I like how Melanie from Mel in the Attic described her QuiltCon 2017 experience with one word (her word is delightful). I really liked the way she succinctly summarized the event, and I am going to do just the same (imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?). For me, the word I would use to describe QuiltCon 2017 is processing.
Processing as a Personal Theme
This year I worked as part of the QuiltCon crew. I left home mid afternoon on Sunday, February 19th and got into Savannah, GA, a few hours before the Monday night crew kickoff meeting. From there, it was a rather busy whirlwind of activity. I woke up most mornings at 5:40 am and was at the convention center by 6:30. Evenings concluded between 7 pm and 11 pm (except the final day when we shipped the quilts home which wrapped up closer to 4 or 5?). I got up and flew home on Tuesday, February 28th. I walked 65+ miles during my time in Savannah, and I honestly had a wonderful time working behind the scenes. In some ways, I am still processing everything that transpired, and I am certainly still catching up on sleep (as I stayed up most nights to midnight so that I could visit with friends and have some time to talk with my husband each day).
With the amazing and much needed help of volunteers, the crew spent 2 days carefully hanging the quilts, getting vendors moved in and set up, and preparing for people to enjoy the show. My main tasks as part of the crew were to work in the registration area and help organize and stuff the goodie bags (given to the first 1,000 online registrants, yes all extra bags sold out quickly, and no, I didn’t get one either).
And working at the Registration desk? Well what is that but processing people so that they can get in and enjoy the show?!? It was a wonderful place to work because I got to interact with so many people. Thanks to everyone who patiently waited for me to have a calm moment to chat, and special thanks to everyone who asked for a photograph with me. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have many photos from the event to share at all!
Side note: I’m super excited we got a photograph of all of the Blue Moon Quilters beside Four Greater Than One, our QuiltCon charity quilt!
Processing as a Quilt Theme
Because I did not get a lot of time to walk the show and take in the quilts, I left my camera behind. I do believe I had time to get around and look at every quilt that was on display (I believe there were almost 400 quilts this year).
My off the cuff thoughts are that many of the quilts in the show dealt with the creator processing an event in one way or another. Some quilts were bold and obvious (Todd’s No Baby Quilt, Tea and Skittles), but even if at first glance the quilt did not appear to be more than a beautiful work of improv, when pausing to read the descriptions many other quilts absolutely fell into this category (49, Beacon). There was even a charity quilt that I noted was made in memory of someone who passed away this January (I was able to note that as I folded the quilt to ship home on Monday).
It may not be obvious that my quilt Beacon is about processing even when reading the description: it was another quilt I made to help me continue to process my grief, loss, and pain over the SpaceShipTwo accident. My first quilt about my processing of that devastating accident was Love and Loss.
Processing as a Compassionate Theme
Please humor me for a quick sidebar moment: I had a friend share a lovely article yesterday that I want to share with you all here – What Happened When I Replaced Sorry With Thank You. It’s powerful, and I think it is something I am going to try to incorporate into my own life, as I find myself saying “I’m sorry” rather often.
Being around other quilters for such a long period of time was a lovely experience. I had an opportunity to spend a few hours with most of the Quilt Theory team, for example. Inevitably, I found many conversations would steer away from being explicitly about quilting and I would learn more about the individual I was talking with. I deeply value the honestly and openness that they were willing to extend to me, and as a result I was able to process, understand, and develop more compassion for some truly amazing people. On a day to day basis, I think that we as a society/culture have no idea what the person next to us is going through, and having a moment of true connection and understanding is about the most beautiful thing that can be shared between two individuals.
I know that I found myself weepy and flustered a few times in these intense conversations. I was up late, running on fumes, and I apologized to those around me. Now that I have regained my composure, I would like to thank them all deeply for their kindness, gentleness, and receptivity (I’m specifically looking at you, Cheryl, Paige, and Kitty). Namaste.
I am going to continue to process my 2017 QuiltCon experience, and I am already looking forward to 2018, which will be in Pasadena. And if the west coast is too far to travel, 2019 will be in Nashville, TN. I hope to see you there!
27 thoughts on “QuiltCon 2017”
thanks for sharing! Quiltcon is fantastic!
This sounds like an amazing experience, Yvonne, and I found it so interesting to see things from this perspective – thanks.
Thanks for sharing your Quiltcon experience.
