McCarthy Day- Another Community Quilt Story

In 2010, the Wrangell Mountains Center, an arts science and environmental educational facility located in the Wrangells, expanded it’s writing workshop into a Cross Pollination experience. The staff, for this week long experiment in wilderness writing and creating, included writer Frank Soos, performance artist Jonny Gray, program director Nancy Cook, and two visual artists Margot Klass, and me.

On the first evening, we gather for an amazing outdoor diner and introductions.

On the first evening, we gathered for an amazing outdoor diner and introductions.

Each day was a new experience in creativity. We started our adventure with a walk to the toe of the glacier. We spent the afternoon there writing a renga.

Here we are headed to the toe. Pretty inspiring landscape eh?

Here we are headed to the toe. I love this view.

Performance artist Jonny Gray telling the writers its time to gather.

Performance artist Jonny Gray telling the writers its time to gather.

Frank Soos lecturing in our outdoor classroom.

Frank Soos lecturing in our outdoor classroom.

We used the words from this group poem to create a handmade book.

Here is Margot showing one of her handmade books. Margot will be having a solo exhibit of her work this year at the Anchorage Museum. I very much look forward to seeing her new work.

Here is Margot showing one of her handmade books. Margot will be having a solo exhibit this year at the Anchorage Museum. I very much look forward to seeing her new work.

Margot is demonstrating the techniques we will be using to make our books.

Margot is demonstrating the techniques we will be using to make our books.

Everyone is hard at work making their pages of the book.

Everyone is hard at work making their pages of the book.

Next all the students made quilt blocks for a community quilt.

Here are some of the students sketches from the toe.

Here are some of the students sketches from the toe.

The students are making quilt blocks for the community quilt.

The students are making quilt blocks for the community quilt.

Everyone was so focused for the entire workshop.

Everyone was so focused for the entire workshop.

But we did take a break mid-week for a performance by Jonny Gray.

But we did take a break mid-week for a performance by Jonny Gray.

I did not finish the quilt top during the workshop, but I did complete the quilt out in McCarthy that summer. Then I took it back to Anchorage to quilt.

Here is McCarthy Day on my design wall in McCarthy--I know having a design wall that goes through a corner of a room is not exactly ideal. But you work with what you've got, right?

Here is McCarthy Day on my design wall in McCarthy–I know having a design wall that goes through a corner of a room is not exactly ideal. But you work with what you’ve got, right?

Here I am ironing the quilt out in McCarthy. At this point, I was still having to fire up a generator to iron. I now hove enough solar power to iron and stitch off the grid!

Here I am ironing the quilt out in McCarthy. At this point, I was still having to fire up a generator to iron. I now hove enough solar power to iron and stitch off the grid!

This is one of my all time favorite quilts as it is tells the story of that week. Which was such an amazing time with wonderful group of artists and writers.

This is one of my all time favorite quilts as it tells the story of that week. Which was such an amazing adventure with a wonderful group of artists and writers.

This gallery is a closer look at all the quilts blocks in McCarthy Day.

We finished the week, with a final dinner and a final sharing all the words written that week. It was also a very exciting to see how Jonny Gray’s work with the students on their reading performances paid off in a big way.

Our last dinner together was just as yummy as our first.

Our last dinner together was just as yummy as our first.

If this sounds like an amazing experience to you–and believe me it was. Then you might consider taking a workshop out in the Wrangells this summer. Here is a  complete list of all the programs the Wrangell Mountain Center will be hosting this coming summer.

And if you are in McCarthy, Alaska for a visit. Please stop by the Old Hardware Store and take a peak inside. The McCarthy Day quilt will be hanging in the front room there.

Class photo taken on the final morning of Cross Pollinations.

Class photo taken on the final morning of Cross Pollinations.

This entry was published on February 2, 2013 at 8:13 PM. It’s filed under About Teaching and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “McCarthy Day- Another Community Quilt Story

  1. Pingback: thread Generations Quilt « Maria Shell

  2. Pingback: Creative Cloth | Maria Shell

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