Winning a Purchase Award at Spring Paducah

A week ago I sat stunned when I realized myself and my machine quilter/friend Kris Spray had won a purchase award in the “Best Movable Machine Large Quilt” category at AQS Spring Paducah for “Seasons of Life.” I was at once both unbelievably happy, and equally sad. Holding those two emotions inside at the same time is a bit difficult to process— all at once. I felt like a ping pong, bouncing between two poles.

I wrote that day that I began to understand what it must be like for a mother to give up a beloved child for adoption. You know the child is going to a better home than you. can give it, but still.

Most people think the money is worth it, but actually no. It isn’t nearly. I worked for three years on the design and execution of that particular quilt, and my quilting buddy Kris worked very hard on the quilting for the next year. We know that the award itself is priceless, however, much like the MasterCard commercial.

I also realized I was adrift, unable to really feel like I was on my usual track. Years ago I made a list of the things I would like to accomplish before I die—a bucket list so to speak. I wrote that I would like to have a quilt win a major award in an international quilt show. That I would like to teach at a large quilting conference. That I would like to travel to teach, and travel internationally. That I would like very much to leave this earth with a quilt in a museum—the highest honor I could imagine for a quilter, or any artist. I did not write down that I would like to be rich. Pity.

So yesterday I knew that with all of those goals now realized, I no longer had a bucket list as a quilter. So now I have a new list. I would like to achieve the goal of being a recognized textile artist, and would like to spend some years solely working in studio, without worry of deadlines or commitments of any other kind. I still want to travel a bit, however.

Many thanks go to AQS, Kris Spray, my family and my husband Bill for his unwavering support, and the quilting community as a whole. Thank you all.