Processing. I always need time for processing, and you don’t get it when you’re in the thick of QuiltCon. I’m so glad you had a positive time, I’m grateful for your service to the event. It is so smart to pull the thread of processing through your weekend. Thanks for the linky love, and enjoy your processing/recovery time. 🙂
Hope to see you here in Nashville, too!
Well Yvonne: I could see that you were busy but I didn’t realize how busy. Thanks to you and all the other volunteers for working on our behalf I’m glad you found time and people to help you with your processing. Thank you for sharing the processing. The quilts that touched me the most at quilt con where the ones that were processing. I would see the quilt and admire it for it’s beauty and then read the write up and be touched on a different level.
Wonderful post. When I was having my tea this morning, I was thinking about what I was doing this time last week and missing the awesomeness of the event. I wrote my own reflection for the blog and you are in a photo there! I’m glad I got to meet you in person. Working registration and the ‘door’ as a volunteer was a blast Got to meet so many people.
Quiltcon was wonderful. I enjoyed meeting you at registration, and thanks again for all your volunteer efforts.
Do you know how many blocks were collected at Quiltcon for #QuiltsforQC?
It was so lovely to meet you at Quiltcon. Also, your thoughts on processing are so insightful and deeply appreciated more than you could possibly know.
Many thanks to the crew, the volunteers, the faculty, the convention staff, the vendors, the makers and the attendees who make QuiltCon such a positive and inspirational event. I am so grateful to you all.
Hello Yvonne! I am glad that you had such a wonderful time at QuiltCon again this year. I can not even imagine what it was like to get to check in all of the quilters and just chat with them all. Plus, it brought tears to my eyes reading about all of the special talks, moments with each other of sharing and knowing that you faced tears of loss also. I will keep you in my prayers.
Thank you for this behind the scenes look at Quilt Con and how it looks from the eyes of someone who is involved in the day-to-day work of keeping it going at the time. It sounds like an intense immersion in a powerful place and given the hours you were putting it I can only imagine the wear and tear. I’m sure it was extremely exciting as well as exhausting. Without volunteers like you and the others you worked with, these shows would not be possible for the rest of us to enjoy. Thank you.
Your words give a different look at QuiltCon, and with so many working behind the scenes, this is what makes it all run so smoothly. Just the first part of setting up, displaying all those quilts, and meeting and greeting people as they arrive, would be so interesting and fulfilling. I wonder how many realise what would go into making this event happen? Enjoy being at home again, and even if California is too far, 2019 will be one to look forward to. Lovely links, thank you for all this today.
Thank you for all your hard work!
With that little sleep each night, I bet you were running of fumes! (I would be beyond weepy after that little sleep, so you must be made of tough stuff.) I am glad you enjoyed QuiltCon and I hope you have since caught up on sleep.
You are amazing! Thank you for all of your hard work on QuiltCon. I’m so glad we had several chances to chat in person.
Sounds like you had a busy week. But I’m sure your volunteering was much appreciated. Thank you for the link to the Sorry versus Thank you post. Very interesting.
I can’t imagine all the behind the scenes work. Thanks for sharing your experience.
It’s neat to hear the behind the scenes scoop. Thanks for all that you did for the show, and I’m glad I got a chance to meet you in person! I’m already thinking about what role I might be able to play in Nashville.
I loved my first Quiltcon and the pre-event volunteering was such a lovely bonding affair. Thanks to the hard work of the crew, we had an amazing time 🙂
I loved being able to hang out with you, hopefully see you before QuiltCon next year 🙂
What a poignant post, Yvonne. I clicked over on many of your links so it took me a while to read this. Thank you for honestly describing your feelings and experience for all of us to share. I’m glad you are back home and back to creating, and look forward to what you bring to us this year.
So wonderful to meet you ever so briefly. I can only imagine how much there was for you to try and process during all those long hours jam packed with activity. But I’m sure it’s an experience that you won’t soon forget.
What a great post – having been unable to attend this year it’s been very interesting to read people’s post on their experiences of QuiltCon. I recently read the article you referred to re saying sorry and thought how powerful it would be to say thank you instead – I am trying to incorporate it!
Sounds a wonderful experience and a lot of work! But that also sound like it was very worthwhile.
I’m glad for the few stolen moments I got to have with you! I read that article about sorry vs thank you last year and have been working towards using it more regularly and it does make a surprising difference! I still say sorry more than I’d like to, but it’s progress. 🙂