Friday, May 24, 2019

Form, Not Function 1 -- best in show

Best in show at Form, Not Function: Quilt Art at the Carnegie is this wonderful quilt by Judy Kirpich:

Memory Loss No. 1, 47 x 80"

As in most of Judy's quilts, this one starts with hand dyed cotton and achieves its complexity with dozens of pieced rings.  It has both hand and machine quilting.

Although I had the opportunity to watch Judy at work once when we shared a week at a workshop, I still can't conceive of how she manages to insert pieced circles and still have her quilt end up pretty flat.  She is some genius at the sewing machine, that's for sure.

This quilt is the first in a series about Alzheimer's, which affected her mother and mother-in-law.  She says in her artist statement:  "The loss of memory is not a sudden event.  Memory comes and goes; it fades in and out.  There are bright spots where recollections are sharp and focused, and darker areas where people and events are no longer accessible.  Confusion and often anger reign."

My fellow prize judges and I did not read either the title or the artist statement before we chose it as best in show; we didn't know exactly what it was about but the dark, powerful emotion came through even without words.  And of course, the visual complexity of the image and the masterful technique were obvious.

Judy's having a great night -- while we're announcing her big prize at the Carnegie, she's at the Dairy Barn in Athens OH to help announce the big prizes at Quilt National, for which she served as a juror.  We wish she could be in both places at once!


  1. It is great. My mother had alzheimer too and I recognize it.

  2. Kathy thanks for the kind words and your vote of confidence. It means so much coming from an artist/writer I have always admired.

  3. How on earth does she do that! As someone who knows little about the Quilt Art world, I am grateful to you for exposing me to yet another fascinating artist. I am looking forward to looking through her previous work, and seeking out her future pieces

  4. I love everything about this quilt, beginning with the idea, but ending up with the beautiful powerful form xo

  5. Very big year for Judy! Cool that you got to serve as a prize judge. How did that compare to a time when you've been juror?