Beyond the Average Tourist Stop
To enjoy the Best of the Valley, set aside one weekend in April to come to the Central Valley. There’s a lot to do and experience beyond the average tourist stops. Mark your calendars for early April of each year. The 2019 show took place at McDermott Field House, or McDermott X, an amusement center in Lindsay, CA.
The regional show of quilts and cloth dolls featured 163 competition quilts, 83 dolls, 8 challenge quilts, 8 quilters by quilters 80 years old or older, and 9 quilts by quilters under the age of 18 for a grand total of 271 pieces of stitchery.
Introducing Carmen Friesen, Featured Artist for 2019
This year my good friend Carmen Friesen from Strathmore, CA was the featured artist with over 30 quilts on display. She started seriously quilting about the time I met her in 2002.
One of my favorite quilts, The Story Teller, she made during that time. The simple style appeals to the old kindergarten teacher in me. Carmen told many stories to students during her teaching and consulting career.
What makes Carmen an interesting artist is that she stretches herself and moves from style to style. She studies her art and takes classes from master quilters all over the country. In the picture alone, you see dolls, pieced quilts and applique. She also raises iris, which you can see peeping up at the back of the table.
After she retired, Carmen also took up horseback riding, bought a horse and even took a dude ranch vacation or two. For this quilt she couldn’t find the pattern that she wanted, so she used her own boot as a pattern.
Most of her quilts, Carmen quilts on a long arm machine. These garden kitties got special attention while Carmen hand quilted this piece. Several people at the show asked her if she could quilt something for them. She snickered to herself.
“They have no idea,” she told us. She told them, “You can’t afford me.”
There are few people who hand quilt anymore since it is so time-consuming. Even at pennies-an-hour a bed-sized quilt, quilted as intricately as most quilts are today, would cost hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars. Quilters today enjoy the modern conveniences of precise cutting, marking and sewing equipment. They turn out amazing works of art that their ancestors would have marveled to see.
My phone ran out of power before I could take all the pictures of Carmen’s quilts, but you can see more of her work in related articles.
Speaking of Ancestors
One of the quilts that caught my friends’ eyes was a Civil War-type quilt. I had to slow down and see what made them gawk. Trust me, those stitches were tiny, as were the triangles. Each tiny blue triangle that formed the larger triangle in the block had a different navy blue print.
Award Winning Quilts
This quilt, Heart of America, captured our attention for several minutes. The artist’s attention to detail made us go back for second and third looks. My friend Sylvia marveled at the flying birds. Connie loved the expression on the dog shivering in the snow not warm and cozy in the barn. Each square had too much to take in for a drive-by look. Artist, Sharon Engle won the Viewer’s Choice
Girls love dolls, and there were some fabulous dolls at this show you would have loved to take home. My personal favorite did not win, but I kept going back to try to cheer him up. He had the same look as Furrnando, and my Puppy Girl. He looked little rough around the edges and needed a lot of love.
There were some wild women (dolls) at this showing and a few freaks! The third one over, Looking for the Isle of Guinea Pig, captured the Viewers Choice award for dolls.
The quilt show draws hundreds of viewers who love quilted art. If you are one of them, plan to come to the Central Valley in our most beautiful month of the year – April. Bring an empty suitcase because the vendors have some amazing gifts so you can stock up for Christmas and birthdays.
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