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Art Quilts at the Sedgwick {Blog}

Monday, April 30, 2007


In case you haven't heard, ArtQuilts at the Sedgwick (AQatS) is no more. Yes, it's true! Okay, before the rumor mill starts running, let us fill you in...

As many of you are aware, AQatS has been in search of a new venue since the close of AQatS 2004. We were fortunate to find a temporary host at the Philadelphia Art Alliance for the 2006 event. The lovely mansion proved to be a beautiful backdrop to the stunning array of quilts presented. Of course, the question remained, where will the 2008 show be held? Well, we now have an answer.

The 2008 show is being held at the Wayne Art Center in Wayne, PA. With this new venue, we also have a new name--ArtQuilt Elements. The mission is the same--only the name changed!

We'll provide a few more details regarding the recent changes in the next and final post for this blog.

ArtQuilt Elements, formerly ArtQuilts at the Sedgwick, is a biennial juried exhibition celebrating its eighth show. In April and May 2008, AQE will be presented by the Wayne Art Center.

Please download the prospectus here: ArtQuilt Elements Prospectus [PDF, 61KB]

Friday, August 11, 2006

A Light Has Dimmed
The Passing of Hilary Morrow Fletcher

It is with great sadness that we must report that Hilary Fletcher, Quilt National Project Director passed away early this morning.

Karey Bresenhan, Director, International Quilt Festival, presented the sad news to the Quiltart Mailing List this afternoon. She has kindly granted us permission to re-post her message here.

From: Karey Bresenhan
Date: Aug 11, 2006 1:16 PM
Subject: [Quiltart] A sad loss for the art quilt world
To: QuiltArt

It is with great sadness that I must let you know that Hilary Fletcher died this morning about 2 a.m. Hilary has been the heart and soul of Quilt National as long as I can remember. She had decided earlier this year to retire next year after the 2007 Quilt National, but life, unfortunately, had other plans for her.

The funeral will be held in Athens, Ohio on Sunday at 1 pm;
however, Hilary herself had asked that no flowers be sent.
Instead, an endowment fund for Quilt National has been started
in her name, and it was her wish that any remembrances
be sent to that fund.

The cause of death was a recurrence of a melanoma she had
originally eight years ago; it came back as an extremely
fast-growing tumor several months ago, and despite every
effort, she lost her battle. Hilary was a truly wonderful person,
completely dedicated to art quilts, the moving force behind
Quilt National, an active collector of art quilts herself,
a board member of SAQA (where I got to know her well),
a wife, mother, and grandmother. What a huge loss for her family
and for all of us who love the world of art quilts.

Once I know how to make a donation to the endowment fund
in her memory, I will post this to the list.

Karey Bresenhan

We have since learned that donations can be made by visiting
Quiltart. Please click Help Honor QN's Hilary Morrow Fletcher
to download the form.


AQatS Committee

Monday, July 31, 2006

Quilters' Save Our Stories
Interview with Pam RuBert

The Alliance for American Quilts
Tape Number: AQATS19119-032

To see a full listing, click here

Interviewee:Pam RuBert
Interviewer:Melva Hightower
Project Name:Art Quilts at the Sedgwick QSOS
Location:between Springfield, Missouri and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Here's a snippet of the interview:

I've always been an artist and worked in various media including paint and ceramics and illustration but have also always been interested in fabric. I made some large textile sculptures and some art furniture but when I first saw art quilts I was very surprised and excited. It took me several years to learn some techniques, experiment and build up a collection of fabric and a studio to create quilts in but I wasn't sure what I wanted to create, what I wanted to ‘say’ with art quilts. Then one day I had a revelation—I could make cartoons that I've always drawn (even when I try to draw realistically, it usually comes out cartoonish) with fabric.

Click the tape number to read the entire interview.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Final Chapter

Shawn Towey

Click the photo to view Shawn's complete biography.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

More More More
Fiber 2006

ArtQuilts at the Sedgwick: On the Square closes in 10 days!

If you haven't seen it yet, GO!

