With Shakespeare as muse, quilter looks to the stars
When Judy Martin designs star quilts, she’s channeling one of her favorite playwrights, the Bard of Avon, who penned these words attributed to the Roman emperor Julius Caesar:
“I am constant as the Northern star,
“of whose true-fix’d and resting quality
“There is no fellow in the
“The skies are painted with unnumber’d sparks,
“They are all fire, and every one doth shine;
“But there’s but one in all doth hold his place.”
Martin, who lives in Grinnell, Iowa, will bring her star power, along with her star-patterned quilts, to the 17th annual Black Canyon Quilt Show in Montrose this week.
She is the featured speaker Saturday at the Montrose Pavilion with a lecture titled “Stellar Quilts — Stars That Stand Out.” One of the 15 quilt books Martin has written also is titled “Stellar Quilts.”
She has been star-struck with Shakespeare since junior high school. Then, Martin and a friend worked as ushers during their high school days at the Shakespeare Theater in San Diego’s Balboa Park.
“It didn’t pay anything, but we got to see all the plays for free,” she says, adding that she’s partial to his comedies. “‘A Comedy of Errors,’ ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ and ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’ are among my favorites.”
One of her most popular quilt patterns, “Shakespeare in the Park,” Martin designed with stars and a Virginia Reel variation.
Her talk coincides with the 2012 theme of the three-day quilt show, “Honoring America Through Quilts.”
A special exhibit of challenge quilts is titled “Salute to America,” and the featured raffle quilt is “Starburst Lilies.” The show runs Friday through Sunday.
Martin will bring a variety of star quilts to illustrate the concepts she’ll talk about, such as colors, uncommon blocks and sets, shading and fracturing effects. A quilt maker since 1969, she designs mostly bed-sized quilts in traditional patterns.
“I design on the computer, using Adobe Illustrator,” Martin says. “Sometimes, my designs are based on circles, true diamonds or other elements” that aren’t readily drafted on graph paper.
Her fabric choices are varied: batiks and contemporary prints, Asian or reproductions of antique cloth. Scraps of collected fabric appeal to Martin, who has a book to her credit, “Scrap Quilts and Scraps.”
“I like scrap fabrics best because they add sparkle to a quilt,” she says.
Quoting from Hamlet, Martin muses that Shakespeare must have had a leaning toward scrappy quilts, too. A line from that famous work refers “to a king of shreds and patches.”
Martin will speak at 1 p.m. Saturday, and the fee is $15, which includes entry to the quilt show.
Daily admission is $3. Door prizes, daily demonstrations, vendors and a Black Canyon boutique are planned. Boutique proceeds will benefit Haven House, a homeless shelter in Olathe.
The annual show at 1800 Pavilion Drive is jointly sponsored by three quilt groups, Columbine Quilters, Friendship Quilters of Western Colorado and San Juan Quilters.
They invite one and all — those who deign to be quilters and those who deign not to be quilters — to attend their show. Even those who do not ply needle and thread surely will find favor with such fine artistry wherein.