Beth Markel

AQS – Grand Rapids & painting the town…

Posted on August 18, 2013 by Beth Markel

Wow, the last week has been a whirlwind!  I spent 2 days in Grand Rapids for the AQS show, and I must say it was really a terrific show.  There were more vendors than last year (I think I heard about 50 more), and they had goods and wares from Texas to California to Florida and the north east.  I think my favorite purchase so far is the English needles I bought, which simply glide through the fabric like a hot knife through butter.  I’m working on 2 bindings this week, and these needles are fab!

Vendors in Grand Rapids...even the booths triggered inspiration

Vendors in Grand Rapids…even the booths triggered inspiration

Grand Rapids is a great mid-western town, with the DeVos Convention center at the heart of it all, right on the banks of the busy Grand River.  It’s the longest river in Michigan and was moving rapidly in the sunshine for the entire week and weekend.   Beautiful, cool and breezy breaks out on the banks of the river where benches live for all those who wanted to sit for a bit, as well as excellent coffee on the first floor, and food upstairs when you were ready to relax for a while and catch up with others you haven’t seen for a while.  There truly was something for everybody…including the ‘Husband Lounge’ upstairs, which was well-received from all the guys I talked to.

The town of Grand Rapids also has Restaurant Week during the AQS show, and I have a new favorite restaurant 7 minutes from downtown…The Twisted Rooster.  Suffice to say they use local ingredients, have a changing menu to use what’s in-season and fresh, and an absolutely awesome chef…if I had been alone, I would have licked my chocolate mousse/brownie dessert plate.  And I own it.

Rather than bore you with my own fair shots of quilts, I’m attaching a link to the winner’s page, and when the video comes out, I’ll link to that too, as I’m expecting it to be of the excellent character last year’s video was – complete with soundtrack.  Oh, I also was awarded the Best Wall Quilt, which was interestingly embraced by some, and scoffed by others.  Art is definitely in the eye of the beholder!

 Also a must see is the Meijer Sculpture Park & Garden, a simply breath-taking afternoon…

 There is something for everybody here, from the inside sculpture gallery with rotating exhibits, to rare orchids, the dragons and interactive climbing and exhibits in the children’s area, and beautiful sculpture park which you can either ride through on an open tram, or walk through at your own pace.

By Hanneke Beaumont, Bronze, 1995-1996

By Hanneke Beaumont, Bronze, 1995-1996

Bill Woodrow - Listening to History, 1995, cast 2001, Bronze

Bill Woodrow – Listening to History, 1995, cast 2001, Bronze

Light of the Moon, Igor Mitoraj, 1991-92, Bronze

Light of the Moon, Igor Mitoraj, 1991-92, Bronze

I have said before that I do love sculpture – the texture, the depth, the pattern and tactile features, the height, the breadth, the width, the metal, the glass, and the meaning of what the sculptor was trying to say.  Like the sculpture park in St. Louis (See April 29 Blog)…some of the pieces made me say, “Hum.. Do I understand it?” or “hum…what is that artist communicating?” while some of the pieces were quite meditative and intriguing…just like quilts.

I will write more when I go through the hundreds of pictures I took at both the quilt show and the sculpture gardens…there is more than one post in my head on these subjects.  It has been truly a fantastic week, and my head is swimming with ideas!

Happy Sewing & Creativity!




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