By Jennifer Thorpe
June 6, 2018

Article from St Mary's Independent

 Traveling Quilts - Make it big, make it small

Traveling Quilts - Make it big, make it small

“Make It Big, Make It Small,” a quilt and fibre art exhibit presented by Quilt Squared at the St. Marys Museum, opened May 14th and runs until Sunday, June 10th.  The exhibit features the works of artists in Perth County and beyond, and has attracted visitors from across Canada, the US, and Europe, demonstrating the immense popularity and interest in modern quilting and fabric arts. It’s nothing short of a small but mighty wonder as the challenge – “Make It Big, Make It Small” – limits artists to a twelve-inch by twelve-inch fabric panel.

The restriction in size has not restricted imagination, and this year’s challenge has been interpreted in thought-provoking and strikingly heartfelt ways, exploring themes of family, nature, wildlife, environmental conservation and – most interestingly – the unfolding discoveries of the universe.

It’s a lot to pack into such a small canvas but exhibit curator, Alizon Sharun, is not surprised by the variety and depth of interpretation.  Their inaugural exhibit in 2017, which was featured in Canadian Quilter magazine, attracted thirty-five very diverse submissions, inspired by Canada’s sesquicentennial and the colours of the newly designed Perth County Tartan.  This year offers another glimpse into the incredible range of creativity and talent that the artists bring to the challenge. Local historian, Mary Smith, offered admiration and praise for the exhibit.  “I think it’s wonderful.  It’s an art exhibit, fabric art.  People can really see it and appreciate it and come back to see it again.”

“Make It Big, Make It Small” features forty-seven submitted pieces and offers, once again, inspiring and deeply creative interpretations.  Artists were invited to submit pieces that expanded on “the theme of contrasting size.  Represent a BIG idea in a small quilt.  Your piece can be traditional, modern, abstract.”  And they delivered!

This exhibit is joyful fusion of modern and traditional techniques, from the traditional patterns like Log Cabin, Double Spinwheel and Trip Around The World to the abstract and three-dimensional pieces like “Posey” by Linda Dineen (Ingersoll) and “Rest A Moment” by Chantelle Marshall (Granton).

There are pieces which delight with wit, whimsy and charm, like “How small can I go?” by Chantal Lynch (St Marys), “Laundry Day” by Mary Veenman (London) and “Channeling Andy Warhol,” by Linda Hutchinson (Burlington).

And there are nods to the passing down of quilting knowledge across generations and the use of recycled items, such as “Generations” by Sara Easby (Bristol, UK), a lovely piece featuring ribbons belonging to generations of women in her family.   Stratford’s Ruth Thompson submitted “Noodle Cabin on Trash Island,” a thought-provoking piece made of entirely recycled material in the first of her Plastic Plaids series.

Nature is also another feature, found in “Our Big Lakes in a small quilt” by Gerrie Noordam (Stratford) which uses an interesting technique to capture the waves of the lake, and the intricate and delicate design in “The Secret Life Of Plants” by Theodora Rijkhoff (Walton).

Surprisingly one of the big elements captured on the small canvas came together in a serendipitous grouping of pieces exploring the mysteries of the cosmos.  “Planetary Progression” by Susan van Arkel (London), “The Pillars of Creation” by Alizon Sharun (St. Marys) and “Sungrazer” by Melanie Kindrachuk (Stratford) are all wonderful expressions of creative vision.

In addition to the artist submissions, the exhibit came together with the support of the St. Marys Museum and curator Amy Cubberley, and was generously supported by the Town of St. Marys, St. Marys Insurance group, St. Marys Meridian Credit Union and Hyggelight Fabrics.

“Make It Big, Make It Small” will travel to Quilts At The Creek Collective at Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto this July, but visitors in St. Marys will have another short opportunity to enjoy these pieces when the exhibit returns to St. Marys for the QuiltX Show on September 21 & 22.  Some pieces are available for purchase; prices are listed in the program listing.