This international collaboration of textile artists is still young, initial meetings online took place in September ’21. It has been interesting to see the momentum and drive that developed within the group. I think I (Uta Lenk) can speak for every member when I say that the first reveal date at the end of January, when we were showing our pieces for the first challenge, felt a bit like going on a first date with somebody who had promised to be a very interesting person. At that point nobody was really talking about real exhibitions, for one thing, because we were still out there getting our bearings, and also because Covid was still raging and so many events had been cancelled or postponed that we were uncertain about how and when anything would ever be back open to the public.
Reveal day for ‘Bridges’ came and went, we started thinking about our next pieces for the ‘portals’ topic, and shortly after that my connection to the German Patchwork Gilde
lead to a possibility of a real, live, in person exhibition in Meiningen, Germany, during
the annual meeting plus exhibitions. After that things developed quickly.
We agreed on adding a further, communal piece to the exhibition, namely a large picture of Pont Neuf (online pictures can be found here) to what we have to show, split up into slices, each one of these would be interpreted by one member of the group. Fifteen members agreed to participate in this, slices were sent, we set to work.
Quilts crossed oceans, some were held hostage in the customs area, two unfortunately never made it to their destination (but, thank God, have by now been returned to their original senders, so were not lost), and on Thursday, May 26th, our first exhibition went public.
It was well received, people were very interested in the whole arrangement, and the stars were the slice-piece of Pont Neuf and Paula Rafferty’s Rainbow Bridge. The show drew about 2,000 visitors in two days.
On Monday morning at nine o’clock the whole collection went on a postal trip (praying that the package would be delivered quickly and safely) and continued to France, where it was shown at BIAT in Villefranche sur Saone https://biat-quiltexpo.com/biat-2022/. We were fortunate that delivery was on time, Lena Meszaros put up our exhibition (plus two others she was in charge of), and four days with 5,000 visitors gave us a lot more exposure.
Due to Covid, BIAT was not yet back to the 7,000 visitors from years such as 2018, and a severe lack of coach drivers resulted in the fact that very few coaches brought in loads of visitors. Again, the collection drew a lot of attention and positive remarks, for the individual pieces, but especially for the Pont Neuf, and for Paula Rafferty’s piece.
All in all, we are very happy with the public exposure we got at these places in Europe, so early on in our collaboration. The collection now travels to the US and will be touring with the Mancuso Shows for the next year.