The thing that makes the weekend of "Images", the annual quilt exhibit sponsored by the New England Quilt Museum, a very necessary event in many of our lives is that Lowell is a wonderful, artful town making a supreme effort to pull itself up by it's bootstraps...or in this case...it's shirt tails. Once a textile producing mill(s) town it became a veritable ghost town in free-fall. Fast forward a decade or so and, while, the effects of the recent recession are evident, there still are many committed souls who are determined to make Lowell work...literally.
Lowell is full of character...and characters...but that's another story.
It is defined for me by cobblestone streets, good to great restaurants and pubs, and more than its share of museums and wonderful old buildings that are slowly being renewed in use, but preserved in beauty.
This pic was taken from the front steps of the New England Quilt Museum. The red brick building in the foreground formerly housed the Revolving Museum which has relocated to the warehouse/artists' lofts on Western Avenue (Never to be missed stop! Check out Friends Fabric Art).
My little entourage arrived Friday and "did" the quilt show along with its coterie of vendors before we checked into our digs, chosen because of its middle-of-the-town/walk-to-absolutely-everything location. Months before I had made reservations for dinner at our very favorite restaurant. (A sad side note: good friends ran into a very unfortunate server there. I say unfortunate because she was so bad she received zip/nada/nothing as a tip. Unheard of. I hate to say this... but I'm glad it wasn't our group that had this inept person...it would have really burst my bubble!)
Saturday was my favorite day by far! Starting with The New England Quilt Museum where the SAQA/MA held it's meeting. We were delighted that our Pres. Lisa Chipetine was able to join us...always witty, informative, funny, engaging and irreverent. Gotta love her!
It's a chance to catch up with friends new and old too: Sandy Donabed, Sandy Gregg, Jeanne Marklin, Valerie Pratt-Portie, Debbie Bein....Betty Warner, Judy Ross, Aurelle Locke, Mary Walter...gosh...it's a huge group hug every time.
I'll close with this last pic. My "Tidepooling--after Audubon" was paired by the Whistler with a member of the Lowell Garden Club who was challenged to create a piece for the exhibit. It was brilliant! I had a chance to speak with the creator. She had searched for square frames to hold the aqua fabric...she had placed the lilies imitating the egret's shape, clear glass reflected the water, the red made an impression of the crab. A real inspiration!
Can't close without mentioning the other "must see" whilst one is in Lowell: The Brush Gallery. This is the second year that I was not juried into it's Quilt Fest Week exhibit....but I was twice before so I should be happy.... Which, of course, is not the point. The point is that it is a wonderful venue, an artists' cooperative that embodies what I envision a really thoughtful, successful collection of artists do. Support the art, theirs in particular and others in general. And they do it well. It is one of my destinations. I never leave without buying jewelry, a weaving, or two dimensional piece of art. Their juried exhibits are always at the leading edge of what's happening.
I'm already planning next August in Lowell!