Making A Grand Entrance

Exhibit by Kathy Kansier, Ozark, Missouri

As the recipient of the 2008 Jewel Pearce Patterson Scholarship for Quiltmaking Teachers, I am incredibly grateful to Quilts, Inc. for creating this scholarship. The scholarship was established to give teachers an opportunity to learn and grow in their knowledge of quilt making. As a result of this honor, I spent twelve days in Houston attending both the 2008 Quilt Market and the Houston Quilt Festival. It allowed me to attend outstanding workshops, lectures, banquets and ceremonies. At each of these, I was given special recognition and often felt like a queen making a grand entrance into the world of quilt making. The scholarship has opened new doors for me as a teacher. It also inspired the theme of this exhibit.

In return for receiving this scholarship, I was expected to create a new workshop based on something that influenced me during my time in Houston.  It seemed fitting to develop my new workshop around the theme of grand entrances. I wanted to encourage students to develop original designs, based upon existing or imaginary entrances. Perspective, light source, shadow, depth, scale, texture, colors and fabric choices were subjects included in my teaching plan. In the workshop, I provided large sheets of paper and enlargement lights for the students to use, as well as photos of fancy entryways they could use for their designs.

No one made a fancy door from a million dollar home as I had first imagined for this exhibit. Instead, they each created their own vision of what a grand entrance could be. The quilts include entrances that were photographed during vacations around the world, tombs, sheds, front doors to their homes, a garage door and even an outhouse.  We have each enjoyed developing our designs and have many ideas for entryways to make in the future.  The subject matter is addicting; it’s hard to stop at just one entrance.

This exhibit includes quilts made by myself, students, quilt making friends and two members of my family. They were created as a result of this new workshop. In April 2009, I taught the workshop at a guild in Shell Knob, Missouri and seven quilts were produced from that workshop. In May 2009, a class in Cimarron, Kansas produced two group quilts from those students. I belong to an art quilt group and an appliqué group in Springfield, Missouri. Quiltmakers from both of those groups also made quilts for the exhibit. My daughter-in-law decided she wanted to make a quilt featuring our grandson. As I was working on one of my quilts for the exhibit, my five year old granddaughter said, “Grandma, can I make a pink princess door for Houston?” We jumped in the car and headed for the quilt shop to buy pink fabric.

The 22 quilt makers ranged in age from 5 to 74. They came from all walks of life and have had a variety of careers. Some are retired, some are still working, others are homemakers with growing children and one is my granddaughter who is in kindergarten. The background of the group’s quilt making experience also varied greatly. Some are seasoned quilters with over 20 years experience, while others have been making quilts for less than 5 years. Some had exhibited quilts at local guild shows. Only four had ever exhibited a quilt on a national or international level. For two of the quilt makers, this was the first quilt they ever made.  For many, this was the first time they had created an original design rather than using a published pattern.

I corresponded with everyone by email and met with some individually to help and offer advice on their designs and workmanship. Early in the summer, we met as a group to share our quilts with each other. At that point in time, the quilts were in various phases of the quilt making process. The energy and enthusiasm of the group was contagious. After that meeting, everyone finished their quilts with time to spare.  The result is an exhibit of 26 amazing entrances for you to view and enjoy.

I have many to thank for making this exhibit possible. First and foremost are the quiltmakers themselves. They have worked hard and have proven they could each make a grand entrance for the quilt world to appreciate. Special thanks go to Karey Bresenhan, Nancy O’Bryant, and the entire staff of Quilts, Inc. for developing this scholarship. The Hobbs Batting Company provided batting for the quilts and Bernina of America provided a Bernina 730 for me to use for my projects. Lastly, I want to thank my husband and family for putting up with my design walls and months of stepping over piles of fabrics while I worked on my quilts. I promise, I’ll clean it all up soon…just as soon as I make one more entrance.