Head of the Class
by Marcia Barker, Vice President of Education for Quilts, Inc.
Colorado’s Calling—Pick Up the Phone!
January is always such an interesting month—bursting with promise and anticipation of what a new year will hold; newfound discipline aimed at personal goals is at its strongest; and we all plunge headfirst into whatever makes us happiest to pencil in on that calendar. Personally, I love nothing more than traveling and the discovery that goes along with it.
Understandably, some months find me traveling for work, but last August I had a very special opportunity to travel to Denver to visit an old friend—no, an extraordinary friend.
You know the one—dear to your heart but with whom you may not have kept in touch like you should have—so it was with this friend. (Let me just say, I highly recommend organizing long overdue reunions in your life. They have a power all of their own. But I digress.) As luck would have it, I was able to schedule the trip to coincide with the taping sessions of The Quilt Show just outside Denver in Centennial. Score! And another friend would be one of the featured artists the day I had chosen to get tickets. Score again! And the tickets are always FREE! Trifecta!
It’s such a pleasant, easy drive out to the Comcast Studios from Denver. The gorgeous Colorado horizon is breathtaking any time of year and the summer temperatures are nothing short of heavenly. The Quilt Show had provided all of the information and directions I needed to simply pull into the parking lot and head inside.
By listening to the chatter around me, it was soon obvious that some of my fellow audience-mates were regulars—locals that enjoy the experience so much that they make it a point to come to multiple days of taping during the two marathon taping sessions in August and April. The Quilt Show tapes two shows a day for 5-6 days, stocking their reserves for the months ahead with programming that spans the industry. The pace is impressive. The breadth of topics is wide.
“This is quilt history in the making.” That's all I could think as I watched Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims work their magic. Perched alongside dozens of like-minded fans in the terraced studio seating, I enjoyed the free-flowing commentary of these two as they expertly shepherded their guests through their chosen topic. Not to say there aren't some bloopers or re-dos along the way—that's what makes it such a fun day! But in the end, the content has to be thorough, evenly paced, well explained, and clearly delivered, not to mention properly lit, elegantly staged, and expertly videoed. Somehow their team makes it look easy.
The cast of characters behind the camera is every bit as entertaining as those in front. Alex's husband keeps a lively conversation going with the audience in between takes and Ricky's partner Justin is a natural "ham" and makes the most of his brief introductions on camera in between directing each episode.
It's all-hands-on-deck for each jam-packed episode—great information, but more importantly, produced with a love for this craft and a strong sense of purpose. They are there to educate and entertain, but in the process, they are chronicling something that has been a part of our culture and many others for centuries. They are capturing, in real time, the essence of those who study this art form, either as collectors of what has been created and preserved or as innovators of the techniques that will shape its future. What an amazing way to spend the day!
Alex and Ricky are the consummate hostess and host. In fact, if quilting ever had cheerleaders, I would definitely hand the pom-poms to these two. They love what they do, and we are fortunate that they are doing it. They teach as they learn, and they inspire as they educate. And at the end of the day, they get to step outside the studio to a vista that quickly melts this Texas girl's heart. God's country. Colorado. Put it on the calendar.
Visit www.thequiltshow.com for info, membership opportunities, and learning opportunities galore. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for ticket info.
You can also see some of The Quilt Show programming at our Quilt Festival/Chicago, March 28-30 of this year at the Rosemont Convention Center. Our Learning Lounge will feature video content from this and other industry sources to entertain, inspire, and educate.