Meena Schaldenbrand is GAAQG May 2017 guest artist
by Linda Theil
April 2, 2017
FIber artist Meena Schaldenbrand will lecture on the topic of “Texting in Quilts” at the GAAQG Quilt Day meeting that will begin at 9 a.m. on May 20, 2017 at the Morris Lawrence Building, WCC in Ann Arbor.
Schaldenbrand will also teach two one-day workshops: “Sheer Delight” on using sheer fabrics to provide texture and interest to fiber works on May 19, and “Creative Word Art Design” on adding text to quilts on May 21, 2017. Both workshops will be held from 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. in the Morris Lawrence Building at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor. Workshops are $60 for members, $80 for non-members; online registration is available.
GAAQG members are familiar with Schaldenbrand’s intricate artwork because she often shares new pieces during show-and-tell on Quilt Day.
“I love show-and tell,” Schaldenbrand said. “I challenge myself to have something to share since I love seeing everyone else’s work.”
Schaldenbrand exhibits widely
Schaldenbrand also shares her work nationally and internationally in many juried, and non-juried shows where she submits via the Internet.
I love doing challenges and theme exhibits. One online challenge, Roots of Racism, began online [in 2000], and actually traveled for five years. It was also at the US embassy residence in Islamabad, Pakistan. My quilt [in that show], “Peeling Layers Back to Basics”, eventually was on exhibit at the Michigan State University museum after being hung there as part of another racism exhibit, and it now lives there in refrigerated drawers!
“Peeling . . .” was published in a book titled, The Roots of Racism: Ignorance and Fear. And Exhibition of Contemporary American Quilts in the Residence of the United States Ambassador to Pakistan (Arts in Embassies Program, 2003)
Other exhibitions with Schaldenbrand work:
- “Classical Indian Dancers” is traveling with a show entitled, Dare to Dance  that will show at AQS Quilt Week, April 18-22, 2017 in Paducah, Kentucky; it also appears in a book, Dare to Dance: an Art Quilt Challenge by Mary Kerr (Schiffer, 2014)
- “Gender Reveal: Celebrating 4 years, 3 Children, 2 Gender Reveals and 1 Cat!” is part of the Sacred Threads 2017 exhibit, although not on the traveling exhibit that begins at the Flint Festival of Quilts in September 2017.
- Two of her creations: “A Loving Tribute to Mother Teresa” and “Lucille Ball” were accepted for the Her Story: A Celebration of Strong Women show exhibiting at the Houston International Quilt Festival this November.
- “Way Better Than Sci Fi: Memories Of the Moon Landing from A-Z” is part of the Fly Me To the Moon  exhibit that is currently traveling in various venues through 2018.
I do online challenges constantly. My goal is to do theme quilts because I think it’s so interesting to see how everyone interprets the same theme. I focus on pieces less than a yard square, or I size by show requirements. I still do large quilts, but only a few during the year.
Resources for information about quilt shows and challenges:
- Open calls for show entries in quilt and art magazines
- Stretching Art and Tradition non-juried challenges curated by Susan Heydt and Amy Nelson online
- Lyric Kinard’s webpage and email-newsletter listing of entry deadlines for fiber-art and quilt shows and competitions
- Kim Lapacek’s Project Quilting challenges
- Online calls for entries on FaceBook Groups such as the Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild FaceBook page and other guilds and art groups
- GAAQG Quilt Show 2018 For more information contact show chair Anne Bednar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GAAQG: Can you tell us a little about your background?
Schaldenbrand: I live in Plymouth, Michigan. I learned to sew in a convent in India where I lived until 1968 and have been in Michigan since 1969. I first joined the guild around 1990.
GAAQG: How would you describe your work?
Schaldenbrand: Art quilts, story quilts.
GAAQG: What is it about your process that keeps you excited about your work?
Schaldenbrand: I try new challenges, techniques, and materials with each quilt to help me stretch. I’ve learned to design on the computer and that’s where I start! I design all my quilts in Make the Cut program for my Cricut, ACS Eagle and KNK Force cutters. It’s easier than Photoshop. Then I let fabrics determine the final design.
GAAQG: Could you describe your studio?
Schaldenbrand: My studio began in a small bedroom upstairs. I eventually moved to a finished basement which has a lot more room. My sewing machines are in one area and my fabrics are sorted by colors in another room.
I also have my computer connected to my electronic cutter and I have several manual die cutters that I purchased at garage sales. I even have a small walk in closet for my trims and embellishments. I have built-in, and portable design-walls as I work on more than one project at a time.
GAAQG: Could you tell us about a highlight of your artistic career that you are most proud of?
Schaldenbrand: What I am most proud of is that I have persisted in a medium that I absolutely love! My quilts tell stories about my culture, milestones and life as well as that of many relatives and friends.
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