Machine Quilting Exposition West

Yesterday I spent the day attending MQX West, the machine quilting exposition in Portland.  Mike was very brave and went along with me.  It was something to do, after all. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the expo and came away with a new appreciation for machine quilting as its own art form.  I am aware that there is some controversy among quilters about whether machine quilting has a place in quilting, whether it's as valuable or as beautiful as hand-quilting, etc.  You may have your own opinion about that.  As for me, I don't prefer either, but see them as different from one another.  Further, in the same way most people don't hand piece their quilts any more (like my grandmother did), it makes sense to me that many would prefer to move on to machine quilting for any number of reasons.  I'm not offering this up as any sort of judgment about either; but the quilts I saw were so incredibly beautiful that I think anyone would be hard pressed not to find something appealing about them, regardless of your views about how they were quilted.  The density of the quilting added so much texture to them that I found myself staring at them in delighted fascination.

Also, I noted that many of the quilts were decorated with crystals.  There were way more quilts with way more crystals than I've ever seen at any quilt show in the past.  I'm not sure if this is because they were machine quilted or if crystals are just becoming more popular.  I liked the crystals on some of the quilts, and indeed, I'm getting ready to add them to at least two of my quilts.  However, I thought some of them were overdone to the point of being gaudy.

I didn't photograph all of the quilts--just the ones that caught my eye for one reason or another.  That included quite a few, and so I'll spread them out over a number of days as I share my images of  them.  I hope you enjoy the pictures.

This was one of the first that I saw, and it had a lot of crystal work on it.  Sadly, it doesn't show well in this image.

Here are two details of the quilting and the applique, which was superb.  You can see some of the crystals on the right side of this image.  Also, the flowers you see are machine embroidered.  Many of the quilts were beautifully machine embroidered in addition to being machine quilted.

I just thought this one was exquisite.  I'm not sure why the color appears so pinkish, other than the fact that these images are all from my phone.  It was really just plain white.


I loved the colors in this one.

Detail.  Isn't that a beautiful blue?  The green was a little more saturated than it looks here, but the blue is true.

This was a very large quilt honoring 9/11, veterans, the military, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  You can see Afghanistan in the upper right, and Iraq in the lower left.  (The quilt was so large that the lower portion of it was resting flat on the floor.)

I liked the way they used crystals for the stars on the flag.

This image of the flag-draped coffins surprised me.  I saw a similar image once in the New York Times, but otherwise, I believe these images were not widely published.  It was surprising that this quilter chose to include it on their quilt, and I wasn't sure how to feel about it.  It is a compelling image, and certainly it brings home the consequences of war.  Is it disprespectful to include it on a quilt . . . and at a show?  And whose child is in that coffin(s)?  How would I feel if it were my child and I saw this at a quilt show?  These are rhetorical questions, and I have no opinion about it.  They were just thoughts I had as I looked at it.  I suppose one of the goals of art is to make one think, and this quilt certainly had me thinking.

On a less political note, I loved the stained-glass effect on this one.

And the quilting was exquisite . . . again.

That's all I have time for today.  I'll post a few each day over the next several days.  I hope you enjoy them.


Denise :) said...

Wow. I almost don't know what else to say! Loved that stained glass quilt. Looking forward to your photos to come! :)

quiltzyx said...

Oh boy! I just love it when you go to a quilt show :D

I think my fave of these is the one with the gorgeous blue bkground, purple & green. Makes me SMILE :D

Dana Gaffney said...

Everyone of them is beautiful. Thank you.

Kate said...

Thanks for sharing, all of them are beautiful.