14 Nov

Houston Quilt Festival 2014 (part 2)

I took a lot of photos of quilts that were interesting to me in one way or another. They are not particularly good photos, so part of me feels like I am doing a disservice to the makers of those quilts. On the other hand, I know that those who can’t make it to a particular show often enjoy seeing even a part of it vicariously through those who did go. I know that I’m often that person. So, here’s a completely subjective, not at all cohesive or inclusive, handful of quilts that I enjoyed seeing at the Quilt Festival in Houston.

The big draw is IQF’s annual World of Beauty show. It’s the one with the big prizes and about a million categories. The big prize winners were impressive as always and can be seen on IQF’s website. Overall, I tended to like the second place winners best.

Growth by Maria Elkins
Growth by Maria Elkins. I just loved the ovoid shapes and the way the colors gradate from pastel to jewel and the background from dark grey to white. It’s a refreshing change from the currently popular rainbow method of organizing color. I don’t remember which category this was in.

 

GMOs Gone Wild by Betsy Brandt-Kreutz
GMOs Gone Wild by Betsy Brandt-Kreutz in the Art-Abstract, Small, category attracted me with it’s wild milifiori look. We decided that it was definitely a commitment to a look, and I have to respect that conviction. This may have been in the Embellished category. I like that too — embellished but without the usual glitz.

 

Eight Branchlets by Janet Steadman
Eight Branchlets by Janet Steadman. I think this was in the Art Quilt, small, category. I really liked the crafts(wo)manship on this. Also, it’s just plain lovely.

 

The Messenger by Marlene Shae
I found The Messenger by Marlene Shae in the Whimsical category to be utterly enchanting. I love the somewhat folkloric style of the illustration and the fabric choices. I’d love to see an entire book illustrated with quilts like this.

 

Shared Destiny by Patricia Kennedy-Zafred
Shared Destiny by Patricia Kennedy-Zafred was my favorite in the digital imagery category. There were a few variations on this multiple versions of a single image theme, but I think one was done the best. I appreciate that the ground fabric is patterned and I like the insertion of contrasting fabrics within each image as well as the addition of Flying Geese motifs.

Shared Destiny by Patricia Kennedy-Zafred (detail)
Shared Destiny, detail

 

Towers and Spires by Paula Tanner
Towers and Spires by Paula Tanner used miles of satin stitch in an interesting way. This also may have been in the Embellished category.

Towers and Spires by Paula Tanner (detail)
Towers and Spires, detail

 

Hudson Trader by Coleen Wise
Hudson Trader by Coleen Wise. You can’t go wrong with blue and white. I like how this one seems pretty traditional and basic at first glance, but then you notice the illusion of the spheres and the subtle changes in their size and it just becomes sublime. Well, to me at least.

 

Somewhat, but not too surprisingly, I absolutely loved the exhibit of 500 Traditional Quilts. There was no photography allowed, so I have nothing to share. There is wonderful, inspiring, and varied work in the collection though so I may have to buy the catalog (along with the catalog for the Walsh collection we saw at the Quilt Museum in La Grange).

 

Another special exhibit that is always a favorite of mine is Tactile Architecture.

Rooflines #8 by Colleen Kole
Rooflines #8 by Colleen Kole is to me a perfect combination of quiltiness and implied imagery. It’s also influenced by both the quilts of Gee’s Bend and Nancy Crow/Lisa Call, but too derivative.

 

Rooflines #2 by Colleen Kole
No surprise that her other entry, Rooflines #2, appealed to me too. This one is more derivative of the School of Nancy Crow/Lisa Call, but appropriate and well executed and therefore no less appealing to me.

 

Bedolina Threads by Maggie Vanderweit
And for something completely different, I loved the stitchiness of Bedolina Threads by Maggie Vanderweit.

 

I couldn’t enter Zeitgeist into the World of Beauty show because I paid for it to be long-arm quilted (entries by more than one person must be collaboration — no work for hire), so I submitted it to the Modern Quilt Showcase for another stab at it being seen in Houston. It was rejected, and so I was curious to see what quilts were ultimately chosen. As I suspected, my cat would not have fit in the exhibit because though it might appeal to a “modern” audience, it does not exemplify Modern quilting. I did enjoy seeing what does exemplify the movement though. Two of my favorites:

Entropy by Elisa Albury
Entropy by Elisa Albury

City Center by Angie Henderson
City Center by Angie Henderson

 

The pursuit of Happiness by Robin Felton
The Farm to Table special exhibit was also predominantly Modern in it’s aesthetic. I just loved The Pursuit of Happiness by Robin Felton for it’s bold simplicity and nod to both furrows and flag.

