Quilt Journalist Tells All 
A Newsletter From Meg Cox
September 
 2012 


Quilt World
News Round-up: 
SAQA Auction 
 
Every year I look forward to the auction that benefits SAQA, Studio Art Quilt Associates.
 
This year's auction began last week, and will continue for two more. All quilts are 12 inches square, and they come in a very wide variety of themes and techniques.
 
You can guess why I picked the clever and colorful one below to illustrate the auction: this quilt by Rose Allen is called "Writer's Block."
 
If you click on the quilt, you can look at the quilts up for bidding this week and next, and get bidding directions.
 
I buy something most years, and I can tell you that it's quite easy. And this is a great size for a quilt to hang over your desk or sewing machine, for inspiration. 
SAQA auction 2012
click for auction info

 

 



American Folk Art Museum Names New Director

It was a sad day last year when this New York museum, burdened with debt, had to sell its museum to its wealthier neighbor, MOMA. Many staffers were sacked, including the director.    
But AFAM didn't die, it just pulled back to its smaller, rented galleries across from Lincoln Center. It continued to put on exhibitions, and contemplate its future.

Earlier this month, the museum named an impressive new director, Anne-Imelda Radice, who just started her new job. Most recently Radice was the head of the Institute of Museum and Library Services in D.C., after major roles at such places as the Humanities Endowment. She worked as a curator at the National Gallery, and was the first director of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. 

              Radice-- AFAM

I asked her about why she moved from a national institution to AFAM, a museum working through a crisis, and she said, "In many ways my previous jobs prepared me for this amazing opportunity."

Radice said the museum is "free of debt, stable and moving forward, with a bright future." And, she adds, "Quilts will always have an important place within the institution."

It will take some time for her to put a stamp on the place, but meanwhile, quilts are very much in the mix. A gorgeous silk log cabin quilt is hanging now at the museum, part of a fun exhibit called "Ooh, Shiny!"

And, for those who can get to the Boca Raton Museum of Art between now and Jan. 20, there is an exhibit called "Politics NOT as Usual: Quilts With Something to Say," which was curated by AFAM's Stacy Hollander. It includes the quilt below: click on the image to get to the museum's website. 

 

Folk Art Museum politics show
click for exhibit info

   I, for one, am hoping this quilt show tours, and comes to NY.

 

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 600 pages, $18.95
 

 
 
 300 Traditions, $16
 
 
 
 
 
Dear Friends--    

    I'm just back from the second annual Quilters Take Manhattan benefit for the Quilt Alliance, and I can tell you it was epic. Attendance exceeded our expectations, and our headliners, Denyse Schmidt and Jennifer Chiaverini, were amazing.
    You can read some of the highlights below, as well as a review of the much-anticipated memoir by quilt and fabric designer Kaffe Fassett, and other news from inside the quilt world. 
     Once again, there is a wondrous giveaway at the end, the last of the $50 gift certificates to Superior Thread. Yes, you can use it to buy some of their aptly named thread, but you can also buy fabric if you want, which Superior is now selling as well.
     Enjoy this issue, and forward it to a friend!
 

What to Read Now? 

