Guest Blogger Month at the Quilting Gallery

My adventure in the world of TV started with a request from Pokey Bolton of Quilting Arts to tape a small segment for Season 3 of Quilting Arts TV.

Pokey and the producers of Quilting Arts TV planned to tape right at the Make It University area of the International Quilt Festival in Chicago. Since I was one of the Open Studio artists demo-ing in that area, it was easy to agree.

The first thing I did was to become so nervous about the whole thing that I gained all my usual 15 pounds of winter fluff all in one month. Once I calmed down, I made appointments for a haircut and a manicure. And went clothes shopping.

The segments at Quilt Festival would be shot with Pokey and her guests seated, so I only had to look good from the waist up. Solid colors always look good on TV, so I went with a pale lilac jacket. It looked kind of plain, so I added pearls. Although it looked nice, this was a mistake as people couldn’t see the jeans and tennis shoes that are the real me. A funky pin would have been a better fit with the show.

Since my segment about paper collage inspiration for art quilts was very short, I had to decide what I wanted to say and the briefest way to say it. I practiced and timed myself repeatedly to make sure I wouldn’t feel rushed.

The big day came and I could watch the other artists being taped while at my Open Studio table. All around us was the hubbub of the Quilt Festival. So when it was my turn, I was ready for the sound guy to run a mike cord under my jacket and ready to focus.

Some of my artwork was displayed behind us and some stacked so Pokey could point out highlights. The producer asked, “What do you have?” I quickly showed Pokey and her the materials and artwork I had brought along. “OK, let’s go.”

If I thought the time went quickly at home, it was nothing compared to under the glare of the lights. I learned that the point of these tapings is to merely give a flavor of the artist and the artwork. The specific details are given on the Quilting Arts TV website. I also quickly learned that you never pick items up off the table where they are displayed as the camera loses focus.

I also learned that Pokey is the perfect TV host. She asks good questions, moves things along, hits the high points and tells the viewers where to find more information. Most importantly, she makes TV neophytes feel good about their first TV appearance!

All of the PBS shows from the three seasons of Quilting Arts TV are available on DVD. There is a PBS station finder on the Quilting Arts TV site to see if Quilting Arts TV is showing on your PBS station. And, of course, the instructions from the artists are there also.

Virginia Spiegel

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Lights, Camera, Action on Quilting Arts TV by Virginia Spiegel