Thursday, August 21, 2008

AQS Nashville


Photo: This posted speed limit at one of the entrances to Opryland is probably meant to catch one's attention.
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"But it's a dry climate," I always say, in defense of the 100+ degrees often experienced in California's Central Valley. Southerners are skeptical. "Oh, you poor thing. 100°? How can you stand it?" By experiencing it in California, that's how. I can tell you for a fact that 87° in Nashville feels like 100° in Sacramento.

My hotel room is across the street from the Opryland Convention Center, so Wednesday morning I walked the couple blocks to the huge complex, found some very nice AQS (American Quilting Society) ladies who led me to the event, since the building is a maze (love the huge greenhouse conservatory), paid my multiday entry fee, and waited for Lee to join me.

When he arrived, he was most interested in the long arm quilting machines. Over the next five hours we talked to several vendors, and I was frequently amazed at the knowledge, creativity, and genius of his engineering mind. One vendor was the developer of a well-known and well-supported computer program for long arm quilting machines, and Lee described to them in detail several ideas he had for solving a longstanding problem they have had with the program. They were pleased with the suggestions and sounded like they would be implementing corresponding changes in an upcoming upgrade.

By 3 pm we were starved, went to the mall for something to eat, and I rushed to attend an evening lecture that turned out not to be worth the effort or the $15 I paid to enter. The speaker's topic was to be a sharing of what she had learned since she started quilting. Instead, she talked about her house, her view (somewhat quilt related, because a good view sooths and inspires the creative soul), her cats, cows, brother, his cars, etc. She finally got to the quilt tips, ideas one could get by reading the equipment-needed page of just about any recent book on quilting for beginners, finished that bit in a few minutes, and ran out of things to talk about 45 minutes before the seminar was to end.

Today I mentioned my disappointment to one of the AQS workers, and she completely understood, because she had been there.

The following is an addendum that didn't post with the above, though I sent it at the same time as one post. Perhaps there is a size limitation for emailed posts. Will have to check.

Today I attended two more lectures, both inspiring, strolled the vendors' aisles at least twice, Lee having returned to work. I was tempted to buy a great dyeing kit but was put off by color limitations and was also tempted to buy a computer program for designing quilts. I bought a cold turkey sandwich for lunch, from which I removed most of the turkey, and got a good look at all the displayed quilts.

This is my first experience at a really big quilt show. I'm sure the competition is stiffer for a show like this than for the less well-known events I have attended in California, but every past show I've been to has also had beautiful quilts, many just as interesting as those I saw today. The AQS show had entries from all over the world, and many were interesting and lovely, with just a bit more Wow factor among the winners than in quilt shows I've seen before.

The first group of quilts I saw were all traditional, and while I admire the workmanship and exactness required for a traditional quilt, I find a whole collection of them just a bit boring. Fortunately, there was a good variety of intriguing and beautifully executed innovative contemporary art quilts. The judges were good choices for their winners.

I am now back in my room, catching up on Shear Genius and Project Runway episodes, enjoying watching what creative people do while under stress.

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