Three Quilts You Will Want to See from AQS Grand Rapids

September 22, 2023

I’ve been to lots of American Quilter’s Society (AQS) shows over the years, but somehow I have always missed the show closest to home- Grand Rapids! This year that all changed when I was invited to teach. This was my first time teaching for AQS, and overall it was a terrific experience. Everyone I encountered seemed to be having a great time! I even found some time to see the contest quilts, exhibits, and vendors along the way.

Great quilts always abound at any AQS Quilt Week, and this one was no exception. It was challenging to narrow down this post to three quilts! Ultimately, I selected all original designs that caught my eye from a distance and held some technique-based surprises as I moved closer to the piece. I also wanted to share pieces that I hadn’t seen a lot before either online or in person.

Just Me by Tania Tanti

What I like about the quilt

  • Bright, bold color choices with non-repeating organic shapes
  • Quilting thread is a mix of colors and weights allowing it to both blend and stand out from the design
  • Densely stacked quilting stitches delineate sections of the design linearly (notice the violet line between two green sections in the detail image) and create areas of negative space (check out the pink area surrounding the green leaf-like section of the same image). This theme recurs throughout the design.

Eager to See You Again by Fujiko Nomoto

What I like about the quilt

  • A well though out use of materials. When I first saw this quilt from a distance, I initially thought the design was created by a variety of stitching techniques. As I came closer I realized it is a range of fabric designs cut into squares and offset on a diagonal.
  • Using square patchwork in an innovative way to create an organic overall motif
  • Subtle shifts in value move in and out across the quilt instead of creating one continuous shift. This movement reminds me of an overhead view of ocean waves.

The Kraken by Katie Bishop

What I like about the quilt

  • The unexpected perspective of the composition. At first I thought we were looking at it through the Kraken’s perspective, then I realized we see the Kraken’s eye- Who are we in this scenario and are we in danger?
  • The mix of techniques used to create the quilt (improv piecing, appliqué, couching) add depth and interest to the design.
  • Couching is used to create the main element of the design instead of an accent. The use of the yarn activates the design in a way that would be difficult to achieve with fabric alone.

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