03 October 2013

Trunk show goes on the road

by Chris Nielsen, Head of St. Margaret's Bay, Nova Scotia

I took the trunk show out for its first 'visit' today. I arranged to attend a weekly meeting of a group called the Community Stitchers. There were 57 people present this morning. I gave a brief presentation about the evolution of quilts from utilitarian item to artwork and talked about the definition of an art quilt. Then I highlighted a few of the pieces in the trunk show to illustrate the diversity of techniques and approaches.When the group approached the tables where the show was displayed I stood and listened and answered questions.

Here's what I learned:

This group was particularly enchanted by the pieces that involved handwork.

Shiny things grab everyone's attention.

Many people were interested in exploring/playing a little with the concept of art quilts but wanted instruction. I had many inquiries about classes and workshops.

I also brought along three of my poem series and one unrelated piece in progress. I left them on tables at the back of the room so that people could see a larger implementation of the same techniques. They attracted a lot of interest and one brought tears to the eyes of the organizer of the group. She began to tell me stories about an image related to her father. I doubt that she will explore art quilts but I encouraged her to see if she could find a way to express what she was feeling using the skills and materials with which she is familiar.

It was interesting to see the trunk show through the eyes of people who were completely new to what we do. It raises questions for me about how we can, as a group or as individuals, help novices come to the point where they could call themselves art quilters.

By the way, I think at least one person present will become a SAQA member within the next year. Another might follow her lead.

The trunk show will be with me for another week. I have dates to take it to a couple of out-of-the-box places. On the theory that people often won't go to an art gallery, I am bringing the art to them.


  1. Good for you, Chris! The more people given a chance to see this sort of art, the merrier!

  2. The responses of others is often so inspirational to what we do ourselves. The more people are exposed to the variations of art quilting, the more interesting it is for all, I think. Good on you, Chris, for taking art to the “streets”!