If you have, GO AGAIN!

The Keeper has heard tales of possible fiber withdrawals once the show closes. Fear not. The Textile Art Alliance of the Cleveland Museum of Art presents:

Focus: Fiber 2006
(click the photo to visit the TAA website)

June 11 - July 28, 2006

A biennial juried exhibition of contemporary fiber art established in 1970. This year's show features 54 works by 35 artists from 7 states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Juror: Nancy Crow, internationally renowned quilt artist.

Opening Reception

Sunday, June 11, 2006
1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Artists Archives of the Western Reserve
1834 East 123rd Street
Cleveland, OH 44106

Gallery Hours

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m.

Nancy Crow Lecture & Book Signing
Friday, June 9, 2006
7:00 p.m.
Donahue Auditorium at the Dolan Science Center
John Carroll University
20700 North Park Blvd.
University Heights, OH 44118

Gallery Tours

Thursday, July 6, 1:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 15, 1:00 p.m.

All events are free and open to the public.

Flyers (pdf versions) with complete details:

Flyer One

Flyer Two

email: taa@clevelandart.org
Phone: 216.707.2579

Image: Detail, Veiled Threat, Eliza Brewster, Honesdale, PA

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

AQatS In the News
A Patchwork Solution for a Quilt Show

Posted on Wed, Apr. 26, 2006

A patchwork solution for a
quilt show

By Melissa Dribben
Inquirer Staff Writer

ArtQuilts at the Sedgwick, an internationally known show and one of the most
prestigious of its kind, is up for adoption.

"We're struggling to survive," says Deborah Schwartzman, one of the local quilt artists who first organized the exhibit in 1999 at the Sedgwick community art space in Mount Airy. "It's an amazing show. Someone should want us."

For the moment, with the Sedgwick in flux, the show is in artistic foster care. This year's juried exhibition of 44 quilts is running through May 21 at the Philadelphia Art Alliance.

Unlike traditional quilts, these pieces are made from almost any material you can imagine: sheer silks and thick canvas, bits of salvaged lace, old New York subway maps, and the plastic tabs from bread bags. The designs are impressionistic and stark, complex, religious, floral, poetic and political.

The quilts were chosen from 618 submissions by 260 artists from the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe. Over a marble fireplace on the ground floor hangs Bob Adams' Rhythms of Summer, the show's only quilt created by a man. (One other was done with a man's collaboration.)

Adams, a middle school art teacher from Indiana, took up the medium because his wife, a traditional quilter, continually asked him for advice about color and placement. His piece in the show is appliqued and densely stitched, but with a Rothko-like simplicity. Its deep blue background is dissected by a broad streak of orange, crossed with sinuous vertical lines of pea green.

The Surface Design Association's Award of Excellence went to Judy Langille for her Torn Forms II. The quilt was made from a piece of black cotton and thickened dyes. She used strips of paper to remove pigment from the cloth and create raw-edged rust and umber patterns.

One of the most moving quilts is an oblong banner made of fluttering swatches of material printed with prayers. Kristin Hoelscher-Schacker, a fabric artist from Lake Elmo, Minn., made the piece when her sister-in-law was diagnosed with cancer.

"The model is Tibetan prayer flags that are printed with prayers and images and hung in the wind; the wind carries the prayers to heaven," Hoelscher-Schacker writes in her statement. "Eventually, I hope to install this piece in a semi-sheltered spot in my garden so the wind can do its work."

Nearly 400 people attended the opening of the ArtQuilts exhibit, which has adopted the acronym AQATS. More than 1,500 have come to view it thus far.

Although both the AQATS organizers and the Art Alliance are happy with the
arrangement, they have yet to commit to a long-term relationship. And since the Art Alliance is currently between executive directors, no decision will be made
any time soon.

"We'd like to have a dialogue about that," said Carole Shanis, president of the Alliance. "The show is being very well received."

It was a stroke of luck that allowed the show to happen this year at all, let alone in such an elegant gallery space.

As Norman Tissian, the man who made it happen, tells the story, the seed was a bit of hubris.

