Every year I get so excited to see the quilts that roll into Quilt Alliance HQ as entries in our yearly contest. They’re always a stunning, cheerful and diverse group of quilts. It’s amazing to see how differently each quiltmaker interprets that year’s theme. This year, the theme was ‘Inspired By’ — each entrant chose a quilt from the Quilt Index or the Q.S.O.S. project, then made a quilt inspired by their pick.
The Members’ Choice winner this year was Pauline Salzman, for her quilt News Hounds. She was inspired by Jamie Fingal’s quilt, Soul Sisters, from the Quilt Index. Pauline was interviewed for the Q.S.O.S. Project in 2000, and we’ve featured a bit of her interview below.
Congratulations, Pauline, and to all the rest of the fantastic quiltmakers who submitted quilts to this year’s contest!
Pauline shared the story of starting over — re-quilting a quilt in response to a comment she’d gotten at a quilt show.
Pauline Salzman: This quilt was Best of Show at the P & B. It was a challenge quilt, challenge fabric and I did this as a challenge so the choices of fabric were not mine necessarily but I like challenges because they make me expand my horizons. So 95%–75% of this quilt had to be that series of fabrics. Some of them are turned upside-down, and one of them is used on the backside. This quilt traveled for one year as best of show but then went to other shows and did okay and won a few awards but came home two weeks ago. They always come with critiques and the critique was a woman didn’t like how I quilted the body parts. They were inappropriate. And I thought, ‘What a stupid comment.’ So I unrolled the quilt and I realized she was right. And I ripped all of the body parts and re-quilted them. I ripped the hair and I requilted it. I am now going to rip the shirt and the pants and the fish and requilt them. I won’t do anything with the background but one of the reasons I enter quilt shows is not just to win a prize but to get a critique and learn. And sometimes the critiques are valid and sometimes they’re not. Sometimes they’re stupid. This, however, was a valid critique and I learned something. While it was a pain to rip it all, it looks a hundred times better than what it did. And these jeans and this shirt are going to look better. And because I want this to be the best I can do, to me it’s worth ripping and redoing, because it’s a learning experience.
Jo Greenlaw: How was it quilted before?
Pauline Salzman: It was kind of quilted in snail’s trails following the bodies’ curves. But they didn’t make you feel like the body was rolling. You didn’t feel the curvatures. They were there but you didn’t feel them like you do here. You didn’t feel the toes. And here, you didn’t feel the shirt moving like you should. It has movement but it’s quilting that’s there and not doing anything. Like, this is the sand and I can go with this for grounding, and here’s some leaves, and up here are bigger leaves because it’s in the background. You can see the leaves–they’re straight lines with–whatever. You see the leaves here? And I’m a free hand quilter. And it is important for me to fill a space not just with stitching but with something that means something or gives texture or feeling to the piece.”
Have you ever finished quilting a quilt, just to re-do it all over again?
You can read more quilt stories on the Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories page on the Quilt Alliance website.