In Telluride: Fiber Arts Festival
Telluride resident Valerie Franzese loves quilts, but the idea of actually making one by hand used to terrify her. “I dreaded starting,” she said. “I thought I would hate it.”
Yet hand-stitching a quilt had long been on her life’s bucket list. Franzese’s mother made one – with two interlocking wedding rings in its center – as part of her bridal trousseau. “Whenever I needed cozying up,” her daughter recalled, “I’d roll up in that quilt. It holds such fabulous memories.”
It took Franzese 14 months to complete her first quilt, and there were plenty of times when “I thought, ‘Oh My God, I will never finish.’” Yet she did. By then she was besotted with quilting, and determined to share her passion with the town she has lived in for 30 years. “Telluride is a terribly small, remote place,” and it remains to be seen how the Many Hands Fiber Arts Festival, which she named and co-founded along with other local fiber artists, and has spent the past year working on, will be received this weekend, Franzese said. She needn’t worry: the art and craft of quilting is woven deep into Telluride’s history, just as it is into all the small mining towns around here. Quilting was a necessity in these frigid places. “It got so cold in the winter, women had to knit and stitch textiles to keep their families warm,” Franzese said. Quilting is also increasingly popular as an art form; Martha Sielman, executive director of Studio Art Quilt Associates, a nonprofit group whose mission is to promote the art quilt, says membership in her organization has quadrupled in the past nine years to over 3200 members in 32 countries. Sielman thinks she knows why quilting is so popular. “Our lives are tied to computers, and people are longing for something more real and concrete – something they can do with their hands,” she said. “This is a hobby that wants to be shared,” she added. “Sharing is intrinsic to quilting, both during the creation,” when quilters, knitters and other artisans gather together and work, “and afterwards,” when their work is displayed. Franzese and her colleagues-in-textiles have made a point of sharing, particularly with young people (“all those little fingers with very sharp needles,” Franzese mused) at Wilkinson Library, which offered a Kids Needlepoint Class over the summer, and in Norwood, through the 4-H and One-to-One programs. The children’s works will be on exhibit in the Young People’s Division of the Festival’s juried exhibit. The festival itself will take place in the Telluride High School Gymnasium; in addition to the children’s needlepoint samplers and other textile works, it features demonstrations, a vintage quilt exhibit and juried exhibitions in knitting, quilting, textiles, needlepoint and mixed-fiber media. There will also be an appearance by “live fiber-bearing animals” (textile-artists’ synonyms for yaks, alpacas, and cashmere goats) on Saturday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The event may end on Sunday – for this year – but for Franzese the craft continues. “I am now making a quilt for each of my seven grandkids,” she said.
The Many Hands Fiber Festival is open Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Telluride High School Gymnasium. The daily entry fee is $3 for adults; children 16 and under are admitted free. Among the weekend’s highlights:
Friday, August 9:
--Needlepoint demonstration and tutorials, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m;
--Drop-spinning demonstration, 2-2:30 p.m. at the Mora Cooperative Spinning Mill (from Mora, NM) Store in the Festival “shopping mall” and
--A Wine Reception at Azadi Fine Rugs (217 W. Colorado Ave.), 5:30-7 p.m.
Saturday, August 10:
--Live Fiber-Bearing Animals (yaks, alpacas, goats and more) from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. in Elks Park, sponsored by Needlerock Fiber Arts;
--The first of a two-part, rust-dyeing class led by Kathy Green at her studios on 227 E. Gregory Ave. (11 a.m.-2 p.m.);
--Needlepoint demonstration and tutorials by Jenny Sullivan (10 a.m.-1:30 p.m.) and
--A wine reception and lecture on hemp at Between the Covers Bookstore (5:30-7 p.m.).
On Sunday, Kathy Green’s rust-dyeing class will conclude, and there will be a drawing for the Raffle Quilt, handmade by the Placerville Quilt Guild, which took first prize at the 2013 Black Canyon Quilting Show. Raffle tickets are $1. A fiber arts “shopping mall” will be open all weekend, featuring yarns, fabrics and handmade fiber arts from various artists and artisans. Fiber artist Ayn Hanna will offer a three-day class entitled Art Cloth (printing and dyeing techniques on your own fabric) at the Ah Haa School the week following the Festival on August 12-14, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. each day. There will be more textile exhibits in this region soon, including the Ouray County Historical Society’s Vintage Quilt Show, which opens Aug. 20, and a Fiber Art Show September 28-30 at ACE of Norwood.
Jack Ingram in Ouray
Country singer Jack Ingram gives a concert at the Wright Opera House this Saturday evening as part of the Wright’s Summer Music Series, now in its second year. Ingram, a Texas native who lives and makes his music in Austin, had a number-one country single in 2005 with “Wherever You Are,” and was named Male Vocalist of the Year in 2008 at the American Country Music Awards. He can sing, he can write, but the music he made four years ago doesn’t begin to describe him today. Ingram has since split with his mainstream record label, Big Machine (Taylor Swift was a label-mate) and today he’s at a bit of a crossroads: does he go for another Top 40 hit, or stay true to his dreams, seeking out smaller venues and making exactly the type of music he wants? Chad Swiatecki, who interviewed the songwriter for Austin Man magazine earlier this summer, reported that “a listen to the demos [Ingram has] prepared over the last year-plus confirms that he’s turned the corner and left the glossy studio sheen of his Big Machine days behind…there’s a sparse, more rugged feel to his latest material that suggests he’s headed down the road of a long line of Texas songsmith heroes instead of letting someone else cast him as the next radio-ready, easily digestible Brad Paisley or Kenny Chesney clone.” “I won’t make a compromise again musically,” Ingram told his interviewer, referring to the slicker production of his recent records, “a pretty stark contrast” to his sweaty, rocking live shows. He’s kept the sweat and the rock, in other words, added hard-earned grit, and is playing the intimate Wright. The audience could be in for a treat. Ingram takes the stage Saturday night at 7 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit thewrightoperahouse.org.