Monday, September 3, 2012

The Great Minnesota Get-Together, Part 2

As you read in my last post we were at the MN State Fair yesterday.  So, in this post I thought I would talk about what I saw in the Creative Arts Building.  Of course this building is one of the places that I must visit when we go to the fair.  I believe my desire to quilt goes back to when I was a little girl and my Mom and I would go to the Indiana State Fair.  I remember seeing the quilts exhibited and being in awe of the workmanship and thinking, "Someday, I want to make one of those."  My mother was not a quilter so she didn't encourage me in that direction....but I went every year to see the quilts.  For me, that was what the fair was all about.  Quilts.

Anyway, there are always many beautiful things (other than just quilts) exhibited in this building.  As I was walking through I heard one teenager say to her mom, "There is no way this stuff is handmade - it's too perfect!" I agree....there are many things that you look at and think..."Wow, the hours and hours that must have gone into's just so perfect."

I really liked these Barbie wedding gowns - I remember those dolls too. :)

Here someone got creative with golf balls.  Notice the quilt behind and underneath.

We don't just have food on a stick - we also have quilts on a stick.  :)

 Again, because my interest is in quilts, that is what I am focusing on here.  Now, I am going to step up on my soap box at this point and say something that bothered me as I walked through the building.  I read that in 2011 over 2000 participants exhibited over 6800 items (over 2800 food/baking and special contest items).  That is a tremendous amount of items to display in an aesthetically pleasing manner and I felt that overall the items in the building were exhibited as such.  Many displays were done by theme such as bugs, up north, Christmas, spring, religious, halloween, animals, children, etc. 

As I show the pictures that I took I in no way want to discount the hard work that went into any of the quilts that I point out. I simply want to point out what bothered me about the displays.  I have never entered anything in the state fair but my thoughts are that most people who do are wanting to win a ribbon and hoping for their quilt to be visible to the public because they won something. And, they certainly don't think that their quilt will be damaged in the process of being displayed.  Quilts were used as props, backdrops, etc. and they were stapled, pinned, stretched, draped in any fashion to meet the need for the exhibit.  Often in the exhibits the ones that were winners were the least visible.

The above quilt is hand quilted/hand appliqued and looked to be about 36- 46" but I am not sure because I can't see all of it from top to bottom or side to side because of all the things pinned to it.  What a shame - it got two blue ribbons!

This was a fun and cheerful exhibit.  I really liked all the things shown here.  The quilt hanging in the back is a great quilt made from what looks like mostly Kaffe fabrics and just shouts FUN! Little children's clothing is hanging in there along with lady bug quilts at the bottom and a tiny one up in the right corner.  See the Lone Start quilt draped to the right of the picture?  Here it is close up...

Of the two large quilts in the exhibit this is the one that won a ribbon.  It is hand quilted and had applique in the corners (from what we can see) - but it is not the quilt that was given the most exposure in this exhibit. I think it also shouts FUN! Which one would you have rather seen?

I took this picture to illustrate that they are not at a lack of space to hang winning quilts.  None of these three were ribbon winners in any categories. They were all well made quilts - but why not put winning quilts here?

This picture shows the back wall of the building where they usually hang/display the outstanding works. Of the five quilts on the back wall only the second from the right was a ribbon winner the other winning quilts were on the far left wall and down in the far right corner, again, not fully displayed - when they had the room to completely display it!  The one in the middle I am sure got such prominence because of it being hard to interpret if not fully shown. It is made up of what looked to be finished half inch squares....It really was very unique.

If I am wrong about anything I have posted here - please let me know.  I don't want to offend anyone.  Thanks.

OK, enough of my gripe session.    I want to leave you with something positive.  These two life size ladies tickled my fancy.  They reminded me of my great aunts that used to come and visit at my Grandpa's house and sit in front of the fireplace and gab....

Funny thing is now I am a great aunt and I wonder if I look that old to my little great nieces.  :)

Thanks for reading...have a wonderful holiday!

