Where do I begin in wrapping up QuiltCon? There are hundreds of quilts, and even more people in attendance. The varied quilts and techniques boggle the mind and inspire ideas for quilters of all experience levels. There's just something that is incredibly difficult to accurately capture in words about the combination of quilt show, lecture, class learning environment, vendor hall sales floor, and the meeting of friends and quilters you admire from all over - and all that squished into just a few days. But after taking a few days to process and let it all sink in, there were two prominent themes that emerged through all these amazing experiences: Quilts with Something to Say and New Directions in Techniques.
Social Justice - Activist quilts - Quilts with Something to Say
Bathroom Quilt by Lynn E Stuart
In Memoriam: Tamir Rice by Thomas Knauer @thomasknauer
This theme of Quilts with Something to Say has been ongoing for the last few years and this year was no exception. Gender, LGBTQ+, racial, and environmental issues were all highlighted in a variety of ways that were both powerful and simultaneously beautiful and thought provoking. It's amazing to see so many different people voicing their concerns for things that are important to us as a society.
Comfort Quilt for a Lockdown Drill by Alexis Deise @alexisdeise
Quilts that call for justice, equality, and accountability for our actions aren't always comfortable to consider and sit with, but they can spark necessary conversations to have and it was so great to see them presented in greater numbers this year.
Malapert by The Rude Quilt Collective Group @hixsonir
One change in the show this year was the new category, Group Youth Quilts. It was great to see many of these youth group quilts being made by the Social Justice Sewing Academy, an organization founded by Sara Tribe in 2017. The Social Justice Sewing Academy is a youth education program that bridges artistic expression with activism to advocate for social justice and change. To see these students creating quilt blocks around issues that are important to them, their life, and their desire to effect change is particularly poignant. These quilts were some of the most moving and thought provoking, as well as some of the most hopeful.
Craft as a Pedgogy of Hope by Social Justice Sewing Academy
Educational Inequity by Mia Bekele
Equity Quilt Detail by Social Justice Sewing Academy
Forced Migration by Social Justice Sewing Academy
Harmony by Social Justice Sewing Academy
Obamas by Social Justice Sewing Academy
People Power by Samantha Yaneli Nieves
Resilience by Social Justice Sewing Academy
Art is and always has been a powerful catalyst for social change, and I saw this demonstrated beautifully and in earnest in so many ways over QuiltCon weekend, and I hope it moves you as deeply as it did me.