|Asheville, North Carolina, February 3, 2014
The Quilt Alliance launched its 8th annual quilt contest, which invites quilters to find inspiration in the nonprofit's unsurpassed online archives.
The mission of the Alliance is to document, preserve and share the stories of all types of quilters and every sort of quilt, and this contest welcomes every style and technique. Anyone can enter the contest by making a quilt that is 16 inches by 16 inches and inspired in some fashion by one of the Alliance's resources.
"Thousands of quilters across the country already know and love and use our resources," said Alliance president Meg Cox. "We hope this contest theme will entice multitudes of new quilters, so they can explore both The Quilt Index and the Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories (Q.S.O.S.) project, and tap into a fresh, deep well of inspiration."
For those who don't know, The Quilt Index is an online archive of more than 54,000 quilts from museums, state documentation projects and private collections. More than four centuries of quilts are displayed, along with information about the makers, techniques, materials and more. The Index is a partner project of the Quilt Alliance, Michigan State University Museum and MSU's MATRIX Center for Digital Humanities & Social Sciences.
While the Index quilts cover four centuries of quilt history, the Q.S.O.S. project has recorded more than 1,000 oral history interviews with today's quilters. Each quilter brings one "touchstone" quilt as a way to talk about her or his personal quilt history.
To help contest entrants navigate through these vast resources, the Quilt Alliance has selected an Inspiration Gallery of 11 quilts (three are pictured below). These are a diverse sampling of quilts, old and new, traditional and modern. Quilters can take any element they like from these quilts - or any quilt from the Index or Q.S.O.S. that impresses them - as a start to a quilt of their own. As the contest web page says: "Pick a quilt. Find your inspiration. Make your own."
"Crossroads" quilt, Unknown quilter, c. 1940, permanent collection of the New England Quilt Museum
"Sock It To Me" by 2007 Q.S.O.S. interviewee Robbi Eklow
|String Quilt, by Edna and Edith Monteith, 1950-1975, permanent collection of the Mountain Heritage Center
The website instructions discuss copyright issues and explain that the contest quilts are not meant to be copies, but starting points. There is a place on the downloadable entry form to list which quilt provided the initial inspiration.
Contest quilts must be mailed to the Quilt Alliance office in Asheville with a postmark no later than June 1.
Professional judges will select the Handi Quilter Grand Prize and the lucky winner will receive a HQ Sweet Sixteen longarm sit-down machine package (machine, table and bobbin winder) from Handi Quilter Inc. Brenda Groelz, Director of Marketing & Education for the company said, "Handi Quilter is committed to the preservation of all quilters' stories and supports the mission of the Quilt Alliance. We are grateful for all of the inspired quilters who enter this competition and are proud to provide the world's favorite sit-down longarm machine, the HQ Sweet Sixteen, as the grand prize."
First, Second and Third place and Honorable Mention awards will be voted on by Alliance members and prizes will be supplied by these generous Quilt Alliance Business Members Moda Fabrics, The Electric Quilt Company, EZ Quilting, Simplicity Creative Group, AURIfil. Our venue sponsor is Original Sewing & Quilt Expo, and our documentation sponsor is stkr.it.
All entries will be documented in The Quilt Index and travel to quilt shows, museums and other exhibition venues in the summer and fall of 2014. All quilts are a donation to the Quilt Alliance and will be auctioned to benefit the work of this 20-year-old nonprofit organization.
New with this year's contest is an option to share the steps you took to create your quilt in a slideshow that others can see, thanks to our sponsor stkr.it. All entrants who decide to create a slideshow will have a stkr.it StoryPatches label affixed to the back of their quilt before it is auctioned. This will allow the winning bidder to use a QR code reader on a smart phone to view the StoryPatches slideshow, so they can share in the whole story of your quilt--from inspiration to creation!
Just to be clear, documenting your creative process and sharing it is completely optional.
For complete instructions and access to the Inspiration Gallery, visit our website.
"This contest is one of our most popular activities every year," said Meg Cox, the Alliance president, "And I think one reason for that is we try hard to come up with a theme that challenges quilters to try something new. You can absolutely make a bold statement with a quilt this size without spending weeks. And once it's done, your quilt will attract a large audience, both on tour and online, when it becomes a permanent part of the highly regarded Quilt Index. You help the Alliance save quilt history -- and become part of that history yourself."