Curating a Dream Collection


Kermit the frog sang about how it’s not easy being green.  Well, it’s not easy being a curator either. Just try choosing six 12” square quilts from the 394 quilts donated to the Studio Art Quilt Associates’ (SAQA) benefit auction.  That was the opportunity given to us by Executive Director Martha Sielman.  Six quilts, SIX, from 394.  That’s hard work.  So how does one start such a task?

First, I skimmed all 8 web pages one by one. There are so many amazing quilts. How do I start?  My mind was racing.  So I started through the pages again.  This time, I noticed Loris Bogue’s quilt.  It reminded  me of Hong Kong: the tall buildings that line the harbor and  the sails on the junk that takes tourists for a ride. It also looked like the paintings of Hong Kong you would see in Stanley Market.  The ones I never bought.  “Ok,” I told myself.  “I’ll start with that one.”

The City by Loris Bogue

Now the harder part.  How do I choose 5 other quilts to complement Loris’ quilt.  Should I have a theme?  If so, what?  Color?  Technique? Subject matter?  I went through the quilts again.  Another quilt that caught my eye was Leni Wiener’s quilt of people walking.

Rainy Monday, 9AM
by Leni Wiener

Hmm.  That looks like the view from a hotel window.  I love looking down on city streets.  Hey, Loris’ quilt is called “The City.”  Maybe I’ll choose a bunch of cityscapes.   This is how my stream-of-consciousness collection started.  Back through all the pages again—this time with a mission.  Find the cityscapes.

I didn’t find enough to “go” with Loris’ city or Leni’s people.  But I did see Jette Clover’s Reflections 4.  That one looked like the signs, handbills, and posters plastered on the sides of buildings—new ones plastered over the remains of the previous ones.  Okay, add that one.  Then Linda Colsh’s people, and Miriam Pet-Jacobs “people.”  Add Sherri McCauley’s abstract because the shapes echoed those in Jette’s and also the lines in Miriam’s.  Before I knew it I had a nice collection of 12-15 quilts that looked nice together.

Not one to follow rules, I decided that 9 made a nicer collection than 6 (odd number and all that drivel). So I added and subtracted images until I had a pleasing composition.  Here is my dream collection of 9 quilts.


Collection of 9 Quilts
Top row: Christi Beckmann, Sherri McCauley, Loris Bogue
Middle row: Anity Welty, Leni Wiener, Jette Clover
Bottom row: Linda Colsh, Susan Szajer, Miriam Pet-Jacobs

Okay, but the rules said 6, and if I was going to curate this collection, I had to follow the rules.  Adding quilts, subtracting quilts, changing the layout.  2 hours later, I had my dream collection: Urban Landscape. Next came the sentence to explain my collection.  It seemed pretty straightforward except for Anita Welty’s quilt, Interaction.  What did the man have to do with urban landscapes?  Well, I sat down and channeled my literary partner—Kris is the master of spin!  What would she say?  Aha!  Anita’s man was a portrait hanging on the wall of one of the high rise apartments.  So here’s the curator’s statement: From graffiti on the walls to people in the streets and portraits hung inside the high rise apartments, this collection is my vision of an urban environment.  And here’s the collection:


Urban Landscapes
Top row: Loris Bogue, Jette Clover, Anity Welty
Bottom row: Linda Colsh, Miriam Pet-Jacobs, Susan Szajer

Now if anyone has $6750 to spare, I’ll bid on all 9!  Which ones would be in your dream collection?


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