BY ANDREA SNARR
CLEARFIELD- Clearfield City’s motto is “We’ve got it made,” and resident Karlee Porter exemplifies her city’s maxim, making it to the top of a national contest. Porter was recently named the winner of the 2012 National “Create Your Own Style” Art Quilting Design Contest.
The contest is sponsored by Swarovski, the crystal manufacturer, and Pfaff sewing machines.
This year’s theme was “Be inspired by the sound of Swarovski elements.
Quilters needed to incorporate Swarovski elements in a design centered around the world of music.
The quilts had to be original ideas and express the quilter’s own personal design theme.
Judges were selected from a jury of leading industry experts, and the quilts were judged on the creativity and uniqueness of the design, and the successful incorporation of Swarovski elements into the quilt. The quality of workmanship and the overall presentation were also criteria. The judges admitted that the selection of the 2012 winner was difficult because the entries exceeded expectations.
Entries were taken from January until June of last year. A short list of 30 semifinalists was chosen, and then only 10 finalists remained. These finalists were invited to attend the 2012 International Quilt Festival in Houston. Quilt, Inc. organizes the festival every year, and it is always held in Houston.
Quilt companies and other professionals are invited the first week, and consumers come the second week.
“The Festival is the mother ship in the quilting world. It is the big show,” explains Porter, who was excited to have the support of family and friends who helped her fund raise so that she could attend.
Porter has an uncle in Houston, so she was able to stay at his home.
Five other top contenders in the contest were also able to go to Houston, so Porter was able to meet them in person. When Porter saw the stiff competition at the show, she began to feel deflated.
“When I submitted my quilt, after all the planning and designing and the work in putting it together, I felt good. It went as I had planned. The quilt made it to the top 30, then the top 10. I thought that was awesome!
“Then I arrived at the show, and I saw the other quilts. They were amazing. I wasn’t sure my quilt would keep going. I saw that one quilt was from two women that are very prominent in the quilting world. Their work is amazing. When they announced my name as the winner, I was laughing and crying at the same time. I said, ‘Oh, that’s me!’” recalls Porter. Winning made her feel validated.
Porter’s first-place entry is entitled “Shimmering Symphony.” Her design shows a large treble clef symbol and a piano keyboard gracefully arching over the quilt, adorned with notes, musical symbols, a violin, and a guitar. The theme was one she could relate to because she loves music.
Porter says she kept a simple color schemeСblack, white, and deep redСbecause it’s “classy like a piano.” She designed the quilt to reflect her love of the piano, guitar, and violin because she plays the piano and used to play the violin and viola in school. She and her best friend, Whitney, enjoy creating music together.
“Whitney sings, and I play the guitar or the ukulele, both of which I just started playing,” says Porter.
In fact, Whitney was the catalyst for Porter to enter the quilt contest. She heard about it online, and suggested it to Porter.
Whitney is a hobby quilter, while Porter describes herself as a “competitive quilter.” Porter has been quilting for four years. She was introduced to quilting from her mother and grandmother. They quilted on big frames extending through their whole family room, and Porter has advanced with the art form into machine quilting.