Monday, July 17, 2017

Sacred Threads 2017

It was quilt show weekend for PGFiber2Art as both Sue and Elizabeth attended quilt exhibits in different places, Elizabeth in New England and Sue in Virginia.  The Virginia exhibit is Sacred Threads, a biannual show that is an exhibition of quilts expressing life's journeys, specifically: Joy, Inspiration, Spirituality, Healing, Grief, and Peace & Brotherhood.  This is a show quite unlike others, not only for the subject matter, but for the way it is set up and the emotional experience it evokes. Unlike most shows where quilts are lined up in rows or alcoves where there is plenty of distance between the quilt and viewer, this show is much more intimate.  Whether by  space restrictions or design (or both), the Sacred Threads quilts are displayed in a maze (or labyrinth) where you walk through in twists and turns all the while calming music plays in the the background.  You are up close and personal with all the quilts.  It is quite an emotional experience, given the subject matter and personal messages provided by the quilters.  My only complaint is that sometimes it is also nice to be able to view the quilts from a distance as well as close up.  At any rate, this show never disappoints.  It continues through July 23 at Floris UMC church in Herndon, VA.  After that, a portion of the quilts will travel to other venues.  More info is available on the Sacred Threads website.  Here are some of Sue's favorites, though it is really hard to choose and limit the number.  The word in all caps is the category that the quilt represents.
JOY  Boundless Joy, The Red Balloon is by Jane L. King of Longmont, Colorado.  The child running through the flowers with her red balloon is the maker's granddaughter.
PEACE & BROTHERHOOD  Marafiki by Barbara Allen of Rensselaer, NY.  Marafiki is Swahili for friend.  Barbara says that racism is a product of broken adults.  We are all born brothers and sisters with love for each other.
PEACE & BROTHERHOOD  Our Girls are Gone by Meghan Welch Betts of Arlington, VA.  This is a tribute to the girls in Nigeria who were kidnapped from their school by Boko Haram and all the other women and girls stolen from their homes and villages around the world.  (The lighting doesn't show the background well; it is shades of green from light to dark.)
PEACE & BROTHERHOOD  Blue is Not My Favorite Color by Mary Ann McCammon of Sherwood, Oregon.  Mary Ann teaches quilting at a correctional facility in Oregon where the inmates must wear blue.  Consequently, it is not their favorite color and when quilting they are able to choose their own colors.  Words in the background are negative remarks that they associate with the color blue.
SPIRITUALITY  Pyrite Ammonites by Kimberly Lacy of Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Says Kimberly, the structure of the shell provides a metaphor for life; it is forever moving in and out, staying shallow and digging deep.  Click to enlarge for a better look at the detail and subtleties of color.
HEALING  Birdsong VII: Forget Me Not by Sonia Grasvik of Burien, Washington.  This quilt was made in memory of Sonia's mother and sister who passed a year apart.
HEALING  Moving On by Maggie Ward of Warrenton, VA.  If you look at the right side of the piece, you'll see that the vertical line invokes the human figure.  To Maggie, it depicts the spirit of a friend who died of cancer.
INSPIRATION  Forget Me Not by Gerrie Lynne Thompson of Happy Valley, Oregon.  Gerrie depicts the feeling that as we age, we become more invisible - our hair greys, skin is less vibrant, we fade into the background; this piece is saying don't forget me, I still have value.
INSPIRATION  Love, Stinger by Kay Benedict of St. Albans, VT.  This piece begins with a favorite photo of the maker's father from WWII.  It is overlaid with a sheer layer on which is printer a letter that he sent to her mother during the war.  His nickname was Stinger.
HEALING  Despair...and Hope by Elaine J. Ross of Batavia, NY.  Elaine depicts what it is like to suffer from chronic depression - the highs and lows.  There are hands stitched onto the tree trunk depicting the days when she is able to climb up to find the light.
GRIEF  Off Her Rocker by Sandra Holland of Cortland, NY.  When her sister was diagnosed with cancer, her abandoned rocker was overgrown with ivy.
GRIEF  Missing by Karen S. Musgrave of Naperville, Illinois.  The empty chairs represent loss, longing, and memories of friends and family who have passed on.
GRIEF  Holding On, Letting Go by Laura Moss Gottlieb of Madison, Wisconsin.  Laura honors her mother, whose hands were capable of many things but seldom caressed; even though she couldn't hold close, Laura still finds it difficult to let go.

As you can see from these examples, "emotional" is probably the best word to describe these amazing quilts.  If you want to see more, check the exhibit schedule on the website.  A catalog of the exhibit is also available here.


  1. These are wonderful pieces. Thank you for sharing the photos.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this powerful show with others.