"I'm a Center City egotist," he says.

Tissian, a retired advertising executive, raised his family here and has invested himself in serving on boards and promoting the city's interests. He also likes quilts.

So in April 2004, he ventured to Mount Airy to see ArtQuilts at the Sedgwick. "I thought the show was spectacular," he recalls. "And when I spoke to the woman who organized it, I said, 'Why are you here and not in Center City?' "

That woman was Cindy Friedman, a quilt artist who worked with Schwartzman to develop the exhibition into the only major art-quilt show on the East Coast. Friedman explained to Tissian that the Sedgwick was beloved for its architecture and community ties, and that while she appreciated the offer, the show was happy in its current home.

He gave her his card anyway and said, "If anything changes, call me."

Well, things changed.

The Sedgwick's director retired and the center closed for an extended period. Although it has reopened, the artists could no longer count on it as a secure venue for the quilt show.

So last spring, Friedman dug out Tissian's card and called.

"It was just a fluke," Tissian says. "I'd recently become a board member of the Philadelphia Art Alliance." The Alliance, housed in a mansion right off Rittenhouse Square, had both the interest and the gallery space to accommodate the show.

"I thought it was a marriage made in heaven!" Tissian says.

Schwartzman does, too, although only a few buyers have come forward at the Alliance, whereas every year at the Sedgwick at least a dozen and as many as 22 quilts were sold during the course of the exhibition. The difference, she says, may be due in part to Mount Airy's support for the Sedgwick and the time it takes for a new audience to develop an appreciation for this kind of work.

Still, she says, "The Alliance is a magnificent space." She just hopes to find a permanent venue that is as much in love with the exhibit as its organizers.

Contact staff writer Melissa Dribben at 215-854-2590 or mdribben@phillynews.com.

"ArtQuilts at the Sedgwick" continues at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251
S. 18th St., through May 21. Admission is free. Information: 215-545-4302 or http://www.philartalliance.org/.


Saturday, April 22, 2006

AQatS In the News
Don Polec's World

Don Polec's World" airs Monday on Action News at 6:00 and Friday and Sunday on Action News at 11:00. Here is some additional information about recent stories Don has covered.

Note: Streaming video not yet available.


If, when you think of quilts, you think of the rural reaches of Lancaster County and a grandmotherly group of women busily crafting a quaint bedcover, you're probably in for a surprise...if you visit the Philadelphia art alliance for the next month, and see offerings on exhibit at the 7th Annual Artquilts at the Sedgwick Show.

"They're irregularly pieced, they're not blocks at all. These are not intended for the bed, these are very much intended for a wall."

They're nothing like the quilts you imagine snuggling up with next to a warm fire on a winter's night. And in many cases, you wouldn't want to.

Since the cuddle quotient of materials like recycled pressboard, or cut up New York City subway maps does leave something to be desired but are all part of a presentation that compels visitors to radically re-think the conventional idea of a quilt.

Deborah Schwartzman/ArtQuilts Philadelphia: "They are created as art the artist has chosen the medium of fiber not paint. It's definitely not a new idea."
Cindy Friedman/ArtQuilts Philadelphia: "During the Victorian era they were using velvets and other materials. They were never meant to be actually used."
Like the inspired creations of the 44 innovative artists represented here.
She combines doilies and pieces of lace with upholstery fabric and she makes this art. It starts out as a photo, it gets transferred to fabric, it gets cut up and it gets reassembled."
Works whose artistic impact that cannot help but have a special resonance with those who view it.
"Everybody has this gut reaction to fiber. When you're born, you're wrapped in fiber, when you die, you're wrapped in fiber. You're exposed to fiber every day of your life."
And for every day of the next month, visitors will be exposed to it in ways&your grandmother could never have imagined.

On view through May 21 at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251 S. 18th St. Rittenhouse Sq. Phila. PA. For info you can call 215-545-4302 or visit www.aqats.com. Or ArtQuilts can be reached at the Sedgwick, P.O. Box 42, Merion, PA 19066.