Monday, April 4, 2011

On the Road...

I hope everyone enjoyed Dr. Gaither's posting last week. She is a self-professed techno-phobe, so the fact I was actually able to get her to post still surprises me. Hopefully she will be encouraged to be a regular poster.... I am somewhat at loose ends on what to post about this week, so I thought I would share a few photos to highlight some of the activity surrounding the National Black Theater Festival quilt going on right now.

Dr. Gaither travelled to Atlanta last month to give a long time consultant to the organizers of the National Black Theater Festival a chance to see what Dr. Gaither has been working on. They had heard Dr. Gaither describe the quilt and had seen a few photos, but this was their first opportunity to see the artwork in person. Transporting the quilt to and from Atlanta was an interesting task, not unlike any of the other transportation adventures the quilts have taken Dr. Gaither and crew on. When the My American Series traveled to Hartford, CT last year, each of the six quilt were packed into large plastic containers, placed in the back of a mini-van, and driven up the East Coast by Dr. Gaither and one of her students, Sara. When Dr. Gaither was on sabbatical in Massachusetts, she had all 40 of her decades quilts, the Theater Festival quilt, and four other quilts with her. When I traveled up to visit her and helped her drive back to Maryland, there were quilts bursting out of every possible part of her car. Thank goodness I learned how to roll a sleeping bag when I was in Girl Scouts, because that skill came in very handy. In order to help the quilts "breathe" during their time tightly rolled up, Dr. Gaither held a private showing of several of the decades quilts in Hartford, CT on our way back to Maryland. After traveling to Hartford, the quilt then went to Los Angeles and Las Vegas via train and car before flying back to Maryland.

To get the National Black Theater Festival quilt to Atlanta, we had to pack the quilt up and wrestle it into a suitcase. Trust me when I say it is not easy to fit an eleven foot quilt into a box suitcase. The quilt then traveled with Dr. Gaither via train from Washington, DC to Atlanta. When Dr. Gaither arrived in Atlanta, she immediately went to meet with a long time consultant to the festival and showed them the quilt. The reaction was one of sheer amazement and awe. It looks like there will be quite a bit of activity surrounding the quilt at the festival, so stay tuned. After its showing in Atlanta, Dr. Gaither and the quilt parted ways so that Dr. Gaither could get some rest. She travelled to Florida and the quilt was packed back in its suitcase, put in two boxes, and FedEx'ed to me. Yes, FedEx'ed. It remained in its packaging until Dr. Gaither returned at which point I quickly drove the quilt back to her where it has stayed ever since.

So there is the saga of the traveling quilt. The quilt hasn't seen too much action in the past few weeks, although I hear there will be a flurry of activity in the next couple weeks with the community quilters being called back into action. A completion deadline has been set for the end of the month. I will keep you posted on the progress, although I can't show too many pictures. I can't give away the quilt before it is officially unveiled in August.

No comments: