A Look Inside The 2021 Great Wisconsin Quilt Show
August 12, 2021 Leave a Comment
Join PBS Wisconsin and Nancy Zieman Productions for the ultimate virtual quilting experience! Register now for The Great Wisconsin Quilt Show, Sept. 9-11, a free and accessible online event. Visit quiltshow.com to register, view the event schedule, scope out quilt exhibit details and explore the virtual vendor mall.
As we navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, we are proud to provide a free, safe way for quilt and fabric lovers of all experience levels to learn and celebrate together.
In advance of September’s Great Wisconsin Quilt Show, we spoke with Kristin Korevec, special events manager at PBS Wisconsin, about the virtual experience and opportunities to bolster community through quilting.
PBS Wisconsin: The Quilt Show went virtual for the first time last year. What was the overall response?
Kristin Korevec: We really were blown away by the positive feedback we got from attendees of the virtual show, and we had record numbers for participation last year. Obviously, we all love being together in person and can’t wait until we can be together again at the Alliant Energy Center, but there were benefits to going virtual.
The show was more accessible to a wider scope of people. Many were able to attend who might not have otherwise been able to do so because they live too far away, or they have less physical mobility or because of health concerns. One couple who normally attends the show wrote to us saying they would have missed the in-person show in 2020 due to an injury, so they were happy they could still participate in the virtual show. Another person wrote to us from Europe and said she was able to attend the show with her mother who lives in the United States. It was so nice to hear how we could bring people together and celebrate quilting.
PBS Wisconsin: What can “attendees” expect from this year’s virtual Quilt Show?
Korevec: The Great Wisconsin Quilt Show is about bringing people together around a love of quilting and providing inspiration and educational opportunities. The three main components of the virtual experience are the photo gallery quilt exhibits, our virtual vendor mall and educational presentations.
Leading up to the show in September, we will also host our annual community service project “Quilt to Give” on our Facebook page and participants can add their square to our virtual community quilt.
Every part of the show encourages participants to directly engage in some way. There will be live Q&A sessions following all of the educational presentations. Viewers can vote for their favorite quilt in the Art Deco Quilt Challenge and for their favorite episode of Sewing With Nancy. The virtual vendor mall allows participants to chat directly with the vendors. Our top priority is everyone’s safety, but our goal is to strengthen the quilting community.
PBS Wisconsin: Tell us about this year’s quilt exhibits.
Korevec: This year our quilt exhibits will be presented as photo galleries. During the virtual experience, participants will be able to zoom in on quilt details and learn more about each quilt. Also, the 10-category quilt contest deadline has been extended to next summer, so next year we will enjoy entries from both 2021 and 2022. In the meantime, we are celebrating past best of show quilts in a winner’s showcase spanning from the 2005-2020 quilt contests.
We will also feature exhibits of our juried quilt challenges, including the Modern Mini Quilt Challenge, the Panel Quilt Challenge, the Art Deco Quilt Challenge and the Kids’ Quilt Challenge. There will also be a showcase of Cherrywood Fabrics Challenges from previous years including the Wicked, Lion King, Van Gogh, Prince and Bob Ross challenges.
Our special exhibit this year, “Racism: In the Face of Hate We Resist,” features 63 quilts that tell stories of resistance and strength that are central to the survival of Black people in America. This exhibit is part of the Textile Center and Women of Color Quilters Network’s We Are the Story initiative, curated by Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi. These artists grapple with very challenging issues and approaching these topics through quilts is really powerful.
PBS Wisconsin: How can attendees best prepare for this virtual experience?
Korevec: We recommend that people go to quiltshow.com, complete the registration form and start exploring. There are several things that participants can do now — contribute to the virtual community quilt, purchase event T-shirts and tote bags, schedule a quilt appraisal and view the event schedule. You can even set calendar reminders for the presentations you’d like to watch during the virtual experience.
PBS Wisconsin: What are you most excited about for this year’s Quilt Show?
Korevec: I’m always excited to see the educational presentations. It’s when you can see everyone’s passion for quilting and that shared love of the craft comes to the forefront. People are inspired to try new things, and hobbies that continually teach you something are the most enriching.
This year we have 12 fantastic lectures lined up, and the wide range of topics offers something for everyone. Jhasmine Andrews will discuss how to incorporate quilting into making garments, Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr will talk about the versatility of solid color fabrics, Porfiria Gomez will share techniques on big block quilting, and among other lectures, Chris Lynn Kirsch will teach viewer’s about a technique called “quilt-as-you-go.”
It’s exciting to offer learning opportunities for a community that is so passionate about their craft. I’m not a quilter myself, so I learn a lot no matter what the lecture topic is!
PBS Wisconsin: What do proceeds from the event support?
Korevec: The Great Wisconsin Quilt Show is PBS Wisconsin’s largest annual fundraising event. The funds we raise from the show help support PBS Wisconsin programs, events, education and community outreach. While we are still virtual, we are proud to provide a free and accessible experience this year. Our goals are to unite the quilting community, provide educational opportunities and help sustain our vendors.
We want the show to come back stronger every year, so we’re asking participants to consider donating what they can at quiltshow.com/donate. We are also hosting an online auction in lieu of our in-person raffle, and businesses and individuals can donate to that as well.
PBS Wisconsin: Tell us about the 4-H Virtual Community Quilt.
Korevec: The virtual community quilt is a project in collaboration with Wisconsin 4-H to celebrate how quilting brings us together. This year’s theme is “Hopes for 2022.” We invite quilters, sewists and fiber artists to contribute an image of a 6.5-inch fiber art square or quilt block along with a statement about what they hope next year will bring. The virtual community quilt will be updated as people share their quilt blocks and their stories at quiltshow.com/digitalquilt. You can also see last year’s community quilt at quiltshow.com/nancy-memorial-quilt/.
PBS Wisconsin: Tell us more about the community service project “Quilt to Give.”
Korevec: “Quilt to Give” has always been an important part of The Great Wisconsin Quilt Show. It’s an opportunity for the community to come together and use their skills to help others. During the week of Aug. 23-27, we’ll share project steps and guidance on our Facebook page. Finished bed-size quilts will benefit Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS) and Enchanted Makeovers. Last year, 25 finished quilts and 11 quilt tops were stitched and donated through the “Quilt to Give” project, and we would love to give even more this year!
PBS Wisconsin: What will The Great Wisconsin Quilt Show look like in 2022?
Korevec: Hopefully, we are back in-person and can return to enjoying the benefits of sharing the same space together. But going virtual taught us some valuable lessons in accessibility and we are interested in continuing to offer an online component to the show. We grow with the quilting community as it continues to evolve, and we are excited to take the feedback from our participants to make the show even better every year.
PBS Wisconsin: How can event attendees stay updated on the quilt show?
Korevec: The most up-to-date information is available at quiltshow.com. When you register for the virtual experience, you’ll be added to our email list to receive additional updates. The Great Wisconsin Quilt Show user guide is also available to download from our website, which includes detailed information about how to access and navigate the virtual experience. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for information and updates.