Quilting bees have gone high-tech.
The traditional art form is finding tremendous growth through online communities and Internet programming.
Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims, two of the most recognized names in the field, are at the forefront of the revolution. The duo are co-hosts of "The Quilt Show," a quilting program filmed before a live audience and shown exclusively online. The show's Web site, www.thequiltshow.com, features an interactive online magazine, blogs, forums, slideshows, classrooms and a gallery of images from its loyal members.
"The technology we are using wasn't even available six months prior to the launch," Anderson said.
With just under 30,000 members, the quilting site proves that the Internet isn't just for the younger crowd.
"We are reaching quilters worldwide," said Anderson, who is known by television viewers as the host of HGTV's "Simply Quilts."
The "Ricky Tims Super Quilt Seminar" tour will take over the Glens Falls Civic Center Thursday through Saturday. The event will bring hundreds of quilters from the region together for three days of lessons and networking. Tims, Anderson and Libby Lehman, who is well-known in quilting circles, will instruct the sessions.
For Anderson, the live seminar is a way to spread the word about quilting.
"We fly around the country and do four of these a year," Anderson said. "It's all done on gigantic screens with Powerpoint and a live-feed camera."
The tour is just a small part of the quilting reformation. Anderson credits Tims with being a leader in the industry.
"Ricky came up with this. It's his branchild. He is a visionary," she said.
The Internet does more than just provide a delivery method for the content, it shapes it.
"The programming and the shows themselves are superior to what could have been delivered on network television," Anderson said.
And unlike working for a TV network, Anderson and Tims are able to call the shots.
"On the Internet, we own it," she said.
Anderson describes herself as more of a traditionalist, and Tims is known for being more artistic. Although it's an odd pairing, Anderson believes the chemistry works.
"I am becoming more liberated, and he is becoming more controlled," she said. "Never in the industry have two people paired up like we have."
By: Doug Gruse (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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