2016 Exhibits




Life's Work: Ruth B. McDowell

In a thirty-five year career, Ruth B. McDowell has developed an extraordinary body of art exploring the traditional structure of piecing as a format for original design. Her use of a wide collection of cotton fabrics gives her work incredibly rich surfaces, as well as visual connection to the importance of fabrics in other places and times. Often based in nature, her quilts are included in many private and museum collections. This will be the largest exhibit ever of Ruth's art quilts. 

Plain and Fancy
Not only is 2016 the Vermont Quilt Festival's 40th year, it also marks the 25th anniversary of the 1991 pulication of Plain and Fancy: Vermont's People and Their Quilts. In honor of the occasion, Plain and Fancy authors Donna Bister and Richard Cleveland have organized an exhibit of quilts from the book, augmented by the best Vermont quilts documented by the Vermont Quiltsearch since 1989. Altogether, more than 60 quilts from the hands of three centuries of Vermont quiltmakers will be represented. 
Less is More: Gwen Marston
The work of professional quilt artist and author Gwen Marston, who has taught internationally for more than three decades, is showcased in this exhibit. From the beginning, she was inspired by antique quilts, especially early quilts that were minimal before the term "minimal art" made its debut. Later influences were Lancaster Amish quilts whose graphic designs and bold color brought them to the attention of the larger art world. Gwen believes that it is most often the simplest designs that are the most pleasing, sophisticated, exciting, and artful. "Less is more" as Miles van der Rohe was fond of saying and Gwen has tried to reflect that in her work. 

Lobby Lights: Ruby Jubilee 
The 2011 red and white quilt exhibit in New York City was magnificent and is still talked about. The Vermont Quilt Festival Board decided to create its own version of that exhibit in honor of its 40th anniversary. Area quilters have created a variety of red and white quilts that will fly overhead. Visitors should look up and be inspired.
SewBatik Challenge: Celebration
Whether it is a feeling of satisfaction or a remembrance of a special occasion, holiday or life event, participants were encouraged to use what "Celebration" means to them in the creation of a small quilt. SewBatik provided two fat eighths of fabric. Quilts are judged by SewBatik, who will award the first place winner with a basket of its fabrics valued at $500; the second place winner, a basket valued at $300. Fabric packets for this year's challenge are sold out.

Instructors' Showcase
For nearly four decades, many of VQF's instructors have been at the leading edge of developments in the quilt world. This year's roster is no exception, and visitors have the opportunity to see in person quilts they may otherwise see only in print. As always, this exhibit reflects the diversity of the quilting tradition.  
Gallery Talks 


The curators of each of the special exhibits in Miller North offer free gallery talks about their exhibits. Curators speak daily on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. These informal talks offer visitors
a more in-depth look at the featured exhibits and allow viewers to ask questions to further their appreciation of the displays. A complete schedule is available at the show.
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