Sunday, December 28, 2014

Quilt Exhibits and QR Codes

Currently, the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles has two Amish-related exhibits. The display of antique Ohio Amish quilts runs into March 2015 but the Modern Amish closes January 3. That's the end of this week! Three Bay Area Modern guilds interpreted Amish for this show. I hope you see them both as they are a very interesting juxtaposition.

One of my challenges this past year was to co-chair an exhibit for CQFA (California Quilt and Fiber Artists.) Primal Green II is on display at the Wallace Stegner Environmental Center located on the 5th floor of the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library through April 25, 2015.

Lighted sign at the entrance of the Wallace Stegner Environmental Center, SFPL Main Branch
Sign for Primal Green II exhibit
This sign at the exhibit entrance includes detail views of works by Dolores Miller, Reva Bailey, Diane Carver, Jennifer Landau, Caroline Ogg and Virginia Schnalle. The twenty artists who participated use techniques including silk painting, weaving, felting, paper piecing, stamping, dyeing and applique to create their art.

We included QR codes with the displays. These versatile bits of code link to text, video or audio files - basically anything that can be put on the web. Smartphone apps read the QR code and send you to the referenced site. Most are used as an advertising or merchandising tool but we simply wanted to enhance viewer knowledge and interest. So we created audio files discussing how or why we made a piece.

While some companies create QR codes for a fee, freeware exists to generate your own. One of our members wrote a short program to create ours. I think the main difference is where your file is hosted. If you already have a website, it seems simpler to keep it there. Commercial companies place it on their site.

Despite being incredibly enthused, each of us was hesitant to actually record. What would we say? How long could/should it be? Why didn't some famous actress come sweeping in to do the recordings? And a scriptwriter! Ok, the last two are pipe dreams but we were extremely self-conscious about our own abilities. It took several attempts to record without hesitation. Writing a script definitely trumps ad lib.
Audio explanation of the inspiration for the quilt, A Daisy a Day.
QR Code for A Daisy a Day. It links to an audio file explaining my inspiration for this quilt.

This QR code links to my audio file for A Daisy a Day, the first quilt on this blog. I posted the code here to encourage other quilters and quilt shows to use this technology. It takes bravery to start a blog. What unique things do you have to show or say? Would anyone take the time to read it? However, it takes a whole new level of courage to publish your voice. If we can do this, so can you!

The are many inventive ways to use QR codes. Upload a bedtime story and print the QR code on the quilt label for your grandchildren to hear every evening. Relate family history, reminisce about a special event or make a prediction about the future. What would you share with your family and friends?

Linking up with Lorna's Let's Bee Social.

Enjoy the day,


  1. That is an astonishing achievement Ann - Congratulations! Using the codes for a show is brilliant and I particularly love your idea for adding a QR code on a quilt label. Wow! Wow! Wow! Makes me want to get a smartphone.

  2. Congratulations Ann - looks to have been an amazing exhibition. I have always been wary of codes but must now try and embrace a little more technology after reading your post!

  3. Wow! Love your Daisy a Day quilt! Wonderful work. Very interesting idea to apply the QR codes to a quilt show too. I still don't have a smart phone, but I know others use theirs for everything! I think you are spot on about having to have courage to use our voices. That's very, very personal.:)

    1. Some of our members don't have smartphones but it seemed like a way to draw visitors and non-quilters in... a new way to reach out. I don't know if we're counting the "hits" but it would be interesting to have some data on how successful this is.

  4. Trying something new is kinda scary. Glad to hear you learned something new and it all turned out successfully! Looking forward to what is to come in 2015! Happy New Year!

  5. I am so happy to hear that there are shows using QR codes. At a national show last year, I was tired of carrying around the (rather large) show book just to look up individual quilt information, and said then that QR codes would be super helpful in streamlining the process. Many, if not most, people had their phones in their hands anyway to take photos. I love that you have implemented this!

    1. We thought enough people had smart phones that this would be an interesting experiment for a show with 35 quilts. Now I'd like my larger guild to implement this at our show of 200+ quilts. What would you like to see when you click a QR code? Background info? Size? Where it's for sale? We had a bit of all of these depending on what people chose to record. I'm very interesting in your opinion because there's so many ways they could be used. Thanks.

  6. I have not come across QR codes,but what a great idea. I love that they are so versatile and would love to see them used more widely.


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