 

Finally, these cheerful mola-style dogs kept jumping out at me from the It’s Raining Cats and Dogs exhibit.

Los Perros de Panama by Kathleen Kennedy-Dennis
Los Perros de Panama by Kathleen Kennedy-Dennis

08 Nov

Houston Quilt Festival 2014 (Part 1)

It’s a little hard to explain or wrap up Quilt Festival. It’s big and overwhelming, and I think it’s different for everyone. The first year I attended, it was mostly about curiosity, and a little bit to thank sponsors for supporting my husband’s IBOL project to get sewing supplies to women in Iraq. I was completely overwhelmed and definitely had the feeling that everyone else knew what was going on and I was clueless. The second time I attended was when Twelve by Twelve, the online quilt challenge group i belonged to, had a special exhibit. I had a home base at the exhibit and a bunch of good friends to experience the show with. It was much more fun and I know I got a lot more out of the experience. This year, I went for three reasons: one, I have a piece in this year’s Dinner@8 special exhibit and I wanted to experience being part of that group of ladies; two, it was a great excuse to visit my bestie Deborah and spend time with her; and three, I’m at a point in my “career” where making contacts is important to moving forward and Houston is a good place for that (though I suspect Market is better than Festival, but I’ll take what I can get).

 

IQF Ruby Jubilee exhibit of red and white quilts

 

2014 is/was Quilts Inc’s 40th Anniversary so they celebrated with a Ruby Jubilee. Overall I was super impressed with the look of the show. I think there was great use of vertical space and an unexpected variety in ways of exhibiting work. As soon as Market opened a week before Festival, it seemed everyone was posting photos of the dramatic vortex of red and white quilts. I was curious as to whether it was part of the Infinite Variety show that had been in New York a few years ago, or not. Info at the show confirmed that this collection was very much inspired by Infinite Variety.

Impressive display of red and white quilts

 

I’m not entirely sure what this photo exhibit was about. It may just have been to fill some space and/or show that quilting is worldwide. What I did like was that it was floor to ceiling. All that use of vertical space broke up the rows and rows of eye level quilts in a nice, and surprisingly unobtrusive way.

IQF Houston 2014

 

The Tristan Boutis was probably the most inspired exhibit I saw. A boutis is a french style of quilting with only two layers stitched together and stuffing in select spots to accentuate the design. This is a reproduction of a historic boutis showing the story of the knight Tristan. I love the way the glowing display highlights the construction of the textile.

Tristan Boutis

 

There were a few other plinths too. As a viewer, it was very engaging to be able to see things at eye level, but also to look up and down and way up.

I was impressed by the variety of ways quilts were exhibited

 

Here’s one side of the Dinner@8 exhibit with my friends Deborah and Sarah discussing the work. The colors story on this wall was gorgeous.

Dinner@8

 

Much fun was had taking selfies in front of my Dinner@8 quilt, Selfie. I was so excited to see “the Donnas” and Cheryl from the Hawaii Quilt guild. Here’s Donna E and I with my quilt.

Houston Donna

 

Deborah and I participated in The Quilt Alliance’s Save Our Stories project and filmed three minute interviews with our quilts. She talked about her piece in the Festival of Art Quilts: Home exhibit and I brought my pop art Zeitgeist to hang just for the interview.

Me and my Zeitgeist

 

Open Studios is a nice place to rest one’s feet and pick up a few tips and tricks. Betty Busby has charmed a big group of ladies with her paintstick on silk technique (and her bubbly personality, of course). I seem to run into Betty everywhere and it’s always a joy.

