For the past three weeks, I have been head down at my sewing machine in an all out attempt to making five small pieces of quilted goodness.

Last fall, the Alaska State Council on the Arts asked me if I would be interested in making half of the awards for the 2018 Governor’s Arts and Humanities Awards.

The Governor’s Arts and Humanities Awards is an annual partnership between the Alaska Humanities Forum, the Alaska State Council on the Arts, the Alaska Arts and Culture Foundation, and the Office of the Governor to recognize and honor noteworthy contributions to the arts and humanities in Alaska. Each year, these partners select awardees in several distinct categories, based on nominations submitted by the public.

At the ceremony,  instead of a trophy, plaque, or ribbon, the awardees receive a small piece of art. This art is a memento of the event and their accomplishments.

This is a huge honor and, of course, I said yes. The really cool thing about this year’s awards is that they were made by two fiber artists. Amy Meissner made the other half of the awards. 

There were some exact details for this commission—the awards had to be smaller than 12’’ x 12’’, they should be similar, and they needed to be completed by the end of January 2018.

I also set a few perimeters for myself.   I had met the staff of Paintbrush Studio while at Market in Houston this past fall. I was drawn to their booth because of their awesome solid fabric collection called Painter’s Palette. The first person I met at the booth was named Maria—that’s my name. She was named after Westside Story—I was too. And they are based in Kansas City—my old home town. It was a match meant to be.

They sent me 8’’ x 16’’ swatches of all 169 colors in their collection and said I could make whatever I wanted. 


I hoped that the small pieces I would make for the Governor’s Awards would lead to a large piece that they could showcase in their booth at QuiltCon 2018.


As the three weeks went by, I tried to post daily on Instagram.


Normally, I repeat the “color grid” block out over and over gain, but this time, I wanted to see if I could create a wild selection of “color grid” blocks that did not repeat.


I wanted to see how different the blocks could be as far as color, pattern, and repetition were concerned.


Still, they all still needed to read as a “color grid” block. My normal process is to lock in on a couple with a couple of ideas without really knowing the final destination. For me, if I already know what is going to happen, why bother?


I cut, I piece, I iron.


And then I do it all over again. Every so often, I stop and put everything on the design. Hopefully, I remember to take a picture.


Sometimes, I just throw up what I’ve got in a big jumble.


And sometimes, I do it with intention. I stitch everything all at the same time.


For a while I had a grid up. I like this a lot, and think I will use a similar grid for the Paintbrush Studio quilt—there is no size limitation on that quilt.


For the Governor’s Awards there was a size limit. I decided that I would eliminate the center grid line on these pieces to give me a bit more room for larger “color grid” blocks.

Finally,  I finished nine color grid blocks. These each measure 12’’ x 12’’ square. Here they have been placed randomly on the design wall.


From there I could pick and choose my favorite combinations to make the Memento Quilts.

Here are the five completed quilts.


With five closeups.


And five backside photographs.


I delivered them to the Alaska State Council on the Arts office yesterday. My friend Robin Child just happened to be at the office too!


I feel so honored to have been asked to participate in this event.


Thank you Alaska State Council on the Arts for all that you do to support art, artists, and art education!

This entry was published on February 3, 2018 at 3:37 PM. It’s filed under Art in Place, My Process-Quilts, Quilt Stories, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

26 thoughts on “Memento

  1. You go girl! Great work. Can’t wait to see the piece you make for QuiltCon. Will you have time??

  2. Sue Tague on said:

    Great job,Maria! The recipients will be thrilled to have them.

  3. These are just plain SMASHING Maria. Love that you are named after West Side Story, one of my favorite musicals.

  4. Pow~!!!! Nobody does it like you do, Maria.

  5. Mickeybb on said:

    I like the photos of how you put these together…love them! I’m going to QuiltCon. Are you? and do you have a quilt in the show??

  6. These little gems will be such special awards. Congratulations on completing them by your deadline! I really enjoyed seeing your IG posts of your design wall as they progressed. Thanks for sharing!❤️

  7. Fantastic little quilts, so full of colour and excitement. The range of fabrics in Painters Palette is amazing!

  8. on said:

    The recipients will be thrilled. They are beautiful.

  9. Wow! Just stunning! These beauties are sure to be appreciated and treasured.

  10. It is always so interesting to see your process. The quilts are lovely and I’m sure will be much appreciated!

  11. What an honor! These are so wonderful! Thanks for sharing your process.

  12. Carole on said:

    Wow is all I can say. Such fun to see what you will come up with next. Thanks for introducing us to Amy Meissner– Inspirational for those of us who love to recycle.

  13. coollizzie on said:

    What a great project. I love that Alaska presents this type of award. Your finished pieces are outstanding, and the recipients will be doubly delighted – first to win and then to receive such a unique and wonderful “trophy.”

  14. Lovely quilts and an equally lovely story to match!

  15. garnerbe on said:

    Sooo awesome these gorgeous grids Maria… and they will be treaSURE fr the award winners. Lifetime award to you for all of the mastery and work that goes into each small piece!
    Bethany in Kingston, ON

  16. Congratulations on your participation and thank you for this amazing post!

  17. Wonderful wonderful! I want to win one !!

  18. Congratulations! On both being asked and finishing them! Yay!

    I really like the finished ones. Somehow they work, even though they have all the wild different colors and patterns. They’re still the same block grid, even if the four quadrants are different. It makes them exciting and vibrant. In the earlier pictures I wasn’t sure I liked them. They just looked like a big jumble of competing noise. But it’s fascinating how they came together in the end.

  19. What a great post! I love watching your designs come together and hear about your thoughts along the way. And the mementos are fabulous! Who wouldn’t want one of those instead of a trophy? How smart of the Alaska Council of the Arts to commission art for the awards.

  20. Cindy B on said:

    that is awesome way to recognize someone with an award! I loved seeing your process as the quilt came together. Thanks for sharing

  21. I love this look! So much originality

  22. Nancy Cook on said:

    I’m having fun reading the top ten! Fun seeing Robin in here, too. You’re such a gem in this world. xxx Thanks. (Also, I hope the Arts Council paid you. Did the Arts Council pay you? Inquiring minds want to know…) xxx

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