Creating quilts and fine woodwork is nothing if not an exercise in patience. Countless hours are spent chiseling, painting, sanding, stitching, embroidering and dyeing. Enjoy these labors of love at the Pioneers Museum as they celebrate the 20th annual Quilts and Woodworking Exhibition through Oct. 30.
Co-sponsored by the Colorado Quilting Council and the Rocky Mountain Gallery of Fine Woodworking, this annual exhibition features the finest in contemporary regional woodworking and quilting.
Outside the main exhibit are highlighted pieces by Fraser Smith and Joyce Robinson. Almost as if the artists were working in conjunction, both created independent works that unintentionally reflected on the other. Robinson (Mayville, Colo.) presented a collection of nine bowls made from quilted cotton, brightly hand-dyed in a batik fashion, with crisscrossing seams used to create depth.
Smith (Tampa, Fla.), a nationally known artist of carved wood, showcased his wooden quilt sculpture "Connect." An extraordinary optical illusion, he used a traditional geometric quilting pattern to create a textured wood piece that looks incredibly soft, draping and folding over its display. Not until the viewer looks closely does it become apparent that the "quilt" is not quilted, but carved.
Upon entering the gallery, the sensory reaction is visceral. The mixture of the two mediums creates a room that not only is well lighted to highlight the coziness and warmth of the art, but also just smells plain good.
The woodwork pieces consist of everything from furniture and high-relief carvings to modern art sculptures and a magnificent harp. Eugene Watson (Pueblo, Colo.) has created two fascinatingly complex and elegant boxes, one a multifaceted trapezoid made with cocobolo, maple and leather, with a secret compartment.
"Krista's Horn" by Tom Castaldo (Colorado Springs) features a seemingly playable wooden French horn, and Brad John Peyton's humorous "Falling to Pieces" displays a wooden kitchen knife slowly slicing up a bowl. Many other pieces defy what the eye perceives as "wood," appearing to be carved from stone or molded from clay.
Over 40 one-of-a-kind quilts adorn the walls. Historically, around 1840 the American textile industry boomed, and the influx of readily available fabric meant that quilting became an acceptable way for women to express their creativity. Today, that tradition is thriving and its creative outlook has far advanced.
Through time, various patterns have stood for events in one's life. As an example, an enormous double wedding ring design by Jessie M. King is showcased, delicately pieced together in spring tones.
Other quilts broadly range to the conceptual. "13,000 B.C." by Kay Caunt was meant to resemble cave art. Using hand embroidery along with her machine piecework, the quilt looks both delicate and neo-ancient.
All woodworking and quilt entries were reviewed by independent professional judges for acceptance into the show. Museum visitors are encouraged to vote for their favorite pieces.
-- Kara Luger
Quilts & Fine Woodworking Exhibition
Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, 215 S. Tejon St.
Aug. 28-Oct. 30