Stitched hits the screens!
What really happens behind the scenes at an international quilt show where the prize money for the best-of-the-best quilts runs in the thousands of dollars? That’s what journalist Jena Moreno wanted to find out. This Houston-based newspaper reporter learned that thousands of quilters descend upon the George R. Brown Convention Center every fall for the International Quilt Festival and decided to see what it was about. What she found was an intense subculture of quilting/stitching types who were wonderfully obsessed about their craft (she calls them passionate, and, yes, we’re all that too!).
So Jena and her crew, Nancy Sarnoff (producer) and husband Thomas Gandy (director of photography), travelled the United States during the 2009-10 show season leading up to the International Quilt Festival in Houston to document the creative efforts of three great quilters: Caryl Bryer Fallert, Hollis Chatelaine and Randall Cook. Woven through the overall story of how these incredible quilters/artists do what they do is the eternal conflict between art quilters and traditionalists (sound familiar, my Mod friends?) and how the craft/art is determined. We also sit on pins and needles (ooh, so sorry, couldn’t help that one) while we wait to find out who wins the big prize at Houston.
For 72 minutes, Stitched succeeds in revealing the work, skill and love that go into making a show-stopping quilt, as well as the different facets of the quilt culture. It’s an amazing, fascinating and very accurate look into our world, by a few outsiders–people who never made quilts before this. Jena and team capture the humor we have towards our addiction as well as the tension found when people try to define what makes a quilt a quilt.
The website has listings of free screenings of the movie, as well as the means to purchase a copy of the DVD. Do it. You won’t regret it. Use the DVD to create a screening night for your guild, mini-group or retreat. It’s that interesting. Jake has done this a couple of times already and even her dear husband, Steve, happily sat through it. We also have to disclose in the interest of Shameless PromoHo self-promoting that Jake is briefly featured in the film as she was involved with Randy Cook on an article to thrust him into the limelight. You’ll have to check it out to know of what we speak. But even without her presence (or in spite of it, she says) it still receives two bandaged thumbs up from us q-aholics.–Generation Q staff
Why we love Jay!
By Meg Cox
Fans of this envelope-pushing style icon know he won Project Runway (first season) and that among other things crafty, he designs fabric for FreeSpirit. (We shared his latest collection, Habitat, in this cyber space just last week.) His work is beloved by the hip, young and adventurous in the quilt world. But do you want to see how deep those roots go, what early experiences shaped Jay’s life in textiles?
Then buy a ticket pronto to watch Jay get interviewed at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan by Mark Lipinski. This happens at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 6, as part of a program called Marianne & Jay On The Runway, which also features Marianne Fons, half of the duo that founded one of the most successful magazines in quilting.
The live interview with Jay is part of a terrific oral history project called Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories, which is archived in the Library of Congress. The Q.S.O.S. project is run by the nonprofit Alliance for American Quilts, and the Marianne & Jay event is a benefit for the Alliance.
In every Q.S.O.S. interview, the person being questioned brings a touchstone quilt or object to focus on while they tell their personal story. Rumor has it that Jay is bringing something special that goes back to his high school days! You won’t want to miss this opportunity to see and hear Jay. Audience members will also get a chance to ask questions after the formal interview.
Sound good? Tickets are just $45 each, and include refreshments, swag bags, and door prizes from such fab sponsors as Aurifil threads, Benartex fabric and AccuQuilt. (Can you believe it! They are giving away three of those so-popular GO! Baby fabric cutters.)
And, as long as you’re in the city, you can also buy a ticket to a special cocktail party on Saturday night, at City Quilter, the biggest quilt shop in Manhattan. You can rub elbows with Jay and other quilt legends in the rarefied air of a really good (and hip) fabric store. To find out more about these fun events and buy tickets, go to www.AllianceForAmericanQuilts.org. Prices go up Aug.1, so order your tickets now.
And if, sadly, you can’t come to F.I.T. on Aug. 6, don’t despair. The interview with Jay will be transcribed later and posted on the Alliance website, along with the 1,000-plus other interviews there that document the stories of fascinating quilters of every style and background. You can browse this amazing resource free via the website above, and be inspired any time of the day and night.
A former staff writer for the Wall Street Journal, Meg Cox has been quilting for 20 years and is the author of the bestselling resource guide, The Quilter’s Catalog (Workman Publishing, 2008). She currently serves as president of the Alliance for American Quilts, which strives to preserve and promote quilting. She can be found at megcox.com.