Pacific NW Quilt & Fiberarts Museum

Gaches Mansion
Gaches Mansion

On my travels, I went to the Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum in LaConner. It is housed in the beautiful Gaches Mansion. We showed up right after 11 and nobody had come to open it, so we walked around LaConner a little and that was nice. We found a cafe which had gluten free pastries so we stopped for a late breakfast and a little rest.

When we went back later, we found the volunteers to be super enthusiastic. They have a lovely gift shop, which you can peruse without paying admission to the museum.

The first exhibit, right off the entrance, was  called What If by Debra Calkins. It ran through May 30, 2021. The pieces in the exhibit “imagine the possibilities for a better, more nurturing world… if only we have the courage to address the pressing social conditions around us today. ” There was an audience participation piece where we could write our own ‘what if’ statement.

I really enjoyed the Inspired Settings: The Art and Collection of Matt Macomber exhibit, which runs through July 4, 2021. I actually confused him with Mike McNamara who I have seen speak a few times at the SFQG. I thought Matt’s quilts were restrained when I thought he was Mike! He finishes, at least for this show, old blocks into new quilts. The quilts captured the sense of time carried by the old blocks, but freshens them up.

Matt Macomber: Plinko
Matt Macomber: Plinko

We are working on circles in the quiltmaking class I am teaching, so I was attracted by quilts with a variety of circular motifs. The quilt pictured right is based on a pattern published in the Kansas City Star called My Graduation Class Ring. He said that the setting is an exploration of the streak of lightning setting. I am not a fan of the salmon color, but like the quilt in general. I really like the block. It has been on my list to try for awhile. Also, I think the salmon and jade green go together very well especially considering the era of the blocks (1940s).

Matt Macomber Bow Tie quilt
Matt Macomber Bow Tie quilt
Matt Macomber Bow Tie quilt detail
Matt Macomber Bow Tie quilt detail

He put together Bow Ti blocks into a quilt, which has some great details. One details was the way the fabrics were placed. He received the blocks the way they show up in the quilt, so he didn’t place the fabrics. Despite the bold nature of the block fabrics, the block background really highlights the individual blocks.

The background around the blocks (not in the blocks) and the way he placed the blocks in the quilt were excellent choices. In this layout, Macomber is, again, studying the streak of Lightning setting. It is subtle, but the viewer can see it once s/he knows what to look for. I like the border print as well. I think it suits the blocks. All of the exploration makes me want to make a Bow Tie quilt. 

Rosy by Matt Macomber
Rosy by Matt Macomber

Somewhere Macomber found 8 rose applique’ blocks from the 1930s. He used them as an exploration of a setting using partial blocks. I am sort of interested to know how he kept parts from unraveling or fraying?

Rosy, detail by Matt Macomber
Rosy, detail by Matt Macomber

I really like the border. It reminds me of some older P&B fabrics. It wouldn’t be an obvious choice for the Rosy quilt, but it works very well.

I am not a huge fan of partial blocks, but this quilt makes me look at it over and over. I don’t think it is just the border, the traditional border. I think one element is the partial blocks. They form a sort of implied border around the four complete blocks. I also like the 8 patch blocks towards the center. They further highlight the full blocks.

 

Check back. I will write more about the quilts on display from the permanent collection in another post.

Author: JayeL

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.

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