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Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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Fiber Arts Major Wins National Juried Exhibition

%E2%80%9CThe+Best+Medicine%E2%80%9D+by+Amy+Pabst
Cyd Collins
“The Best Medicine” by Amy Pabst

Competing against 200 entries from 84 other artists, Marshall student Amy Pabst won juror’s choice at the 13th Annual National Juried Convention on Thursday, Jan. 11, at the Visual Arts Center. Her entry, titled “The Best Medicine,” was a quilt in many different colors with the phrase “HAHA” tiled throughout and competed against pieces made in various mediums. 

Pabst said she never expected to win an art competition for her quilting because she never considered herself an artist until recently in 2020. 

“In 2019, when someone asked me that,” she said, “I got offended because I thought they didn’t understand me.” 

Pabst also said that her inspiration for “The Best Medicine” was an antique quilt made in 1918. She explained that a mother named Anna Horn crafted it after her son, Albert Horn, enlisted in World War I. 

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“While he was away fighting in the war,” Pabst said, “she was at home stitching their initials over and over and over again as a way to connect with her son who was in a dangerous situation.” 

The accessibility of quilting drew Pabst to the craft when she started learning, and she cited how women throughout history could pick up sewing tools and use that power to craft. 

“You don’t have to have a formal background,” she said, “and you don’t have to be an artist to do that.”

“It’s a quilt. It’s not art,” Pabst went on to say. “The quilt world is easy for me to understand, but the art world is not easy for me to understand because the two worlds don’t follow the same rules.” 

Pabst explained that, as a young woman in rural Appalachia, she experienced many barriers when it came to learning art. 

“Where do you learn painting if you live in the middle of nowhere?” she asked. 

 When Pabst started attending Marshall, though, she was in awe that a school had not just a fiber arts program but an affordable one. Despite being the only fiber arts major, she said all of her fiber arts classes are full. 

“I learn so much from my classmates,” Pabst said. “This Visual Arts Center here at Marshall is one of the most wonderful, happy, thriving ecosystems, and I’m so thankful to be a part of it.” 

Courtney Chapman, the curator for the Visual Arts Center, said that exhibitions like the 13th Annual National Juried Convention are important for the community and local artists being able to showcase their talent. 

“For a while,” Chapman said, “we didn’t have very many gallery spaces formally, and it was hard to get people’s art out there outside of a craft market or anything like that.” 

Chapman also said that seeing students enter and win competitions at the VAC tells her that Marshall and its faculty are doing their job of facilitating artistic opportunities for its students in Appalachia.

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