As mentioned in my previous post, I earned a first place in the Small Wall Art–First Entry category at Paducah. Masanobu Miyama, an amazing Japanese quilter, was kind enough to send me images of my quilt hanging at the show. I interviewed him and his wife, Hiroko Miyama, at the Paducah show when I was a contributing editor at American Quilter magazine. If they had a website, I would provide a link. They do wonderful work together and individually. Anyway, his photographs reminded me about the differences I’ve noticed over the past year as to how quilt shows hang and display quilts.
At AQS Paducah 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in each category is hung with 1st place in the middle and 2nd and 3rd on opposite sides. Notice how the chains cross in the center, which means viewers can get close for photos and to study the work. Quilts also have their own spaces, allowing viewers to appreciate them individually. The narrow aisles are the one downside at the show. When it’s crowded on opening day, you feel you can barely move along. Nor can you step back to view quilts at a distance, which is especially important for large quilts.
Here’s the individual photo Masanobu took. I should point out the Dogwood ribbon, which is special to AQS’s Paducah show. The first time I attended Paducah, which was as a viewer, I did a bus tour of the Dogwood trees lining residential streets. So beautiful.
Here is how beautifully AQS displays images and information of the winning quilts at the awards ceremony. The trophies on the table are for the major award winners.
In March, I participated in a show of 40 quilts at the Oregon coast called Gems of the Ocean. The work is closely spaced, which isn’t the preferred way to display quilts or art in general. But one of the show’s organizers’ goals was to exhibit work from both emerging and established quilters. To accept more pieces meant that the work had to be hung closer together than perhaps desired, but City Hall where the exhibit took place had limited space. Pieces were grouped by style or theme and were well-lit.
In January, I attended Road to California in Ontario for the first time. It’s a very good show, but I was frustrated at the distance created between viewers and quilts by the “tape.” I’ve recently discovered I’m not alone. Another blogger mentioned the same issue. I’m not sure if this is standard practice at Road, or if the set-up was different this year. Notice the quilts in the corner. It was impossible to see them well, especially smaller pieces. Rather than hang a single quilt on a side, there were two. I couldn’t help but notice how this put the interior and corner quilts at a viewing disadvantage.
The smaller, inside quilt got lost.
Here’s the Hoffman Challenge. The quilts are small and intricate. Again, it was difficult to really appreciate the detail having to stand back so far.
Another problem was lighting. Notice the glare over the top of the pipe and drape. I had several photos like this. It was impossible to avoid the lights, which washed out the images.
Lastly, is the International Quilt Festival in Houston, which I attended at the end of October. While there is tape to keep viewers back, it’s close enough to the quilts to allow examination. The quilts are hung in long, well-lit rows. The show is held in the George Brown Convention Center, which allows plenty of room to view the quilts. I’ve been to the show twice, and it never feels crowded to me, even when it’s at its most busy. This is my quilt. As you can see, there isn’t a lot of space between quilts. But what I liked was how quilts of like subject matter and color were hung together, complementing one another.
Here’s an aerial view from the show’s Facebook page showing how the quilts were hung.
Clearly, there are advantages and disadvantages to most venues. So–the one thing I keep in mind is how enjoyable it is to go to any show. Further, as one who has helped hang a number of exhibitions, I always appreciate the effort of those who did this work. And in my experience, they are all volunteers.