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!