Art quilter David Taylor works with Jan Smithson on her quilt Wednesday afternoon at The Steamboat Grand. Taylor is leading a workshop with about 25 students from across North America who traveled to Steamboat this week to learn about his signature style.

Photo by John F. Russell

Art quilter David Taylor works with Jan Smithson on her quilt Wednesday afternoon at The Steamboat Grand. Taylor is leading a workshop with about 25 students from across North America who traveled to Steamboat this week to learn about his signature style.

Quilters gather in Steamboat for David Taylor workshop

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Art quilter David Taylor works with Jan Smithson on her quilt Wednesday afternoon at The Steamboat Grand. Taylor is leading a workshop with about 25 students from across North America who traveled to Steamboat this week to learn about his signature style.

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Art quilter Pat West works on her quilt Wednesday afternoon at The Steamboat Grand during a workshop led by internationally known quilter David Taylor. Taylor is leading a workshop with about 25 students from across North America who traveled to Steamboat this week to learn about his signature style.

— The customs agent at the U.S./Canada border just didn’t understand. Why would Barb Virtue drive all the way from Calgary, Alberta, to a summit of quilters in Steamboat Springs?

As she pored over her art quilt depicting a great blue heron Wednesday, Virtue said the small community of devout quilters understands her passion, and this week she’s surrounded by them as they learn from one of the best: Steamboat’s own David Taylor.

“He’s not just a quilter, he’s an artist,” Virtue said.

This week, 25 avid quilters from across the U.S. and Canada are meeting at The Steamboat Grand for a five-day quilting workshop with Taylor, a local resident and world-renowned art quilter.

Taylor said he spends most of his time on the road, showing his work and leading about 10 workshops each year across the country.

“I’m never home in Steamboat, so now I found a way to come home,” Taylor said about the second annual Rocky Mountain Quilting Adventure event.

Not only does Taylor get to teach in his hometown this week, but the students get a glimpse into his work, which they are quick to label as “amazing” and “unbelievable” as they talk about what brought them to Steamboat.

Carol Meade, a quilter from Dallas, said taking Taylor’s workshops this week has given her a fresh point of view.

“That’s what’s great about it, this unique point of view, this unique approach,” Meade said. “It’s a way of looking at your quilting through a different prism.”

Mary Raftery has been quilting for 15 years and considers herself a David Taylor groupie.

“I found quilting was my passion,” she said. “And David’s technique is just enticing.”

She said that under his tutelage, she has completed quilts depicting a coy, a condor and ostriches. This week, she’s working on an owl.

In Taylor’s quilting following, the enthusiasts identify one another by the projects they’re working on, so Raftery would be “the owl from Scottsdale.”

Throughout the week, Taylor leads workshops in his signature intricate hand-applique style, which usually features animals or still-life scenes in vivid realism.

On Wednesday afternoon, he offered the students one-on-one help at their personal tables set up in The Steamboat Grand Ballroom. Students traced large versions of their photographs onto paper and began to divide them into pieces that someday would be made out of fabric. The process takes Taylor three to seven months for an average quilt, so his students won’t be leaving Steamboat with polished, finished products.

But the week is not just about quilting. The group also attends receptions and plans to go to the First Friday Artwalk this week in addition to taking in the Steamboat scenery.

“My concern is that everyone’s having fun,” Taylor said. “It’s all fun for me because I’m living through my students and their projects.”

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com

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