on what advice her father would have given her in difficult situations and using the quilt as a friend. As an added fillip, West includes recipes of the era. He is currently working on a sequel, a parallel story and a book of short stories about quilters. For more information, West can be reached at www.fathersquilt.com.

Layton, the author of Handprint Quilts and Calendar Kids, specializes in designing quilts that can be made with young children or in groups. Some of her projects are ideal for schools, grandparents or as memory projects, much like a scrapbook. Using handprints or footprints as a base, she shows how you can make everything from flamingos to squids to moose. Her imagination and levity make her books a pleasure to read. A resident of Tampa, she can be reached at www.handprintquilts.com.

If you would like to explore the world of quilting for yourself, the CCQG welcomes visitors and future quilters to its meetings. A quilt guild meeting is a great place to be introduced to that craft of quilting, pick up techniques and “schmooze’ with the experts. For directions to the April 1st meeting, go to www.willowbendcc.org. The CCQG’s website, www.cypresscreekquilters.com is a treasure trove of patterns, links and general information about quilting.

1 comment:

Paper on Research said...

Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.