Thanks for an amazing, amazing tour. After six weeks and 5,164 miles, I am ending the summer tour at my family home in Michigan. The last week of the tour had me meeting amazing folks in Wisconsin, setting up Quilt Stories and visiting local wonders. The last day of tour was a photo shoot with an old friend in Chicago. Now I am settling down for a bit to transcribe stories and move the project on to another phase. With 67 mp3s to listen to, I have my work cut out for me!
After two weeks living in Minneapolis, I am on the road again. To summarize my residency in the Twin Cities is difficult, but I will update you with a few highlights:
The bicycle greenways! Minneapolis has the most impressive amount of green spaces and designated bike routes that I have ever seen. And by green spaces, I mean lakes and rivers, and waterfalls, shrouded with foliage, right in the middle of the city. It felt so good to get around the city on my bike, after weeks in the car.
The Textile Center! It is an amazing facility, gallery, shop, and library. I ran into an antique quilt show on the day I first visited, these quilts were from a private collection, on their way to museums. Although this may frighten archivers and historians, I was delighted to get close to quilts and see them in full lights- the same quilts will be in museums that use dim lighting to preserve the fabrics and displays that keep you back from examining the tiny olden-day stitches. I had the great honor of being a volunteer librarian for a day, entrusted with the "19,000+ circulating and reference items on quilting, knitting, weaving, needle arts, beading, spinning, fiber, dyeing, embellishments, surface design and more."
Attic 19! David Pitman, co-founder of the Art Shanty Projects, hosted me through the Network of Domestic Spaces in his very own home. A domestic residency makes the home into a space for the resident artist to work and exhibit. I used the space to finish quilt drawings, take the tent out on photo-shoots, make packages for my lovely backers, sort through tour documentation, collaborate with friends old and new, and sift through my new quilting books. I set up Quilt Stories and collected stories and stitches right in the front yard, posting my 'quilt stories' sign up for the duration of my stay.
The Slumber Party! Inspired by stories of quilting retreats, I hosted the Quilt Stories Slumber Party 2011- an all-night sew fest where guests added stitches to the collaborative quilt, chowed snacks, worked on their own projects, napped in the tent, and pieced patchworks together. The party was well attended with a few waves of people, five sewing machines going at once, and fourteen contributors putting together a 10' wide circle of patchwork. In the morning we had a lovely brunch, and David and I finished the patchwork to install in the opening in his poolhouse. The circular opening in the ceiling (David's handywork) makes the old garage an indoor/outdoor space, inspired by Hawaiian lenais and James Turrell.
And after all of that, I am back on tour for a week. Three days of Quilt Stories events in Wisconsin take me to a locally-sourced art shop in Madison, a quilt and fiber arts museum in Cedarburg, and a community gathering space in Milwaukee. After a visit to Chicago, I will land in Pentwater Michigan, where I will be setting up my studio and staying put for a while.... East Coast tour plans are brewing for September!
Yes, the tents and quilts and I have arrived safe and sound in Minneapolis, to live out the next two weeks in the hospitable quarters of Attic 19. A new city to me, Minneapolis is brimming with awesomeness- beautiful houses, bikes everywhere, and more arts community than you could wrap your arms around.
Since my last update, I spent some quality time in Iowa- getting to know Cedar Rapids, Kalona, and Iowa City as much as I could in a few days. With my local-history-buff-hostess, Sonya Darrow, I visited an Amish quilt museum and admired Czech textiles. Quilt Stories received a very receptive welcome at the bustling Cedar Rapids farmer's market, and visitors spent some real time stitching on the collaborative quilt the next day at College Green park in Iowa City. My drive from Iowa through Wisconsin was spotted with tourist wonders, like the Dickeyville Grotto, and the scenery became more and more beautiful and nostalgic as I headed north. I spent the Fourth of July with a very special old friend in Eau Claire and we had a full day of BBQ hopping- complete with a jump in the lake, a pontoon ride, and shared quilt stories. Rolling into Minneapolis the next day my odometer clocked in at 3,874 miles.
It is here that I end this leg of tour. I see this collecting phase of the project occupying me for the next year- extending my travels to the East Coast in the fall, the South in the winter, and back to the West Coast and Southwest at some point. I will have a few more Midwest stops at the end of the month, and will keep you updated. If you are a backer and have not received your reward package, this is my chance to get those put together and sent out to you. I will be transcribing stories, continuing to collect and photograph, exploring the city, and taking the project into another form.
As I settle in and spread my thoughts out, the project I need to do here will come to me. Tonight, I am thinking it would be very appropriate to create a quilting retreat at the residency- I have heard many stories about these gatherings where stitching, chatting, and snacking are priority....