Big-League Classes in Small Town Ann Arbor
By Nico Laudenberg
I love to go to the big quilt events: Quilt Festival, QuiltCon and AQS QuiltWeek – beauty overload, oh my.
What I love even more than the shows is taking as many classes as I can get. I’m totally thrilled by meeting people who like quilting as much as I do. Seeing a variety of teachers and fellow attendees, learning from them the most different techniques and ideas is just magic to me. Call me a workshop junkie, I wouldn’t dissent.
In Ann Arbor, we are spoiled with QuiltWeek as near as Grand Rapids, and it’s quite an easy drive to Chicago to go see the Festival. Not to forget the amount of events organized by numerous quilt guilds and shops, first and foremost GAAQG.
But there’s more. Big places, big names. And it’s not that easy to go to those, for example QuiltCon in various places like Savannah, GA, Austin, TX, Pasadena, CA, (switching from West to East every year); or QuiltWeeks in Paducah, KY, Lancaster, PA, Daytona, FL; or Market/Festival in Houston, TX – you name it. Traveling doesn’t always match with our budget and/or job-mom-duties.
Plus, signing up for classes at the big events isn’t a piece of cake: Eager quilters are sitting in front of their devices around the globe (I kid you not), waiting the registration page to open at, say, June, 26th, 10 EDT – sharp. Some of the most popular workshops sell out in seconds, which is not surprising. I keep mentioning QuiltCon, because it’s a good example: This relatively young annual event, presented by the Modern Quilt Guild, is the biggest of its kind worldwide. Around 550 quilts on display, vendors, tons of lectures and workshops, allure thousands of visitors from all over the world. I met people from India, Australia, Europe, and sure enough from all parts of the US. So, there’s a huge demand for only some 25 spots per workshop. I was always more than lucky to get into all of my favorite workshops and lectures, but it took some nerves, perfect timing and, yes, pure luck.
I was so lucky to have an international known teacher like Sherri Lynn Wood come to town in 2016. Her approach of improv quilting had a big impact on my perception of what quilting is. That’s why I was super excited to meet her again at QuiltCon 2019 in Nashville, where she was the featured artist. And I happily paid a bunch of money to take a full day workshop with her (talking about $162 for 6 hours for ModernQuiltGuild-members, $202.50 for non-members). By the way: I signed up for that February 2019 workshop on June, 26th 2018, 10 EDT – sharp. It was sold out just some minutes later.
Now, I think you get my excitement for workshops, right? Alas, do you know how real luxury looks like? It’s to see the best teachers come right into our living room, I mean, the WCC. Have lunch and hang with friends, surrounded by familiar faces who are to become friends. Don’t spend a dime or much time for traveling. We do have the quilting world coming to us, that’s incredibly luxurious!
I cannot wait to sign up for our workshops across the year, and am over the moon about who is coming to QU (Quilt University) in July!
Classes are currently open to members and will open for public registration on May 1, 2019
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