As you most probably know, Ecuador is a country rich in handicrafts, but with no quilting tradition. So the purpose of my first exhibition was to show a variety of possible techniques and designs, going from traditional geometric patchwork to more contemporary designs, including cultural elements from the Andean region.
My interest lay in educating the public at large, and encouraging people to learn this art form… hopefully by taking my classes. 🙂 So this exhibition mostly consisted in relatively simple quilts that illustrated what beginner quilters could possibly achieve. Obviously, there were also more complex quilts, to demonstrate a range of possibilities. At that time I had not even been exposed to textile art, so these quilts were limited pretty much to traditional quilts.
The sample included different techniques: traditional piecing, paper piecing, applique, and cathedral window. There were just over 50 different quilts, between large bed quilts, wall hangings, table toppers and runners, and a couple of quillows. In addition, I included a few small quilted items, like bags, bookmarks, barrettes, candle mats, etc. Most of those 50 quilts were sewn over a 4-month period, from January through April 2003. And yes, it was intense. A few of them had been gifted previously, and their owners were kind enough to lend them to me for this exhibition.
The exhibition took place in a small and super nice private gallery, within a courtyard that also housed and antique store and a coffee shop with outdoor tables were people could sit and enjoy the wonderful weather. Although many of the quilts were hung, the gallery itself was decorated with local pottery and sculptures and some additional furniture to give the place a sense of “home.” The curator was simply awesome in the way he set up the pieces, and I have to credit him for making this a special and very unique show.
We had chosen to hold this exhibition during May because I needed a few months to prepare for it, and because of the association with Mother’s Day. And the people came. 🙂
It was a good… and also long month for me. During those months of preparation and the month of the exhibition itself, I had been feeling very tired, but attributed it to the lack of sleep and the long hours (between 16 to 20 hours a day!) dedicated to preparing this show. On the very last day, however, I felt quite ill. And in pain. Closing the show required quite an effort, and I barely made it home to crawl into bed. But whatever this “bug” was, I simply wasn’t able to shake it off. Two days later I found myself in hospital for an emergency surgery to remove a terribly infected gall bladder that was about to burst…
Luckily, the show had gone well and I had made it through that month. I started to get calls for classes, and my teaching career was about to take off. In the meantime, while I recovered from surgery I started a new quilt, just to keep me from going stir crazy. It was called “My Dream House.” But that’s a story for another day. 🙂
Since then, there has only been one other quilt exhibition in Quito and, as far as I know, in the entire country. This was a smaller show of two sisters, held in early 2011. In addition to traditional quilts, it included a couple of small art pieces. People loved it.
So one of the things that I’ve been thinking for quite a while now, is that I should prepare another exhibition. A much more ambitious one this time. And I have slowly been preparing it. For years. I actually have the concept and the place. And about 50 pieces ready. But I still need many more…
This, also, is a story for another day, but I decided to share it now because by doing so I will have to commit. I’m sure you will hold me accountable. 🙂