The best way to get a new generation of quilters to re-imagine this re-emerging artform is with a bold whisper.
Known for its reserved patterns and traditional lines, Karen Taber of Woodlake is among a small group of quilters to take on the “Whisper Challenge” at this year’s Best Of the Valley Quilt and Cloth Doll Show this weekend at the McDermont Field House in Lindsay.
Taber and six other artists from Hanford, Visalia and Southern California have taken the old telephone game and put a tangible twist on it. Each quilter chose a photograph that inspired them and created a quilt based on the image. The first quilter then sent a picture of only the quilt to the next artist and so on.
“By the end, there aren’t many similarities between the quilts,” Taber said.
Originally formed as a subgroup of the Hanford Quilt Guild, Loose Threads invited Taber to become a member nearly three years ago. She said she started quilting about 20 years ago when the artform made a comeback. Now, she describes herself as a modern quilter, making unconventional design elements and styles within her quilts.
“I love the feel of fabric and taking one thing and turning it into a design, something entirely different than how it started,” said the former art major and painter. “I guess that is the painter in me.”
At least four of the seven threads from the special project will hang over the basketball courts of the McDermont Field House with more than 250 entries from more than 130 different quilters, most from the Valley, but some from away as West Virginia. Chairperson Suzanne Kistler said she expects about 1,500 people to attend the show from all over California. Entries in 21 different categories will be judged for a chance at $2,500 in cash prizes. First place will receive $50, second place $30 and third place $20 in each category. A special award of $100 will also be awarded.
Best of Show for Large Quilt is $500, Small Quilt is $250 and Wall Quilt is $150.
Entry fees were waived for the “young” and “old” categories. Kistler said young quilter entries ranged from 8-13 years old and old quilter entries ranged from 80-86 years old.
“I’m really excited because there is more competition this year than I have ever seen,” Kistler said.
This year’s featured artists are the show’s committee, including Kistler. She said all of the committee members are also members of various quilt guilds throughout the Valley.
“People need a way to express themselves, something that is tangible and visually pleasing,” Kistler said. “I think quilting covers a lot of senses. You can touch it, see it and hear the comments and reactions to your work.”
The Best Of The Valley show will be held from April 12-14 at the McDermont Field House, 365 N. Sweet Brier Ave. in Lindsay. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. General admission is $10 each day or $15 for a three-day pass. Children 12 and younger get in free but must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, call Suzann Kistler at 559-625-5430 or visit www.botvquilts.com or www.mcdermontfieldhouse.com .