It’s not uncommon for Homer art galleries to feature group shows. It’s also not uncommon for shows to center on a particular theme. But in what might be a first, the Homer Council on the Arts presents a group show of nine artists who have all contributed to each other’s work.
Opening last Friday, “9 Women / 9 Quilts” presents quilts done by members of the Kachemak Bay Quilters over 18 months. Using the round-robin format, each quilter developed a theme for her quilt. She did a row or section about 48-inches-by-10-inches, and then passed the quilt on to another quilter, who added her contribution, and so on. Contributing are Janet Bacher, Donna Hinkle, Patrice Krant, Karol Miller, Ruby Nofziger, Elaine Plante, Jane Regan, Shirley Svoboda and Linda Wagner.
Krant came up with the idea after noticing at weekly quilting meetings how she knew other quilters’ styles so well she could identify a quilt without being told who had made it.
“I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to have a quilt that had all my friends on it?’” Krant said last week at the First Friday opening.
The result is a unique collection of distinctive quilts that all have their own overall palette and style, but at the same time share unity in the nine artists’ techniques. It’s a show that invites close inspection as well as stepping back and looking at the work as a whole.
Not only did they come up with a theme, some quilters even came up with fabric. For example, Jane Regan’s quilt, “My Mother’s Trunk,” uses pastel colored material from a box of her mother’s fabric. At the First Friday opening, Regan showed that box and invited people to “help clean out my mother’s trunk,” as a sign said, and take pieces.
“My Mother’s Trunk” has unity in form and color, with the rows more expressive of a technique or pattern. That quilt shows the more abstract side of quilting and its use of shapes and patterns. Others, like Janet Bacher’s “Birds in Flight,” are more illustrative. Rather than add to more rows, when it came down to the last two quilters, Bacher asked Krant and Regan to fill in the side panels.
“I said, ‘I want a bird and a birdhouse,’ and they did it,” Bacher said.
Some quilts have clever visual puns. Linda Wagner’s “Bears and Flowers” features just that, fabric with images of bears and flowers. But some pieces also use a pattern called “bear paw,” where the shape looks like the foot of a bear.
Wagner also had another requirement.
“I don’t like dull quilts,” she said. “Bears and flowers — the brighter the better.”
The quilts mix both playfulness and seriousness, sometimes in the same work. Retired teacher Ruby Nofziger’s “On a Bookshelf” would be perfect for a reading nook or small library. Each quilter has done a row of books. Krant’s book designs features titles that are quilting plays on words: “War and Piecing,” “Stitch 22” and “Alice in Fabricland.” Donna Hinkle’s row has names of banned books.
Other quilts include Krant’s “Life By The Sea,” Shirley Svoboda “Purple & Turquoise,” Elaine Plante’s “Bright Colors/Batiks OK,” Karol Miller’s “Down on the Farm” and Donna Hinkle’s “Log Cabin Christmas.” The show runs through the end of February. Together the quilts offer a bright splash of color and design in the monochrome season of winter, a taste of quilting for those who can’t wait for the Kachemak Bay Quilters’ annual Mother’s Day weekend show.