Added later:  I have had several wonder when the items are judged.  Before or after they are displayed? I don't know the answer to that question, do you?  If you know would you comment please?  Thanks.


Karen O said...

Oh do I agree with you Judy! I was so frustrated trying to see the quilts in the displays. I found one of my favorites from Rochester bunched up in a corner - the Sylvia's Bridal Sampler with all of the animals on it. I wanted my kids to see it, but there was only about a 1 ft x 1 ft section showing. Do you think is it possible they are judged AFTER they are put on display?

Diane Wild said...

I also wonder if they are judged after being set up. Because why would they not display the ribbon quilts prominently? I haven't been at the state fair in years but I have the same gripe about our local county fair. The quilts are not displayed fully and what's worse, we can't see who made them. Very frustrating. Hello! Ever hear of felt tip markers?

Dawn said...

I would always ask before entering a quilt into any exhibit who will handle it and how. I would like staples or things pinned to my quilt.

I have been to the MN state fair many times and it is always so bursting 'full'. Maybe they need more knowledgeable volunteers?

AnnieO said...

That is a lot of entries to deal with, certainly, but I agree some things more prominent did crowd out the winners! I would hope the judging takes place before the quilts are on display, else how can the workmanship be properly evaluated? At our fair they had standing coated wire structures accordion folded like screens to display quilts, but they attached them with binder clips. Some people were concerned about the binder clips causing damage to the quilts.

Teresa said...

I am so jealous that you have a state fair!! There used to be one in Michigan, but it was cut a few years ago due to money. Yours looks like so much FUN!! It is nice that things are displayed behind glass to protect them. I grew up in Alabama, and quilts way back then (I'm 51) were hung so you could see the whole thing. They weren't behind glass, but were behind barriers and there were sweet little ladies stationed around, in gloves, to peel up a corner and show the backs. Man...those were the days! The only food on a stick that I can remember from those days was corn dogs, corn-on-the-cob, and cotton candy (no butter, ha-ha). I loved the quilts on a stick...reminds me of the fans in church pews when I was a kid. Love the large dolls! Thanks for taking me to a state fair!

In stitches,
Teresa :o)

Sewing Sue said...

At the Wisconsin State Fair they hang quilts so you can see both sides, but they're hung so high you can't see any details and your neck is breaking by the time you have looked at one row! At least no one can touch them or mess around with them, but geeze, you have to see the chiropractor when you're done!

elizabeth said...

Your article is so interesting. There is a tiny room in the Creative Activities Bldg where there is almost always a staff person who could answer all your questions. Look for the white door where the bottom half is closed and the top half open. I am not sure exactly how they do things now but 40 years ago I was among a group of about 15 students who received 2 college credits for setting up the building. We were given a number of items and told these things go in this case. They were grouped by category, first sewing project etc. I don't remember exactly but the items must have had ribbons attached. They award over 350 ribbons. The fabulous sweeepstakes quilts were seperated out for the special glass case as you enter the building. Some of the items might be in an unexpected place because of the category they were entered in. The year I worked at the building we had a special exhibit of items from the Bariboo circus. We made those large animals that miraculously are still standing. I worked on the elephant by the demonstration area. We made wooden armaturs, covered them with chicken wire and used lots of unspun sisal from the Sandstone prison where they made rope. It was lots of fun but I do remember feeling overwhelmed at trying to show each item to the best advantage.

Lee said...

Checking in here kind of late, but when I saw the Barbie's in wedding gowns, it brought back a memory of a year when I planned to make some Barbie clothes for my daughter, who was living with her dad out of state. I'd bought the pattern and some scraps, and even used some old clothing I had. The problem was, when I went to make them, my sewing machine DIED! I had to do them all by hand. One was a wedding dress. I think I made 3 outfits. If I owned a quilt on display and came in and saw that things had been stapled and pinned and pulling on the fabric, I'd probably have come unglued!