QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “Focal Point” by the Great Lakes Bay MQG

by Marcia Streeter, Secretary; Carol Rose, Treasurer20160929_182854The Great Lakes Bay Modern Quilt Guild, which meets in Midland, MI, is a new chapter of the MQG. Seeking ways to challenge ourselves, we were attracted to the QuiltCon charity challenge, because it offered a way to give back to our community while making our way into the quilt show arena. Alden B. Dow, an outstanding student of Frank Lloyd Wight, was a Midland native known for his contributions to modern architecture. Permission was obtained to use a photograph of a door on a home designed by Alden Dow, to serve as inspiration for our quilt. The home is located on the campus of Duke University in North Carolina, and is used to house visiting dignitaries.

The theme “Playing with Scale” provided us with a range of possibilities and stimulated some creative thinking. Our best designers went to work on a pattern, and soon the entire group was pitching in creating panels for the door portion of the quilt. Some members chose to carefully plan their section, while others used improvisation. All of the colors from the required color palette were used as we felt it added visual interest and gave the impression of the stained glass used in the original door. Once the door itself was finished, the rest of the quilt was completed. One of our members generously volunteered her talent to complete the wonderful long arm quilting. The challenge to play with scale can be seen in a variety of ways on our quilt “Focal Point.” The piecing and quilting show that the door is set into an alcove. Each door section is unique with varying sizes of squares and rectangles to make up the window panes. The overall design of the quilt gives the illusion of depth. The quilting further enhances this. The quilting lines on floor and ceiling, and scale of blocks on the walls draws the eye in from the entryway to the door. The quilting also shows the uniqueness of Alden Dow’s ‘unit blocks’ which are present on many of his buildings. Multiple members assisted with binding, labeling and attaching a hanging sleeve to prepare the quilt for its trip to Savannah. Coincidentally, our guild was very excited to learn that one of our members met the daughter of the master carpenter who built the door. This woman, who still lives in Midland, has memories of the door being present in the family home while her dad was working on it! The Great Lakes Bay Quilt Guild has begun discussions with the Alden B Dow Home and Design Studios to plan for the auctioning of this quilt for their charity. The proceeds will go to scholarships for camp or classes, where young students are introduced to architecture and design.


Learning Together While Supporting the Arts Locally