Area artists’ ‘abs’ catch eye of New Jersey juror

“Canyon Shadows” by Terry Lee of Carbondale is one of four quilts chosen for special recognition in the “Abstractions” exhibit by the Art Quilt Association. The entire exhibit was shown earlier this month at the Denver National Quilt Festival V. This piece measures 20 3/4 inches by 30 inches.

Abstractions in art characterize a style that stresses form and color rather than the representation of any object; they are unconcerned with the literal depiction of things from the visible world. They can refer to images that have been distilled from the real world.

Such was the theme and definition that inspired the first juried exhibition of 2010 by the Art Quilt Association (AQuA), which is based in Grand Junction. The quilts in “Abstractions” were featured at the Denver National Quilt Festival V earlier this month.

AQuA was established in 1996 and now boasts more than 70 members who explore textile manipulation and mixed media as an art form.

They often exhibit their work in shows around the region and nation.

From 23 entries, juror Rayna Gillman of West Orange, N.J., chose those she felt best represented the “Abstractions,” or “Abs,” theme. Gillman is a mixed media fiber artist, teacher and author.

She gave four quilts special mention for their outstanding qualities:

“Canyon Shadows” by Terry Lee of Carbondale.

Gillman remarked on the warm and cool juxtaposition of colors and the quilt’s sense of depth.

“Loving Memories” by Susan Strickland of Grand Junction.

All of the quilt’s elements worked together to communicate the essence of the theme, Gillman said.

“Fractured Fall Forest” by Angela Kenley of Grand Junction.

“Rhythm and repetition without boredom” is how the juror described this quilt, adding that “the variation in scale gives this piece additional strength.”

“Inner Connections” by Jan Rickman of Whitewater.

“Diagonal lines draw the eye across the piece, and the blue streaks add to the sense of movement,” Gillman said.

AQuA members voted on their favorite quilt among the entries and chose “Russian Red” by Pat Sprague of Austin.

In addition to the “Abstractions” display in Denver, AQuA also exhibited “Old Friends,” a nonjuried collection of quilts that reflected items that became more valuable to the artist with the passage of time — treasured photographs, cherished books, favorite people, for example.

AQuA member Eldrid Schafer anticipates a busy year for the association, as at least three more shows are on the agenda: Canyon Voices II running August through October at Mesa Verde National Park; the Pacific International Quilt Festival in October in Santa Clara, Calif.; and a silent auction, also in October, at Barnes & Noble in Grand Junction.

Learn more about this talented and active group at

E-mail Sherida.Warner@


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