Facets on Fire: The Gemstone Quilts of MJ Kinman MJ Kinman likes to tell people that she makes the biggest gemstones in the world, but instead of using the hardest substances on earth, she fashions her gems from the softest – cloth. The adventure started 30 years ago when an image of a gorgeous gem captured her imagination. As a new quiltmaker, she was unsure of how to transform that image into a quilt, but she knew there had to be a way. She began searching for the right techniques and, after seven years of research and experimentation, made her first gem. Her series entitled “Bourbon Diamonds” celebrates Kentucky’s favorite spirit. Her work pays tribute to iconic distilleries such as Maker’s Mark, Old Pogue, Buffalo Trace, Willett, and Old Forester, as well as wonderful new bourbon makers like Angel’s Envy. Wishing to understand more about bourbon, she was certified as an Executive Bourbon Steward by the Stave & Thief Society in 2017. She has enjoyed introducing new audiences around the US and Canada to Kentucky’s most popular export through her work. Her newest series entitled “National Treasures” celebrates the gems included in the National Gem Collection at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. The first two pieces of which are being exhibited for the first time at this exhibition. These works were inspired by the cognac-colored Victoria-Transvaal Diamond and one of the Museum’s newest acquisitions, the incomparable Whitney Flame Topaz. The Whitney Flame Topaz was donated in 2018 by long-time friend of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History Museum, Dr. Coralyn Wright Whitney. As a member of the Women’s Jewelry Association since 2017, she was invited to exhibit her work at the WJA’s annual Awards for Excellence Gala in New York City (2017). Also in 2017, She received an invitation from Maker’s Mark COO Rob Samuels to create a piece that is now part of their permanent art collection and hangs in Cellar 46 at the Loretto, Kentucky distillery. Her gems have been featured in print and online publications such as Quilting Arts Magazine, McCall’s Quilting, Quiltfolk, Les Nouvelles: Patchwork et Creation Textiles (France Patchwork), Patchwork Professional (Germany), World Diamond Magazine, and both the Southern Jewelry News and Mid-America Jewelry News. Her first book with C&T Publishing, Gemstone Quilts, was published in October 2020. It features the gorgeous gems of international colored gem dealers (and her friends and fellow bourbon lovers) Laurie and Simon Watt of Mayer & Watt.