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'A Man and his Machine:' Exhibit showcases John Plutchak's quilts

March 31st, 2014 7:04 pm by Marci Gore

'A Man and his Machine:' Exhibit showcases John Plutchak's quilts

An exhibit of quilts by John Plutchak, who has hand-crafted hundreds of them over the last 20 years, is on display at the Kingsport Renaissance Center through April 24. Photo courtesy of John Plutchak.

John Plutchak began quilting about 20 years ago and estimates that he has made hundreds of quilts during that time.

"I've just always loved working with fibers and fabrics and yarns ever since I was little," Plutchak said.

The Kingsport Renaissance Center is hosting an exhibit of some of Plutchak's quilts. "A Man and his Machine" will be on display through April 24. The exhibit will kick off with an opening reception from 2 to 4 p.m., today.

"This exhibit represents my journey. It shows how I've evolved and grown and improved," Plutchak said. "I've got some really fresh stuff, but I'm also bringing in the third quilt I ever made. I will have some things that show some of the different things I've tried to do. I have some groups of quilts. For example, I've developed a technique for making Cathedral Window Quilts all on the machine. There will be five or six different quilts in that group."

Plutchak says he is not a big fan of quilting patterns.

"I almost never see a pattern I like and make it. I usually see a pattern I like and say oh, I'm going to do this, this, this and this," he said. "I change it. I make it bigger. I make it different. Some of the traditional patterns I like, I take and use non-traditional fabrics."

One example of this, Plutchak says, is his own take on the Cathedral Window Quilt.

"Normally, these are made by taking a natural-colored muslin and using colorful fabrics in the little windows. Instead, I use colorful fabrics in the background and plain fabrics in the windows. I like to change things up in the non-traditional way."

Although this is Plutchak's first solo exhibit, he is no stranger to having his quilts on display. Currently, one of his pieces is a part of an exhibit devoted to quilts made by men at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, Colo.

"Every two years this museum has an exhibit of quilts made by men. This is my fourth exhibit that I've had something hanging there. More men quilt than what you think," he said. "Some people say men are better quilters than women, that they are more precise, mechanically. I don't know that I really agree with that. If you have the talent, you have the talent, man or woman."

Plutchak's exhibit is on display on the second floor Main Gallery of the Renaissance Center, located at 1200 E. Center St.

Admission is free.

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