Monday, March 08, 2010

Quilt Fest of NJ

On Friday, I went to the Quilt Fest of NJ.  Based on a wonderful experience at the Pennsylvania National show last September, I was hoping to see a more robust show than in recent years, with lots of quilts and vendors.  I was surprised at the small number on both counts. Each year, I wonder if and how the organizers will be able to sustain this show next year, and this year is no different.  The photo featured is Best in Show, done by the talented Anna Faustino.  To view my pictures from the show, click here.

 What I liked about the show:
Great vendors, with lots of variety.  I enjoyed the quilts I saw, but there simply weren't enough of them, and I'd seen many of the quilts on view at other shows.

What I didn't enjoy:
The vendors who were there were interesting, but there were fewer than I expected.  Small number of quilts (53), limited listings (many quilts had a name and title card, but no listing in program.  Several quilts were on display at previous shows.

The Un-Guild

On Saturday I had a wonderful outing with the most un-guild guild I've ever been a part of  offline.  It was the first meeting of the NYC Metro chapter of The Modern Quilt Guild.

If you've been to a guild meeting, you know the usual setup:  a speaker, show and tell, block of the month, etc.. Guilds have a useful purpose, but that purpose is geared toward socializing, and if you're a new member that can be intimidating.  The sewing takes place before and after the meeting.  Often people are surprised that there is no sewing at most guild meetings.  The guild offers an introduction to talented quilters, and can offer help on a particular technique or skill.  The operative word is can.  Many people find guilds off- putting and unfriendly.  Let me say this has not been my experience, but I am an extremely extroverted person.  That said, for me the best part of a guild meeting is getting to know people individually, and sewing with them.  Most guilds are too large to offer these opportunities equally to everyone.

This brings me to what I have dubbed the "un-guild".  The Modern Quilt Guild is a national guild with local chapters, including one in the NYC area.  A group of about 15 of us met in midtown Manhattan, at the home of one of the chapter co-founders, Victoria.  We introduced ourselves, had show and tell, and discussed our vision of the guild.  The size of the group allowed us to ask questions about each other and our work.  It was a wonderful experience, complete with good food, talented people, and sewing.   Victoria, our host, had a bunch of charity quilts that needed binding, and while we talked and ate, many of the members worked on that task.  It was an auspicious beginning.  I'm looking forward to the next un-guild meeting!