Friday, April 30, 2010

The AQS Show in Paducah KY

The American Quilter's Society has been putting on a great show in Paducah for 26 years!
Although I am a charter member, it was a long time brfore I was able to attend a show. I have tried since then to go as many times as possible.
This is an outstanding competition of quilters from all over the world. There were 94 quilts from Japan! I love that the show program tells how many quilts came from each state (California & Illinois tied for most with 29 each) and the various other countries.
This is the main entrance to the Convention Center.
You can see many of the winning quilts online (click here).
AQS has a generous photography policy, but they ask that photos not be sold, or published anywhere, even on a website. OK....they have a right to sell the pictorial Show Catalog book!
So I took some other shots around the show, and although you may see a quilt or two, I am not using any of the full quilt shots...except for "my own personal use". This is a taste of what the show looks like.
The main room is  about half large quilts and half vendors. The quilts hang in a "cubby" arrangment, long rows divided into sections of three quilts each. It's easy to photograph the quilt on the back wall, and hard to get the ones on each side.
The Best of Show and the other three major awards (hand work, long arm and domestic machine) hang in a special area so you can't miss them:
This allows for good viewing of that quilt back! We all like to check out the backs ...sometimes I wonder what we are looking for, though!
I saw a total of 2 white glove ladies, and was told they were not allowed to turn the quilts hanging in the cubbies, due to safety reasons (i.e. the row might fall down). My local/ regional show uses the exact same hanging systems, and it's not a probelm.
Well, maybe just once or twice during the 3 day show!

Look! The miniatures are under glass! Is that to protect the quilts from us....or to protect us from seeing those teeny-tiny perfect creations??? Really, as my friends know, I have to sneak up on those minis, take a quick peek, and then run away!
I appreciate a show that provides some seating for tired "soles". Doesn't this look cute with the streetlights and benches? They did the same thing in the vendors Pavillion (more on that later!). It's a good spot for meeting your friends at some appointed time.

Let's go down the looooong hall to the other end of the building. There are two ballrooms that have the rest of the quilts hanging, and, of course, vendors!

This is what you see when entring the door to the upstairs ballroom. It's the AQS staff on duty ready to check your armband and answer questions like  "Are there vendors in here?" and "Where am I?"

The smaller quilts are here, and I like the way they have the top award winners displayed toward the front of the room. The black drapes are pulled aside so you can get a look at the backs.
I wonder if any of these quilts have knots on the back or some other "error"? This is a juried show, so the approximately 400 quilts in competition are selected by a 3 member panel using images on discs. How would you like to pick 400 out of maybe 1400 entries?
Well, that's why just having a quilt accepted into this show is a Big Deal! Getting a ribbon is icing on the cake.
The aisles are wide, which allows for strollers but not rolling have to carry your own bags from the vendors. At least until you get to the Package Check area. For one dollar you can leave a bag with the nice red-blazered Paducah Ambassadors, and even add to that bag as the day goes on.
Just be sure you claim your stuff by 5:00 pm!
If you buy too much to carry home, the Paducah Post Office is on hand to mail your loot in a Flate Rate Box. They also sell some postcards and stamps, which you can get cancelled with the special "Quilt City" mark.  
I am very grateful for this wonderful lady who hand-cancelled ever one of the SSQA newsletters I took with me! The only way I could go to Paducah was to take the newsletters along and put the stamps, mailing labels and closures on them in the motel room one night. (thanks for helping, Deluna!)
Now, I wonder if anyone noticed their newsletter came from "Quilt City" almost 800 miles away?

The really big buzz this year was the huge inflatable building that was put up for the vendors, since the Executive Inn portion of the Convention Center is no longer open.
I don't know how big it is...maybe like football field? It's on a concrete foundation, and the "facilities" were in air conditioned trailers. To keep the air inside, you had to enter through a revolving door "airlock".

The doors are in 3 wide sections, so the vendors could get their equipment inside.
I think I'm glad I didn't have to be part of taking all of it back out again!

There's a big skylight in the center of the ceiling. It was very well-lit and spacious feeling.
I had to leave Saturday morning, so I missed being in there during a real rain storm! Please leave me a comment if you had that experience!

A lovely display of Kaffe Fassett quilts graced the central area (more on that later, too!).
No matter what you call this building...AQS calls it "The Pavillion", and I heard many other names including The Igloo, The Marshmellow, and That Big White Thing...I think it was a great idea for providing the additional space needed at the show.

Coming up soon:
Who the heck is Kaffe Fasset and how do you pronounce his name?


Bonnie B - Quilter said...

My husband Wayne, who was at the front entrance to the Pavilion called it the Thunder Dome during the rainstorm. It was a bit noisy, but no problem with the Pavilion withstanding the storm. They adjust the air pressure depending on the amount of wind. Safe, sound, and completely dry.

His name is spelled Kaffe and rhymes with remember, I used the saying "safe with Kaffe" and his last name is not "faucet" - it is fass-et. He designs fabric, quilt designs, and knitting patterns. His work is stitched by Liza Lucy, who lives in PA.

Bonnie Browning, AQS Show Director

BTW...I really enjoyed reading your blog. Come see us again in Paducah. We love planning a party for 30,000 and have them all show up. GRIN

Sunnie said...

Bonnie, Thanks for letting us know the Pavilion was fine during the storm! "Thunder Dome"...I like it!
I thought AQS should have a "Name the Inflatable Building" contest, but it IS more tasteful to get everyone to call it the Pavilion.
Yes, Paducah is like a big block party!