My Showroom of Quilts. Please make this idea go viral.


My quilt show flyer

I’m somewhat known for having big ideas. Many would call them outsized. Unreasonably proportioned.

I have tried and tried to reign them in. I really have. And actually, I have learned to keep more and more of them to myself. So as not to drive everyone around me crazy. In fact, I have publicly promised my co-workers to propose no more new ideas. I have clearly outstayed my welcome on that score.

But sometimes my ideas can be so rewarding. They actually work. Which makes it so hard to give them up entirely.

One of my latest ideas was spurred by our office’s recent adoption of four-week sabbaticals for those of us who have worked there for seven years. Since I’ve put in 15 years, I was one of the first (if not the very first) to sign up.

We had to submit a plan for the goals – both professional and personal – for our month away. True to my nature, I promised to pursue three rather ambitious and lofty goals. And my plan to achieve those three ginormous things was approved by my boss.

That’s when my trouble began.

One of my goals was to plan and produce a show of my quilts.

Mind you, I’m kind of self conscious about showing anyone except close friends and family my quilts. Most people I know have never seen them. I am very afraid of the quilt police. What was I thinking, pledging to put on a show? In public and all?!?

Even if I overcame that apparent contradiction, how was I to pull this off? Where on earth would I do it? My quilt habit is costly enough just buying fabric, I can’t afford to rent a space that has a lot of blank walls and good lighting… like a gallery or something. I fretted over this for several weeks before the solution presented itself to me. Here’s how it happened.

One day in late July while pondering my dilemma, I walked past the mattress store across the street from my office building and noticed a “We’re open for First Thursday tonight” sign on the door. Suddenly I had it:  I should have my quilt show at a mattress store, I can lay my quilts out on the beds!!! No walls needed!

And what if I did it at the mattress store on a First Thursday, the evening all the galleries in the Pearl District (my office neighborhood) open their doors for art shows, inviting people to come in and have conversations with beverages while looking at the art, etc.  BedMart would provide a place to show my quilts, my quilts could bring people in so more potential customers are mingling among mattresses. A total win-win, am I right?!

A few days later, I went in and described my idea to the manager. I figure, what’s the worst that can happen, she says no, right? I tell her about my sabbatical and what I promised to do and how I need a place to show my quilts and I’m thinking it might be challenging to lure First Thursday goers into a mattress store without an artistic attraction so maybe it would be a great collaboration.

She immediately grasped the opportunity in my idea and said, “That’s a wonderful idea, we would love to do that, you want to do it in August? Like next Thursday?”

Well, I won’t really be ready in August, that’s when my sabbatical is, how about First Thursday in October?

“That would be great, here’s my card, let’s keep in touch.”

I’m acting all calm but inside I’m screaming in a very high pitched tone: “A-W-E-S-O-M-E !!!!!!!!!!!!!”  I’m so not used to things being this easy.

So it’s actually happening. Twenty-five of my quilts. And some other quilted thingies I’ve done. And some cool and fun activities to engage you.

First Thursday in October! October 6th. 6 p.m. to whenever it ends. BedMart at NW11th Ave and Glisan St. in Portland’s Pearl District. It turns out to be the very night of the 25th Anniversary of First Thursday!

I would be really really thrilled and excited if you came.

And I’m thinking I need to make this idea go viral. Bed stores can be awfully boring looking…. like acres of, lets face it, fairly butt-ugly mattresses. What if the quilters of the world talked to the managers of the bed stores in their towns and arranged events like First Thursday.

Or maybe the events could be ongoing, like a week long or something. Or maybe permanent installations… quilters could show and sell their works, quilt lovers and art appreciators and everybody everywhere would be inspired to make their mattress and bed purchases at those stores.

Lots of details to work out, yes, but we can make it happen, am I right? You know I am.

Let’s do this.

No wonder I keep getting new ideas. They’re so much fun!!!


4 responses

  1. Clever, clever! I will definitely come along and see your quilts. Kudos for both trying to make it work (I never have the guts to ask!) and for bravely showing your art to the world. Or at least Portlanders out for First Thursday. Congrats and looking forward to it.