Have you ever really thought about what will happen to your unfinished quilts? I know it's kind of an odd question but obviously it happens. We have all seen quilt tops and quilt blocks for sale in Antique shops or perhaps in our family's possession. I am lucky enough to have met a woman who has done way more than just seen those blocks and tops, she has created art from them. This is why the title of this post is Gyleen X. Fitzgerald is a quilter you should know.
Gyleen is an artist in many different mediums and a chemical engineer, wow! Not only is she all of that, but she is also a supremely gifted public speaker who makes you want to go out to lunch with her after the seminar. She showed us a collection of quilts which she had finished from a top or a collection of blocks. We loved them.
I don't think she is the only person who has done this but the way in which she did the task is what transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary. She took a traditional start and gave the quilts a contemporary flavor which enhanced both elements.
As she spoke you could feel the quilters at the Grand Hotel's Needle Art Seminar giving her virtual hugs. She was encouraging, down to earth and gave such a positive message. I felt empowered and motivated.
She accepts all quilters, all fabrics, all quilts and all efforts. She encourages you to follow your own path, finish those quilts and love them. She was the most inclusive, welcoming and inspiring quilt speaker I have ever heard.
You would love her, I know you would. I hear from so many readers that they shun the quilt police and want to be lifted up in what they are doing. Gyleen is just your gal!
You will come away feeling good about yourself, her, her quilts and heck, maybe even your in-laws.
Besides the invigorating lecture, we got to see the quilts about which she was talking. We heard the fabulous story about how this project began and quite frankly, I felt like I was in the car with her when she discovered these treasures.
I wish! (Not bragging, but I am one heck of a good passenger on road trips, Gyleen. Just a thought.)
My pictures were taken from the back of a darkened room while I tried to dodge a million other cell phones and cameras. I tried to pick some of my better shots to include in this post.
If you want to learn more about her, you can check out her website here.
At the end of the lecture she was selling her book about this adventure with all of the quilts in it. I was last in line and wouldn't you know it, there were no books left.
Ms. Fitzgerald was beyond gracious about it, offering to send me one at no additional cost. I accepted, of course, and only had to stifle one urge to steal a copy I saw another quilter reading on the hotel veranda.
However, my copy arrived so fast I wasn't even done with the laundry yet. She even wrote a little note to me and signed my copy. Swoon!
I have read and reread it and it has a very different feel to it than many other quilt books. The very first part of the book puts these quilts in context.
There are letters and pictures from the time period when these quilts tops and blocks were constructed. The quilts are the backdrop to these pictures and thoughts. After that, we get to see the 22 quilts as the focus.
And finally, Gyleen talks about how she finished them. There are instructions for making your own version as well. Gyleen addresses the issue that someone, perhaps even the original quilter, might not like the way she has chosen to complete them. To them she points out that if you had wanted them finished a certain way, you should have completed the quilts while you were able.
Hear that quilters? Let's finish up those quilts, NOW!
Would you like to have a mini version of what I was able to experience? There is this terrific video with about a 5 minute encapsulation of what we were able to see and hear at the seminar. It gives you a taste of how wonderful the experience was.
Gyleen X. Fitzgerald makes me Sew happy!
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I tried to rescue a quilt top once. You can read about it here. I was not as successful as Gyleen!