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Just over a week away, my friends, and QuiltCon West kicks off! It’s going to be an interesting show, because two of my favorite quilters will be there, living and not: Gwen Marston will be the keynote speaker, and the work of Molly Upton will be shown. Gwen Marston has been a presence int the quilt world for a long time, and her improvisational style which she calls “liberated quiltmaking” has been an influential style and inspiration for many people. With thirteen quilting books that range from liberated blocks to medallions  and quilt series, her work and career has something for everyone (and I really want to take classes from her one day!).

Molly Upton led a tragically short life, but in her three years of making “quilted tapestries”, her work was also new and different, and changed people’s perceptions of what quilting could be. Originally based on traditional blocks, she soon broke with tradition to explore her own work, often pictorial.

If you may be unfamiliar with their work, here are some resources for you:

Gwen Marston’s home page

Sandi Hazelwood of Crafty Planner’s podcast with Gwen Marston

An article by Scott Ruescher at ArtsEditor about a show of Molly Upton’s work and a discussion of her life (includes photos)

The entry for Molly Upton on Wikipedia

a 1979 article on Molly Upton from the New York Times’ archives, “Modern Quilts: Beyond Necessity” (subscription the the Times required).

What are you looking forward to seeing?  There are going to be some really interesting things there!

Mandy Leins is a Stash Books author, Craftsy Instructor, and longarm quilter. Visit her on her blog,Mandalei Quilts, or find her on Instagram as @mandaleiquilts

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