Kaffe Fassett's Inspiring Memoir:
Dreaming in Color: An Autobiography
Kaffe's knit coat
click to order books & fabric
     There is a lot you don't know about Kaffe Fassett. An art school dropout whose given name is actually Frank, the man's childhood was impossibly idyllic.
     His bohemian parents bought a quaint log cabin on the rocky California coast, near Big Sur, with amazing views -but no electricity, to raise their 5 kids. The previous owner was Orson Welles, who had bought it as a honeymoon present for Rita Hayworth.
     Eventually, the Fassetts built a "rustic modern" restaurant nearby, Nepenthe
 (still open to this day), which became a magnet to renowned artists, writers and Hollywood stars. The gawky teenager who had by then plucked the name "Kaffe" out of a book he loved, was rubbing elbows with the likes of Gloria Swanson, Jane Fonda and novelist Henry Miller. 
     An attractive man hungry for life and art, Kaffe went on to consort with an astonishing number of famous people, but it never seems to have given him a big head. He says he was warned early that his gifts for both dance and theater were slight: Dustin Hoffman, a classmate at a prestigious summer arts program, once said, "Kaffe Fassett couldn't act himself out of a wet paper bag." Luckily he had other gifts, in abundance.
     After an ecstatic tour of great European museums, Kaffe settled in New York in the early '60s with the hopes of becoming a successful painter. He crossed paths with such creative giants as Leonard Bernstein, who said to him at a party, "How does it feel to be the most handsome man in the world?"
     Apparently it felt pretty wonderful, but the great joy for Kaffe was trying every possible type of art and craft. He drew, painted, did mosaics and designed ballet sets and costumes. He painted murals in the mansions of heiresses. 
     Eventually he settled in London, where he still resides today, but he began to feel a pull away from so-called "fine" arts toward the seductive crafts of needlepoint and knitting. Though he was warned these dalliances with lesser media would ruin his reputation, Kaffe was mesmerized and energized by the glorious colors and textures he found. In the end, he was a revolutionary in knitting, turning out vivid, over-the-top garments like the coat pictured above. And he got the last laugh once his works were featured in museum shows.
     It wasn't until the '90s that Kaffe took up quilting, thanks to the persistence of Liza Lucy, who now co-writes quilt books with Kaffe and co-teaches terrific color workshops. 
     For those wanting a how-to craft book, this isn't for you: instead, I recommend the latest awesome KF project book,
Kaffe Quilts Again. 
     But this book is an inspiring romp through one man's creative life, filled to overflowing with photographs of his works, friends and influences. One thing I especially love is how it juxtaposes pieces he made in wildly different media, decades apart. I loved seeing, for example, a flower painting by Odilon Redon and the knits, needlepoint and fabric that echo its bold influence. 
     I suspect this book will introduce quilters to his knits and knitters to his quilts, but I hope it reaches much farther than that. Buy this book now for yourself, and consider it a perfect gift for anyone you know who loves color and good design.
     If you click on the photo above, you will be able to order this and other Kaffe books, as well as his amazing fabric.
     One last note: for anyone still puzzled about pronunciation, Liza Lucy has a helpful hint: "Kaffe Fassett is a safe asset." 
     I would say not just safe, but essential. If I could only have one designer's fabric in my stash, it would be his. After reading this book, I feel that more strongly than ever. 
  

DS at QTM from Heather blog
read the blog here

Quilters Take Manhattan:

What an Amazing Day!!!!        

     The Quilt Alliance definitely "took" Manhattan on Saturday, with the help of more than 300 ticket-holders. People came from as far away as Vancouver, Idaho and Montana. Two women from Boston, who jumped on a bus Friday morning, told their husbands they had won tickets, and "had to come."  
     
     The varied program, which included two major quilt world headliners, designer Denyse Schmidt and novelist Jennifer Chiaverini, was punctuated with great door prizes, delicious sweets, stunning quilts and impressive goody bags. Everyone was sad that Mark Lipinski was too ill to attend, but Alliance board member Marie Bostwick read Mark's funny and touching remarks.  
 
     The After Dark party at Victoria Findlay Wolfe's loft was a blast, with a mix of fiddle music, creating block designs on the wall of her quilt studio, and happy quilters meeting some of their idols, quiltinis in hand.  
     When the Q.S.O.S. interview I did with Denyse is posted, I'll let everyone know. 
     Whether you helped the Alliance take Manhattan or still have that experience ahead of you, never fear. The Alliance board is already working on Quilters Take Manhattan 3.0, so stay tuned! This is an excellent excuse to build a quilt-filled NYC weekend into your 2013 plans.    
     p.s. If you have a strong feeling about what quilt or craft somebody the Alliance should present next year, drop me a note at meg@megcox.com.      
  


winners at qtm

 
Here I am with Jan Rodgers (left) and her friend, who won free tickets from this newsletter. They had a GREAT time!!! We're standing in front of my favorite Denyse Schmidt quilt from her new book.

While we are on the topic of my favorite quilt-related charity, I hope you will run out to pick up a copy of the October issue of The Quilt Life. If you have not seen it, there is a terrific article about the Alliance's Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories project, from the volunteer's perspective.

october issue



September Giveaway  

Yes, I do have one more $50 gift certificate for Superior Threads. Here is their website you want to browse and think about how you might spend that money. 


In addition, I am giving away one of the stunning new tote bags designed (and modeled here) by Quilt Alliance executive director Amy Milne. These were the goody bags we gave away at Quilters Take Manhattan, but they will soon be available for sale on the website. 

 Please send me an email stating which giveway you'd like to receive, to meg@megcox.com. Winner to be picked and notified on September 30.   


tote  


 

See you back here in October!

Quilt on!
love, Meg
 
      
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