The excitement of my week has come and gone. It has been a whirlwind 6 days from the time I learned that I had an award at Paducah during Easter dinner, to now, already being home. I have nearly 150 pictures of the magnificent quilts, and as many great memories of this trip.
Late Easter night, after the kiddos were asleep, I decided I would in fact make the journey to Paducah. When I decided to send my little 35" quilt, I intentionally selected this quilt because I hoped it would probably do well. There are fewer smaller quilts than the numbers of the large wall quilt category. And secretly in the back of my mind I rationalized that IF if ever came to me having a quilt that was selected to receive one of the big purchase awards, I could bear to part with this quilt. That out there, because this was not really a quilt I truly loved, I just didn't make earlier arrangements to attend this show. It is strange how the degree to which we are invested in a particular quilt affects our drive to spend bunches of $$ to see it in a show! This is vacation week for us. All 3 kids are home, so leaving was that much harder of a choice. I decided to take my 7-1/2 yr old daughter. She is the one that would be most put out by me leaving for a week, and she has attended many quilt shows in the last 2 yrs. In small doses, she enjoys it. This was trial by fire...
We arrived into Nashville Monday evening, and drove up to KY the next day. We actually had most of the day to putter around before the late afternoon awards ceremony. It was a pure joy to see spring in full force. It was in the low 70s, which for us is a complete treat. Dogwood trees and other spring bloomers were out. I spent much of my youth growing up in the South, so it always kind of "brings me home" to be in a Southern place.
The awards were on the scale of the Houston Awards. This was AQS's 30th anniversary, so there was a small reception prior to the awards. In the multi-story foyer of the center that they had the awards, they had a banner hung with photos of the 30 best of show winners. It's great to see how quilting has evolved. Quilts of the last 10 years are just phemomenal works of art.
During the awards, none of the winners knows what they are receiving. Only the top 8 received phone calls, and this is because AQS really wants these people in attendance. It is fun to hear the surprises of joy when people's names are called, when they are not expecting to win anything. When the awards began, the table (below) was full of these crystal vase/trophies. They go to all 1st place winners and upper level award winners. When a person's name is called for an award, an image of their quilt is shown on this large screen, and a person is reading information about the quilt. Imagine my horror as I am walking up there listening to "This is my first experimental quilt using all solids. Some days it was a content co-mingling of color while others it was a complete kaleidoscopic calamity"! <The Quilted Pineapple was nice enough to snap this picture of Sophie and I after the awards. She herself took home a nice 1st place.
It's not the prettiest little quilt so I have to really thank AQS judges for thinking that the quilting is truly worthy of this honor. What it lacks in beauty of color, I tried to give it in quality of quilting. Here are some better close-up pictures. I think it is really less mustard in appearance too, which helps the appeal factor.
It was great to meet up with many of the bloggy contacts, as well as a few I know from MQResource. There were several ladies that I know from the show circuit too that were there, meeting many face to face for the 1st time. It is a very exciting time. Many of us that I know did receive awards. I also had the pleasure of meeting many of the AQS folks that have helped me along in this journey. Despite my having earned numerous big awards this year, I still feel like a relative newbee in this business. I have always stood behind my belief that if you do what you love, and do it the best you know how, it will be recognized. The theory seems to work.