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Location: Algonquin, Illinois, United States

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Challenges

Today my feet are once more planted firmly upon the ground. I truly cherish the few days that I was able to soar among the clouds. Having a piece of my work included in the book has been indescribable. But now it is time to taxi that little plane into the hanger and start planning for the next sojourn into the clouds.

I had promise you all a report on the Greater Chicago Quilt Exposition and the Alzheimer’s: Forgetting Piece by Piece exhibit, so here it is however belatedly. I first have to preface my remarks by stating that this is the first year for the Exposition in this location, so I am hopeful the show management will be addressing some of these issues. The Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center is a brand new facility and physically getting to the location could not have been easier. The drawback was that I keep looking for signage telling me that I was headed for a Quilt show. There was none. Even as I pulled into the parking lot of the Convention Center there was no indication that I was even in the right place or which door I should enter.

Since I was scheduled to white glove and I was specifically looking for the Alzheimer’s Exhibit I grabbed the “Official Program Book”. I flipped to the map of the show floor, which I found to be difficult to read but eventually I found my way back to the exhibit.

I have a quilt showing with this exhibit and I was quite thrilled that it was the first quilt that I saw when I located the exhibit. Finally, I knew that I was in the right place. Because I was white gloving I had the opportunity to really observe how people viewed the exhibit. The largest issue by far was the configuration of the pipe and drape that was set up by the show management. Because it resembled the configuration of the World Quilt Competition that was installed just in front of the Alzheimer’s Exhibit many people did not realize that these quilts were in any way different. People who specifically wanted to view the Alzheimer’s Exhibit were confused. Numerous times I was asked which quilts were part of the exhibit.

I know from talking to Ami Simms, the curator of the exhibit, that day that she has a specific order in hanging the quilts so that the quilts begin to tell a story that has a beginning middle and an end. That story was not easily discernable. Working with the set up that she was giving I think that Ami did the best that could be done. Those constraints made viewing the exhibit a bit of a disappointment.

The quilts themselves and the artist statements that accompany them are moving, sad humorous, poignant and above all touching. One woman wept continually as she viewed the quilts. When I asked her if she knew someone who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s I was taken aback when she said “no”. She explained that she had heard of Alzheimer’s but that she had no idea of the ramifications of the diagnosis.

Despite the drawbacks of the installation the quilts still managed to touch those who viewed them. My advice is, if you can see the exhibit in person, do so, and by all means purchase the CD. The CD contains an overall and a detail photo of each quilt included it the exhibit. The best part is that Ami has managed to include audio so that you can hear each artist describing their quilt as you view the images. You can buy the CD online at Ami’s site.

For your viewing pleasure I have included my April Journal Quilt. This one is titled “April’s Shower”.

A smooth sea never made a skillful mariner, neither do uninterrupted prosperity and success qualify for usefulness and happiness. The storms of adversity, like those of the ocean, rouse the faculties, and excite the invention, prudence, skill and fortitude or the voyager. The martyrs of ancient times, in bracing their minds to outward calamities, acquired a loftiness of purpose and a moral heroism worth a lifetime of softness and security. —Author Unknown

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