April 5, 2018

AQC 2018 - in Melbourne

It opened today, and did I go?  You bet your boots I did!  This is the 4th consecutive year for me attending and, well, I just wouldn't miss it for the world.

It's held in the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne.
The sign over the door promises "a one of a kind experience".  Well, let me tell you: they deliver on that promise!
There's a huge number of stalls with vendors showcasing the latest and greatest in tools.  Lots of fabric shops there, too, and many with bargains (if you have a keen eye).

And, of course, quilts.  Hundreds of them in diffent sizes and styles.  You can learn a lot (and get lots of inspiration) by looking at these masterpieces.

Like this one - a fabric painting done in applique.
(doubleclick the picture to see a larger image)
 I don't do applique, myself, but I have gotten interested in making quilts with pre-printed panels.  Quilting the panels has been challenging for me because I really want to "free motion" quilt those, and get away from using groovy boards.  But I get hung up on free-motion outlining and whatnot because I'm afraid what I'm doing won't be perfect.

But look at this one:
 It's absolutely stunning - even more so because the quilter didn't hobble herself (hiself?) with demanding perfect outlines.  The stitches are controlled, but not overly so, and the results are simply amazing.  I'm going to keep this in mind with the next panel I do.

Here's another applique quilt.  I love the simplicity of it -gum leaves cut from batik prints and arranged in regular-sized rectangles of a contrasting batik.  It's just charming.
  The artist says she based each leaf on the shape of a real leaf.  And look at the one in the center here - it's had a chunk bitten off!  I love it!
 I'm not always fond of fabric painting-style quilts, but this one is a stunner...
 ...and look at the detailed, intricate appliques.  Amazing!
 This one used a combination of  applique with thread-painting - and it just glows.
The orange and yellow "leaves" are not applique - they are stitched.  A very effective use of the technique.
 This one blew me away - twice!
 First - have a look at a closeup of the stitching.  MICROSCOPIC!
But here's what just about took my breath away: On the sheet describing the quilt, what it's made of and how it was done was this statement:
Get me some smelling salts, will you?

The piece below is small, maybe 12" x 24".  But it's really sweet.  Looks like a painting, yes?  No. It's applique and stitching.
 The one below is deceptively simple-looking...
...until you get close.  The quilt is made of a single cream panel with coloured appliques that have intricate cut-outs for the windows and doors.  It must have taken ages to do - and it's lovely.
 Here's another knockout, a prize winner and rightfully so.  Simple, yes.  Easy, NO!
 Those little squares are only a half inch!  And they are PERFECT! 
 And here's a mind-blowing bargello.
There are always a few portraits of famous people, like Malala.  This is not a large quilt, just a little more than a square meter, but it is powerful.  I stood nearby for a while and listened to the other visitors at the show as they approached it.  They all knew her name, and spoke it softly - with obvious affection and respect.
This portrait of Obama is fairly large (not sure of the dimensions, maybe 2 square meters?) and interesting because it's done on a single cream cotton panel, with the quilting giving a subtle American flag design (actually - VERY subtle, as I didn't even notice the flag design until I got home and looked at my photo of it).  The dots making up the face are made up of batik fabric which has been bonded to the quilt.
These portraits of royalty are impressive, but they have a kind of "manufactured" look, as opposed to hand crafted.  A little too industrial for my taste, but there you go.
Much more fun is the Van Gogh "challenge".  The panels are small and each one is an image inspired by the great impressionist.
 This is my personal favorite of those:
There's still 3 days left in the convention. Go and see it if you possibly can!

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