Monday, May 13, 2013


On Saturday, I wheedled and begged and got my husband to drive me into Baltimore so I could attend the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo at the convention center. My youngest daughter wanted to see the U.S.S. Constellation and the U.S.S. Torsk, which are both docked in the harbor there, and my oldest daughter claimed she wanted to come to the quilt show with me. Yeah, right, kid. I believe that. Bet you ten bucks you head off with your dad and your sister at the last minute. No, Mom! I want to see quilts with you!

Easiest ten bucks I ever made.

Part of my wheedling was to get us there as early as possible because I was hoping to avoid standing in line for tickets. So, when I got there I walked right up and got my wrist thingy without waiting, feeling all proud of myself for the result of my superior nagging skills, but then later I realized there just weren't that many people there. I talked to some of the vendors and they all said that every one of these shows they had been to had been successful for them, except this one, and they all seemed to think it was because Baltimore is scary.

Really? Baltimore is scary? I can't remember ever feeling scared in Baltimore. I realize there is some very serious crime in Baltimore, and the politicians are just like evil Disney rodents in suits, but downtown? At the Inner Harbor? It's all Cheesecake Factory and Hard Rock Cafe and Orioles games. It's full of kid stuff: The National Aquarium, The Maryland Science Center, Port Discovery, The Museum of the American Crack Whore. All wholesome, family-oriented stuff. I guess people thought Omar Epps was going to jump out from behind a recycling bin and pop a cap in their ass, like that happens all the time in broad daylight in the most touristy part of town. That's right: Charm City, motherfuckers.

Still, it meant that I didn't have to shove little old ladies out of the way to see anything. I don't know if the show is usually larger in other places, and when it is not so close to Market, but there honestly wasn't much. Maybe I only say that because I'm now used to Market, which is freakishly huge. But at Market, I can't buy anything, which is more frustrating than you can possibly imagine. Here, I could buy stuff, but there just wasn't that much that I wanted. If I wanted novelty fabrics or batiks, well then, SCORE, but not so much for the stuff I like. One vendor did have some bolts of Echino, which I've never had and always wanted, but it was just so expensive, and he looked cranky. I didn't want to bother him. Despite my shyness, I do like chatting with the vendors, and the ones who glare at me just seem like they wouldn't be up for meaningless banter and I can't bring myself to approach them. Yes, I'm insane.

I did get a few things, though.

There were also several quilts on display, and since Harper bailed on me, I had no one who could appreciate that I actually know some of the people whose work was featured there.

There was Lisa:

And Lisa again:

And Ebony Love:

And okay, maybe I don't technically "know" Victoria Findlay Wolfe, because if I saw her I wouldn't go up to her and hug her the way I would with Ebony or tackle her and give her noogies the way I would with Lisa, but I have exchanged business-related emails with her! And she seemed to find me mildly amusing, so I'm sure I'm in her will by now.

And there was one quilt on display (and no, I'm not going to show it, though I did take several pictures) that was just...bad. Badly pieced and badly quilted. And this was not one from a local guild or anything, which I would have forgiven, but one from the Faculty Showcase. I was very surprised to see something so poorly done on display, but I wondered if anyone else was bothered by it, or if I've just become really snotty and picky. Does there come a point where, if you are a famous enough personality, the quality of your work doesn't matter to anyone? I'm all about embracing mistakes, and I have no problem holding up one of my quilts and pointing out its flaws, but I couldn't put that same quilt in a showcase alongside others where people had clearly, you know, tried to make them look good. I have part of a quilt next to me as I'm typing, and it's a quilt that might maybe possibly be shown in a book next year, and I am trying SO HARD to make it good enough to stand alongside quilts from other, less spastic quilters. If I were famous, would I not care so much, because I'd know that people would accept whatever shit I produced just because it had my name on it? Or does there come a point where you get so busy, you can't take the time to produce quality work anymore? Do they have to rely on stunt sewers and just accept whatever they produce, because they're too busy being stalked on Facebook to do all that sewing themselves? This strange world I have found myself in fascinates me.

Having said that, I have made a major change in my place in this strange world and I'll tell you all about that later this week. If I'm not killed and eaten on the mean, mean streets of Baltimore first.

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