I received a free ticket to attend QuiltCon as a podcaster.
QuiltCon 2017 took place last weekend, February 23-26, 2017. Presented by the Modern Quilt Guild (MQG), QuiltCon is the largest modern quilting show of its kind. This year’s event took place at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center in warm, sunny downtown Savannah, not far from the campus of the Savannah College of Art and Design. This is the fourth QuiltCon.
“The energy and excitement of QuiltCon still exists into our fourth show and reflects the commitment of our membership to the growth, development and community of modern quilting,” said Heather Grant, the director of marketing and programming for the Los Angeles-based headquarters of the MQG. “The support of our membership and the work of the MQG staff over these first years has created a show and organization that will be around for many years to come.”
The keynote speaker was well-known longarm quilter, shop owner, author and teacher, Angela Walters. Tasmanian quilter Kat Jones won best in show for her stunning paper pieced quilt, “bling.” The Modern Quilt Guild flew Jones to the event so to accept the award in person.
Special exhibits included “The Quilts of Angela Walters,” “Siddi Quilts” which featured vibrantly colored quilts made by Indians of African descent, an area devoted to the #quiltsforpulse movement started by the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild, among several others.
According to Grant show attendance was strong this year, although somewhat lower than previous years due to the market size of Savannah. 2,711 people purchased four-day show passes, which were up by 62% from last year, evidence that the number of dedicated attendees has increased. The heaviest attendance took place on Saturday when 1,303 people entered the show. Sunday was the lightest day at 368.
“Say Anything” by Lysa Flower.
On the show floor attendees were treated to a huge array of award-winning modern quilts as well as vendors selling quilting products. All weekend long there were lectures, demonstrations, and classes taught by some of the best quilters in world. Many vendor booths offered make-and-takes allowing people to try out the latest fabrics and supplies. Although they weren’t on the teaching roster, designer Tula Pink and Missouri Star YouTube personality Jenny Doan made appearances in vendor booths during the show.
This year’s show included a podcasting booth for the first time giving podcasters (like myself) a place to record interviews during the event. Free, fast WiFi on the show floor made sharing the event on social media easy.
In the evening many attendees spent time together exploring restaurants in Savannah and enjoying the city via ghost tours.
Walking the show and talking with people I heard some question the line between art quilts and modern quilts, specifically when it comes to the size of a quilt. Can a small quilt that was clearly meant to be hung on the wall rather than be used as a covering still be considered a modern quilt. Is practicality a necessity?
Big stitch quilting was a clear trend visible on many of the show quilts and big stitch quilting products were for sale in several vendor booths. Cork fabrics were another vendor trend inspiring some quilters to give this unusual substrate a try.
The atmosphere at the event felt upbeat and positive with many people praising the MQG for executing such a large and well-organized weekend.
The mission of the MQG is “to support and encourage the growth and development of modern quilting through art, education, and community.” QuiltCon 2017 did just that.