Monday, July 19, 2010

Nancy Crow Exhibit at Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center

This weekend my husband and I drove over to Auburn, NY to see the Nancy Crow Exhibit at the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center. The exhibit program describes Nancy as one "among a select group of great American artists who have made their mark by elevating a time honored traditional craft to that of fine art." 

How true that statement is. As I walked through the galleries of Nancy's works, I realized, from across a room, that I was viewing them as I would paintings or other works of art. Only when I got up close did I begin to view and appreciate them as quilts.

I decided to go see the exhibit not just because I have heard so much about Nancy Crow from fellow quilters.  I was particularly drawn to her as I read some of her blog entries.

Two quotes, in particular, caught my eye:
But there are always two things happening in my art: the visual influences and an emotional underlay. All my work has a very strong emotional underlay which I don’t necessarily write up or let people know about.  
I’m 66 and I have made a decision and promise to myself that my work is going to keep growing and changing. I’m not interested in plateauing and doing the same thing. As long as I’m physically able, that’s my promise to myself. Perhaps this will mean exploring certain techniques in depth, perhaps not.  
I feel strongly that, for me, there needs to be an emotional component in creating any quilt or art piece. And, I appreciate that it is not essential to share that with others - leaving viewers the option to have their own emotional interpretation of my work.  Her second quote excites me as I identify and embrace the idea that we are never too old to explore and learn and try new techniques and ways.

The exhibit itself showcases 57 of Nancy's quilts including a few of her early pieced quilts as a contrast to her more recent work. It is a stunning exhibit that I wish all quilters could have the opportunity to see.


  1. Thanks for sharing this, Nancy..alas I won't be traveling to New York any time soon, but you have given us a glimpse into her world. Maybe that exhibit will travel to my can always hope!

  2. Judy,
    I saw the exhibit last week! DH and I spoke to the curator and even she'd taken one of Nancy's classes. I've been doing a lot of thinking since I got home about the importance of putting your soul into your work. So good to see someone else feels the same way.

  3. Thank you for sharing about Nancy Crow's exhibit! It sounds like a wonderful exhibit and I would love to see it myself! What a great way to be... never too old to keep growing and changing. I also agree that it is better to let the viewer interpret the work themselves and let their own emotions connect with the piece.

  4. I am amazed at how the exhibit effected me. Seeing her work up close, you are able to see the incredible detail and precision.
    I am interested in taking one of her design courses after reading her comment that she does not want students to imitate her work but rather find their own paths using good principles. (I am paraphrasing according to how I have internalized.)

  5. Thank you for sharing this Judy. I'm in a place of consuming and digesting at this moment in time. I've been taking in so much information... Nancy Crow is a person that I just learned about this spring. I'm inspired and daunted by what she's been accomplishing. I never had the pleasure of viewing her work in person. I appreciate your first hand account of your experience. She is doing what I hope to achieve some day. It's very humbling.
    Her work is really a break through.