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Sunday, April 01, 2007


Michael James Wins Quilting's Silver Star Award

Fabric artist expanded the boundaries of quilting

HOUSTON—March 26, 2007—Quilts, Inc. this week announced that the recipient of the 2007 Silver Star Award is Michael James of Lincoln, Nebraska. The award is given annually to living persons who have made a lasting and positive impact on the field of quilting and textile art over their careers.

James—a member of the Quilter’s Hall of Fame—was chosen for a lifetime of work that has seen him move through different styles and techniques, but always remain on the cutting edge of quilt design, construction, and scholarship.

“For more than a quarter century, Michael James has been an influential leader in the quilt world through his quilts, his teaching, and his books,” says Festival Director Karey Bresenhan. “His stunning work has inspired countless artists to stretch their own talents, and to try new approaches to creating quilts.”

“It was a real surprise to be named the Silver Star Award recipient, and it really touches me to be recognized in this way,” James says. “I feel that this is a vote of appreciation from the broader quilt world, and that's gratifying, since for 30 years that large community helped to support me and my art making in many different ways. Every individual who ever took a workshop with me, or came to a lecture or an exhibition, or bought a book or a quilt, was part of a career that I managed to cobble together over the years and look back on with much satisfaction.”

Michael’s approach to quiltmaking is greatly influenced by his background as a painter, something he expounded upon in his essential books The Quiltmaker’s Handbook and The Second Quiltmaker’s Handbook. A frequent teacher and lecturer, James is currently the department chair in Textiles, Clothing & Design at the University of Nebraska/Lincoln and a Faculty Fellow at the International Quilt Study Center. “Through his teaching, Michael is conveying his remarkable vision to yet another generation,” Bresenhan adds.

“It feel like another set of chapters are being written [in my career], and I see the Silver Star Award as the perfect prologue to the rest of my life in quilts,” James adds.

His work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions too numerous to list, and appears in more than a dozen museum collections. Finally, his quilts have won many awards, and two of them (Aurora and Rhythm/Color: Improvisation) made the list of the 20th Century’s 100 Best American Quilts.

James will be honored at the Silver Star Salute, part of the events at the 2007 fall edition of International Quilt Festival in Houston. This special dinner is Saturday, November 3, from 7:30-10:00 p.m., and will feature a speech from James along with a visual career retrospective. Work and memorabilia from his entire career will also be on display in the “Silver Star Salute” special exhibit on Festival’s show floor.

Quilts, Inc. is the producer of trade and consumer shows for the quilting industry, including several editions each of International Quilt Festival and International Quilt Market. Previous winners of the Silver Star Award include such legendary figures as Caryl Bryer Fallert, Katie Pasquini Masopust, Marti Michell, Elly Sienkiewicz, Nancy Martin, Georgia Bonesteel, Roberta Horton, Donna Wilder, Yvonne Porcella, Jean Ray Laury, Virginia Avery, Jinny Beyer, and Bonnie Leman.

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