At this retreat, there is lots of time to interact. Everyone brings a few recent quilts to put up on design boards that have been placed around the room. Then, at various time during the retreat each person has a chance to talk about their work and answer questions. It’s a wonderful opportunity to get up really close and learn.
The retreat began by everyone introducing themselves and telling about something exciting that has happened to them during the last year. My awe of these ladies only increased as each person described the solo shows they’ve had, or the awards they won, or the elite quilt shows they’ve been accepted into. Four or five of the ladies at the retreat received the honor of having a quilt accepted into Quilt National. Many have had quilts there in the past. Me? I’ve never even tried to enter! Maybe at some future time.During the afternoon session, Sandy Shelenberger demonstrated how to do encaustics, which is basically wax painting. It was so much fun watching her free approach to applying color and creating texture. Of course, it made everyone want to try it too. At some time or other, everyone in the group shares an in-depth presentation of their art. This year it was my turn. Have I ever told you how nervous I get before I speak? Well, I was extra nervous considering the audience and their vast knowledge of art and quilts. I had prepared a PowerPoint presentation of my quiltmaking, showing my quilts in chronological order. I even included a picture of one of my earliest attempts at patchwork, which was the yoke of a Folkwear Prairie dress, made sometime around 1980. I was thankful for how enthusiastic and non-threatening everyone was. We had a good time laughing at the early quilts and they asked lots of questions about some of my newer quilts. All in all, it was a great day.