03 Jul

Visiting Quilt Hawai’i 2011

Last year I attended Quilt Hawai’i on the Big Island and became a certified Threadologist. I’m not a big class-taker, so this year I did not attend. But, I went Saturday to see the small exhibit of quilts and to check out the vendors.

There were a few quilts from local makers and artists (I never quite got my act together to send something, and I suspect many others had the same problem). I took a few pictures with my phone for the sake of conversation; please forgive their poor quality.

This first one was my son’s favorite. I like that the figure is well drawn (poorly drawn figures are a pet peeve of mine), the quilting is done skillfully, and I’m intrigued by the series (people texting at the mall). But I’m not wild about the way the dense quilting distorts the fabric and I’m not really sure why it’s a quilt and not a big sketch. I think that’s just my own personal preference though, and not a reflection on the quiltmaker.

“Texting at the Food Court” by Kathleen Kastles

The Japanese quilters have embraced Hawaiian quilting. I love how they are not hampered by tradition either. They use fabrics and play with designs in ways traditional Hawaiian quilters wouldn’t dare. It seems to be popular amongst many Japanese quiltmakers to use radially dyed fabrics. I think Meg Maeda is the frontrunner of this. Here’s some better photos of Meg’s work. I’ve been crushing on this fabric since first seeing Meg’s and her students’ work at last year’s Quilt Hawaii, so I enjoyed seeing more quilts made with it this year.

“Tropical Paradise” by Keiko Tsuneyama

This one is by Meg Maeda. I like the muted tertiary colors. No radial fabric for sale at her vendor table though.

“Wind and Lights of North Shore” by Meg Maeda

Another trend (or perhaps just a something a particular group has been working on recently) is using fabric that’s been “sun Printed” with foliage that may relate to the overall Hawaiian design. I was drawn to the colors of this one and the unusual shadow detail, but the painted fabric adds an interesting bit of visual texture.

“Golden Beehive Ginger” by Harumi Kanayama

This one may also have sun painted fabric, but I liked the unusual design of whales and voyaging canoes. Overall, these quilts had beautiful, precise, hand quilting that I just love. I don;t do much of it myself, but I definitely appreciate it when others do a fine job of their stitching.

“Great Navigation” by Mayumi Kakunaka

In the end though, my favorite wasn’t a strictly Hawaiian quilt, but this one with glowing fireflies. There was a little bit of everything for me here: hawaiian style foliage, random fireflies, delicate embroidery on the flowers, unexpected quilting pattern, and skillful execution. This is the one that spoke most to me.

“HoTaRu in Moonlight” by Miyuki Humphries

While at the show, I also had a chance (much to my son’s chagrin) to schmooze a bit with some friends and vendors, to include Karen from Quilt Passions on the Big Island. We’ve been talking for a while now about me going over there to teach or something but I’ve been overcome by life and flakiness. It may finally happen next February though! And, Karen loves the Twelve by Twelve book and would like to carry it in the store. My fingers are crossed that she’s got a supplier that can get it.

The day before going to the show I took part in a show-and-tell at Kuni Island Fabrics with a group of quilters from Japan who are here for Quilt Hawaii. I represented art quilters. Also in attendance was Carol Kamaile who is a Hawaiian quilting rock star in my opinion. Every time I see her work, I have the urge to make my own Hawaiian quilt (there are ideas and sketches). After the four locals showed our work, our Japanese guests showed some of theirs. To my delight, they had some lovely little pouches and bags that I love from the Japanese craft magazines. After we oohed and ahhed over their work and pictures in magazines that they’d been published in, they gave us each a collection of fabric and a magazine! I thought maybe I was over my crafting Japanese phase, but now I think it may just have been in hibernation. That maori-inspired purse is looking good to me, and I may have found some radial dyed fabric too.