Shifting Tides: Convergence in Cloth grew into existence with the persistent volunteering of several dedicated SAQA members located in the SAQA regions associated with the Pacific Ocean and its coasts.
This region SAQA exhibition is composed of artwork made by artists residing in Alaska, Hawaii, Northern California/Northern Nevada, Oregon, Southern California/Southern Nevada, Washington, and Western Canada. That is a lot of territory.
This team of tenacious doers representing all of the regions met on a regular basis to get all seven areas to agree on subject matter, size, exhibition venues, and more. Can you imagine getting a group of quilters to agree on ALL those things?
It was decided that the exhibition would be about the thing that all of these regions have in common—the Pacific Ocean. Here is a bit of the prospectus—
“Convergence in Cloth will focus on the current state of the Pacific Ocean ecosystem, its marvelous natural diversity, and the human activities that both sustain and threaten oceanic life. Whether one lives on the ocean or in the interior, the Pacific touches many lives and economies. As residents of this greater North Pacific region, artists are encouraged to share personal narratives and statements about what exists, current threats, and needed actions.”
Each region committed to securing at least one venue, and they had to be willing to support the show even if their region was not represented in the exhibition.
Which, of course, made me want to represent. I submitted three quilts. Here are my application photos along with my artist statements.
I grew up in landlocked Kansas. I did not see the Pacific Ocean until I was 17. I could not get over how vast and deep and wide the waters were. Years later, we make our home in Alaska where seeing the ocean is an almost daily experience. I consider myself very fortunate to have this ongoing reminder of our place on the plant near the edge of the ocean.
We spend our summers in the Wrangell St. Elias National Park. Our cabin is an easy hike to the toe of the glacier. Over the past two decades, I have watched as the glacier recedes and large lakes of water have replaced the ice. It is alarming that such tangible physical evidence of climate change can be seen with the naked eye, and still we are incapable of responding to this impending crisis in a meaningful manner.
Northerners have special names for the mucky weather of spring. In Alaska, we call this time of the year Break Up. Snow from the mountains begins to melt and dirt roads become creeks. Ice rots and mud rules. The change is so slow that we all grow impatient wanting the light, the sun, the dry land. I love this season. Everyone’s yard looks like a junkyard. There is no snow or leaves to hide your business. You spend your days adding and subtracting layers of clothing, and the sunlight just keeps coming. It is a restless naked season I think.
I was really rooting for Deep Blue Sea which is a favorite but has not been exhibited widely.
I thought Root Glacier, which travel with the Global SAQA exhibition My Corner of the World, was the strongest composition of the three.
And then just because you could enter three quilts, I threw Break Up into the mix. I know it is the piece that stretches the farthest away from the theme, but it is about the snow that becomes water that runs down the mountainside and into the Pacific Ocean.
Do I have a winner? Which one would you pick?