Hortense Horton Beck: A Collection of Museum Reproduction Quilts

Hortense Horton Beck

We are honored to welcome the “Hortense Beck Quilt Collection” to the Maine Quilts 2023. The exhibit is a fascinating collection of reproduction quilts from the late Hortense Horton Beck (1920-2009). Surprisingly, Beck didn’t start sewing and quilting until she was 60 years old, and it all began with learning how to appliqué. Beck spent 30 years replicating historical appliqué album quilts, later donating her large quilt collection to the International Quilt Study Center and Museum (IQSCM) at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, NE.  Although Beck made these quilts for her own enjoyment, she also wanted others to enjoy and appreciate them. With the donation to the IQSCM, her quilts are now available to a wider audience. 

The Graffiti Cherrywood Challenge: The East Collection

Graffiti ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings, and has existed since ancient times. This challenge focuses on the graphic beauty and intense colors of this urban expression. Cherrywood Fabrics challenged artists to use specific colors to create an original 20-inch art quilt using the word GRAFFITI as inspiration. The juried exhibit includes an abundance of techniques, themes and creativity, all using hand-dyed fabric from Cherrywood. Because of the cohesive nature of the quilts, the exhibit makes a huge visual impact.

Margaret Solomon Gunn: A Fortuitous Mistake: My Accidental Show Quilt Journey

Margaret Solomon Gunn

My exhibit showcases many of the quilts I have made over the years. My mother taught me to sew as a young girl. We mostly made clothes then. I graduated to home-dec items like curtains, pillows, etc. before making my first quilt in 1988. I graduated from college that year with a degree in mechanical engineering – a field I’d work in until 2011. This quilt was machine pieced and tied. It was gifted to Goodwill 2 decades ago before I knew that I’d become a professional quilter, and some might actually find my quilting journey interesting. Though I made quilts for friends and family over the years as gifts, it was just a hobby and an intermittent one at that. Around 2007-8 I saw an ad for Project Linus, and thought that would be a fun way to use up my scraps and make something for a person in need. My scrap box was the size of a shoe box – LOL! I asked friends & family for any scraps they cared to donate. By the end of that year I think I had something like 40 quilts made & donated. Sadly, my stash was not gone, but quite the reverse; I had fabric everywhere. These quilts were pieced on my machine and quilted either by hand or tied or with simple machine stitching (straight lines). Sewing had become the joy of my kids’ naptime. In 2009 (while I was teaching engineering classes at USM part time), I bought a longarm. It was a huge expense and I rationalized it with my husband that I’d quilt for others to pay for it. Looking back, those who buy longarms mostly have little actual knowledge of longarm quilting. I was no exception. I had no fear either – Within 2-3 months I was custom quilting for clients. While I have taken many hand’s-on classes over the last 13 years, my shear love of creating and learning is what I credit for my expertise. My first show quilt happened mostly by accident. Four months after getting the longarm, I quilted a quilt I had pieced for myself. I was waiting to quilt it until I thought I had enough skill not to royally make a mess of it. In the end, after sharing it on a quilting forum, somebody commented I should enter it in a quilt show in the “Rookie” category. I thought they were nuts, but by week’s end the quilt was entered. It happened to win the Rookie of the Year award; the show was MQX. This was a pivotal time for me because seeing my quilt at the show with all the truly awesome pieces of quilted art just inspired me. This is the quilt I sometimes refer to as “my accidental show quilt”. The ones that followed were intentionally made to be sent to quilt shows, and my focus in the quilting business was adding a new dimension. In 2011, I was selected with a dozen other quilters to represent Handi Quilter in their advertisements. This was repeated a couple years later as well. I never would have imagined having my quilts and face in a magazine, or on the side of a truck. I started writing a regular column for Machine Quilting Magazine in 2013. This continued until they ceased production of the magazine in ~2018. In 2017 I released 5 quilting books, 4 that I self-published and one that I published with AQS. I have had my quilts on 4 magazine covers.  I taught machine quilting at several shows annually from 2015 until when covid hit. Since the first quilt show in 2010, I have made nearly 25 competition quilts. They have earned countless awards at national/international shows. There are over a dozen Best of Show awards.

Maine Quilts 2023 Theme: “Christmas in July”

This year’s theme is full of possibilities for you to be creative as you plan and begin making your entries for the 2023 show.  Poinsettias! Holly! Presents! Santa in flip-flops!! And those are just a few images that come to mind when thinking about “Christmas in July” Happy planning! I can’t wait to see what you create!