I’ve loved being president of the nonprofit Quilt Alliance, and I think my proudest accomplishment was deciding we should have a benefit in NYC every year. This past weekend marked our third annual Quilters Take Manhattan, and friends, we really took it in style.
Last year, attendees told us that they’d love for us to “take more of Manhattan,” so we added vendors, classes, tours of the Garment District and special events, and most sold out well in advance. We even had a quilter’s night on Broadway.
Since the Alliance only has a paid staff of 3 people, this obviously requires passionate volunteers, and that includes amazing board members who came all the way from Texas, Georgia, Vermont and D.C. to help make this happen. They taught classes, filled goody bags, erected quilt stands, whatever it took. Thanks also to the fab City Quilter shop, which let the Alliance use its classroom for free, and its basement for storing sponsor goodies.
Once again, our main event was an inspiring and exciting afternoon at FIT, the Fashion Institute of Technology, and we jammed the room with ecstatic quilters. We had great speakers like Hollis Chatelain and Paula Nadelstern, who brought eye-popping quilts.
There were primo vendors like Aurifil thread and Cherrywood fabrics, along with a silent auction and raffle prizes. As one person said to me, “This is better than a Hollywood premiere for quilters: I check the name tags and see one famous quilter after another!”
We had a party Saturday night, and that was an over-the-top experience, featuring a quilt design contest between three great quilters: Luke Haynes, Mark Lipinski and Heather Jones. The crowd went wild, watching the 3 create a design in just an hour, helped by people they selected from the audience (it helps when Denyse Schmidt happens to be at your party!)
The photo above is from Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s blog and if you go there, you can see tons more photos, and even a short video that captures the party’s madness (and loud music).
On Sunday morning, we had our final outing of the Quilters Take Manhattan weekend, a behind-the-scenes peek at a new quilt exhibition. Stacy Hollander, curator at the American Folk Art Museum, showed us the works from 3 artists she had chosen for alt_Quilts. One was Luke Haynes, an Alliance board member, who talked about his work.
All three of the contemporary artists in this show are amazing, but curator Stacy Hollander also mixed in traditional quilts with similar patterns to create a dialog across the centuries.
As makers ourselves, we all found it fascinating to watch the museum “make” an exhibition: they were still adding touches to the show, and painting the artists’ names on the wall. This terrific show will run until January 5.
Save the date for next year! The main event will be Saturday, September 20, and our keynote speaker will be the “it” girl of fabric design, Amy Butler.