Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lowell Quilt Festival 2010

Above is a photo of the location of the 2010 Lowell Quilt Festival, the Lowell Memorial Auditorium. In this relatively small building they shoehorned approx. 300 quilts and 27 vendors. They did utilize all available space including an upper floor and a room that I had never realize was there. This building has in the past been utilized for special exhibits of antique quilts, one year they had Ruth McDowell's The 12 Dancing Princesses on display, but this is the first time they have used it for the modern judged show.

There were as usual some amazing quilts, though it was a bit hard to admire them because of the crowing not so much of people but of quilts. The aisles between quilts were rather narrow and the quilts weren't given any space between them. I did try to photograph a couple of quilts - not very successfully so I won't show any quilt pictures here. The other problem is lighting. It was fairly dark in some areas on the show floor, which made it very hard to see details on some of the quilts. Some rows were lit a bit better but many were too dark. When they used this venue for the antique quilts it wasn't such a problem - well it was but antique quilts need to be shown in low light to protect them so the lack of light was acceptable. Trickier to justify that with new quilts. Still there were a couple of beautiful white on white quilts, and quite a few excellent art quilts done by Artists whose names I recognize. Congratulations to all those who won prizes/awards at the show. I also really enjoyed the quilts done by young quilters exhibited up on the 2nd floor hallway. Considering the ages of the quilters there were a several really amazing quilts. Prize winning quilters of the future I hope.

Here are a couple of photos taken inside from the outer seats, note they are a bit blurry, I had to take a long exposure and didn't have a tripod.

The quilts you see hanging are antique blue and white quilts loaned by the NEQ Museum.

I did visit the New England Quilt Museum to view their current exhibit on contemporary Broderie Perse quilts. Some very well done, and beautiful quilts, though I really enjoyed looking at the antique quilts from the museum's collection in one of the rooms. Many quilters combined techniques using some piecing along with the Broderie Perse applique to create their finished quilts. Photos aren't allowed in the museum so I only have a picture of the outside for you. 

I also visited 2 other linked venues, the Whistler House exhibit, and the Brush Art Gallery & Studios. The exhibit at the Brush didn't excite me, the quilts tended to be geometric abstractions and I don't necessarily find that type of quilt exciting. I did enjoy the exhibit at the Whistler where the theme was From Fine Art to Fiber: Reinterpreting the Masters. It was fun to see which artists the quilts were modeled after, there were several that used Klee, a couple that used Matisse, a couple that use Picasso.  The one of heads modeled after Andy Worhall was fun, esp. in conjunction with the floral arraignment sitting in front of it. I wasn't sure if I was allowed to take photographs so I didn't.  I felt the Whistler show was wonderful and I think I enjoyed it more then the larger one at the auditorium. Partly because the quilts on display had room to breath, and the viewer could get some distance from the quilt for best viewing. Also the lighting was excellent. The only quilt show I have seen consistently well lighted has been Houston. I do wish that those who put on shows would pay more attention to the lighting.

Still it was a beautiful day and I really enjoyed my annual trip up to Lowell. If any of my readers have the opportunity to visit Lowell whether during festival or at another time of year be sure to visit the Museums and Historic sites in this city that was home to early fabric mills in America.