The Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show is billed as the biggest outdoor quilt show in the world. Sisters, Oregon is just a beautiful, charming town, full of interesting shops and charming scenery. Overnight it is transformed by hanging over 1300 quilts all over the town. They are everywhere, on the sides of buildings, freestanding on the streets and in the parks, even inside some of the shops. Everywhere you go you see quilts. It is quite an experience.
I’m not always so good at remembering when things happened, but I do remember that when I went to the Sisters Quilt Show for the first time, it was 3 years ago, and I weighed 168. That was a year and a half into my weight loss journey. So actually I was very encouraged that at this show I weighed 161. Vicky often reminds me that most people gain 5-10 pounds per year. So even though I am sometimes frustrated by my lack of movement down the scale, this was a great marking point for me to realize that I am indeed moving in the right direction. In addition, in general I feel even better than I did 3 years ago. I especially notice that my posture is better after these past few months of working out with Vicky.
Now, on to the quilt show tour! Originally, I had wanted to go to the show this year to see the quilters of Gees Bend. These are African-American quilters from a very poor, isolated area in Alabama that were ‘discovered’ a few years ago, and have become quite well-known for their ‘modern art’ quilts. I have been inspired by them not so much because I want to make quilts like theirs, but by the fact that they took just what they had, which was usually worn-out work clothes and scraps of corduroy, and made something beautiful out of them.
Anyway, because we shortened our plans, we missed out on the lecture they were doing. But we were pleasantly surprised when they were asked to sing at the evening ‘picnic’ that we attended. They sang old spirituals, and it was such a moving experience.. Then the next morning, the first thing we headed for was the exhibit of their quilts. In the afternoon, right before we left to go home, we headed back to the quilt store for one more look around, and were surprised that the Gees Bend quilters were still there, and were giving an informal talk about their lives and quilting. I was so impressed with how God was naturally interwoven into their talk about everything in their lives. They have lived very hard lives by most people’s standards, and yet they talked about how blessed they were. I think my favorite line was ‘but we was happy chillun!’ which came after a description of the abject poverty that they lived in. And then they broke out into song again! I’m telling you, it was really a moving experience. I didn’t get any good shots of the quilts they had there, but this is one of their most famous ones–its on the cover of their first book.
The quilt pictured at the top of the page is a ‘collaborative quilt’ by the team of Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston. These gals are 70-80 years old, and are as funny as can be. They gave a lecture at the picnic, and we just love hearing them talk. My favorite line of theirs was ‘we enjoy admiring our own work!’ My friend and I fancy ourselves younger versions of Freddy and Gwen, and have tried ‘collaborative quilting’ ourselves. It is harder than it looks.
One of our favorite discoveries at the first Sisters quilt show was a singer named Lindy Gravelle. She is something else! Kind of sings country/honky tonk/blues. Has her own style, and definitely sings songs that women can relate to! It doesn’t hurt that she is our age and enjoying the heck out of life. This is a link to a video/slide show of the quilt show with Lindy singing in the background
This next quilt was one of my favorites. I guess I like it because of the colors and all the ‘stuff’ in it. It is called ‘Sam’s World,’ and just has everyday scenes of what goes on in a little girl’s life. I love the 3D ‘sleeping bags’ down on the lower left corner.
There were two of these quilt-covered cars! Can you believe people spend time doing this? Fun to look at.
This heron quilt was found in the ‘teacher’s tent.’ The details are beautiful, and I am always attracted to herons.
Well, that concludes my quilt show tour! I’ll be back tomorrow with more pics from my trip!