Our Art Critique Group: Fran MacEachren, Pat Dolan, Polly Miller, Irmgard Lee (the instigator of both our group and of the show!), MaryLou Pepe, and Nancy Silverman. Missing from the photo is Janet Lindsay. Also missing is Tina Aumiller, who was unable to participate with us this year.
As requested, here is more information about who we are, how many there are of us, how we function, etc.
To begin, State College, PA is a university town (Penn State U) and therefore offers a great deal by way of the arts than most small/medium rural towns in the country. There is a very active quilt guild, Centre Pieces Quilt Guild, and the group hosts a large quilt show approximately every other year. There are smaller interest groups within the guild, one of which focuses on art quilts and the women know each other from various other activities, as well.
When I moved to town, I joined the Art Alliance of Central PA. (I just noticed that my page at the sight is missing. Ooops.) I also became an exhibitor at The Gallery Shop in Lemont, PA. (While I'm no longer showing my work there since sales of wall art are nearly non-existent in this economic atmosphere, exhibiting there was a great way to get my work seen.) Several members of the quilt guild saw my work hanging at the shop and in the Art Alliance juried shows and they wanted to meet me. Three of us met for lunch and that was the beginning of our little group.
There are 8 members, but only 7 of us exhibited our work last weekend. The eighth member is presently swamped with her family and her job. We'll be seeing more of her in the coming years! Meanwhile, the rest of us meet nearly every month to share our current work, our design problems, our stories, and our lives. We've become a close-knit group in these 2 short years and give/take suggestions quite willingly. Some of our members may lack a bit of the self-confidence of others, but everyone's work is truly creative and amazing. We always learn something from one another whenever we get together.
Our challenge pieces:
Work above top L to R: Pat Dolan, Janet Lindsay, and Irmgard Lee
Bottom row: Fran MacEachren, Polly Miller, MaryLou Pepe, and Nancy Silverman
(Please see the November 7th blog for the challenge guidelines)
Let's see... Two of us have art degrees. Two started quilting in the 60's and 70's. Several, maybe most, have taught or are teaching quilting classes. One very creative gal was taught by another and has only been quilting for 5 years. Some of us are retired and others are not. And we live in a 5-10 mile radius of one another.
Do we have a meeting format? No, not really. Well, maybe a loose structure... If someone knows they will need to leave early, we get to the "show + tell" part right away. Otherwise we share whatever has happened in our lives in the past month. Then we look at our work, one person at a time and they talk about their experience, vision, joy and/or problems encountered with the work. Then we all chip in with ideas, encouragement, suggestions and support. And after our show + tell, we have tea and dessert together (usually hand-crafted, super-tasty, beautiful desserts) and chat some more. And we do keep the meetings to 2 hour sessions on the 3rd Monday of each month.
Now, consider 6 women hanging the show featured in my Nov. 5th blog. We had 2 tall ladders and one short ladder; one tall gal, several medium height gals, and a few short gals. We had to move all the desks and easles to clean the space since it's a class room during the week. Then we had to spackle all the holes remaining from the previous exhibit. Then we had to figure out just HOW to hang our work in ways that were appropriate for an art gallery rather than a quilt show. As most of you know, quilt shows generally are hung by category or by guest artist, etc. Art exhibits are more often hung by how well the pieces look together in the space allotted. Sizes and shapes are varied, but one tries to have a flow of movement and color throughout the entire exhibit space.
We were all amazed at how well we worked together, dividing the tasks, hanging different wall space, finding appropriate quilts to fill the location and color scheme. We actually had FUN both putting the show up and taking it down.
Yes, it was exhausting work - each admitted to taking a nap Friday after the hanging and prior to the Reception. Most, but not all, of us are mid-60 or older. We all have various aches, pains and/or medical issues as well home situations that require attention and energy. But we did it - we set a goal, a date, a challenge and then proceeded to make it all happen. And we are thrilled with the way the exhibit looked and with the response from the viewers.
So there you have it, answers to your queries. If you have anymore questions, just ask. I'll oblige if there's an answer to be had!