Houston Betty OS

 

In addition to the exhibits and the Open Studios, Houston is all about the vendors. I am sorry to say that I did not budget my time appropriately (maybe my wallet isn’t so sorry) and I did not get the chance to do any of the shopping I wanted to do. I actually had a list of fabrics and threads to check out. I did stop by Aurifil’s promotional booth and won a few spools at their gaming tables. Good fun — these guys know how to maximize promotion. I also took the opportunity to talk long arm options with a half dozen sewing machine vendors. I’m not ready to invest, but it may be the answer to the project I’m brewing.

Gaming for Thread

 

Of course, the socializing is a big part of the experience, and this year I went with the intention of matching names of people whose work I admire and their real-life selves. Dinner with Deborah, Chawne, and Sarah was so much fun. Not only did we have intelligent and interesting conversation, but we’re compatible on the goofiness scale too. here’s where we see that we all share the ability to roll our tongues.

Houston Silly

 

After Quilt Festival, Deborah and I continued on to La Grange, Texas to the Texas Quilt Museum to see an exhibit from the John Walsh collection. The trip was sooooooooo worth changing my flight and making the detour. John Walsh is the preeminent art quilt collector of the day and I have admired many of the works in his collection. Just about every art quilt I’ve ever looked up to as where I would like to be on my path is owned by John Walsh. It was great to see these pieces in the cloth. Some were surprising in the details and construction that one just can’t tell from a photo. All of them stood up to in person inspection. My favorite was New New York Beauty by Katherine Knauer (a new name and quilt to me), and Deborah’s was Tim Harding’s Surf Swimmers (deft use of simple folded and stitched bits of fabric to evoke water scenes).

Houston TQM

 

 

After the Quilt Museum, we continued on to San Antonio where we watched Deborah’s daughter’s high school band compete. It was quite the spectacle and they won silver in the state championships. All in All I had a fantastic five days in Texas and I definitely look forward to my next fiber art adventure with friends. My next post will be about some of the quilts I saw and liked at the show.

 

26 Jul

Long Beach

This weekend is the International Quilt Fest in Long Beach, CA. Unfortunately, I missed being there by one month, but I encourage anyone else in the area to go see the amazing quilts — to include the Twelve by Twelve exhibit of all our Theme quilts and all our Colorplay quilts. While there won’t be as many actual Twelves at the show as we had in Houston last November, Karen, Gerrie and Terry will be there. Please stop by and say hello!

08 Nov

International Quilt Festival Houston part 1

Yes, this will be a post in several parts — there just IS that much to talk about.

This year was my first time attending THE major quilt show in Houston. It is overwhelming to say the least. The first thing I noticed when we arrived was that everyone else had a plan and knew the routine — except us. However, that soon wore off and we settled in to enjoy the show.

There appears to be two quilt show subcultures as well. One is the people who come to see the quilts and take the classes. They come with a plan and the schedule and know the who what where and when of everything. They’ve decided which day they are going to look at the quilts and which day they are shopping. They ¬†have a plan for going systematically through each aisle, or in which order they will find specific quilts or exhibits. They may even have coordinating bags or headgear. I was not one of these ladies (though having a plan, or even a plan not to have a plan, is definitely recommended).

The other subculture is the vendors, exhibitors, instructors, and lecturers (often one and the same). They may get a chance to see the quilts or to shop, but mostly, they are flitting between their responsibilities at one booth or classroom or another. These are also the people who know each other online, but not necessarily in person, or who only see each other once a year at this quilt show. These are the people who you see grinning, arm in arm, on post-Houston blogs. I’m tangentially one of these people. This was my favorite part of the experience. I really enjoyed meeting people who I had previously only known by their work, or their blog — and learning that yes, they are just as funny and nice in real life as they are online.

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This is what the exhibit side of the show looks like from the windows on the second floor.

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Here’s the vendor area from the floor.

Glennis Dolce

A quick walk past the vendors Wednesday night took us right to Shibori Girl Glennis Dolce. I HAD to buy a few things from her as it is all one of a kind and wonderful. She’s a sweetie too.

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Thursday night we had dinner with my friend Johnnie who was also at Festival. Johnnie and I used to have breakfast together every two weeks with a small group of quilters who enjoy handwork. This was when we both lived in Germany and now Johnnie’s in Texas and I’m in Hawai’i and this is the first time we’ve seen each other in over two years. We both miss the group terribly, so it was wonderful to at least have a small part of it together, even if only for a few hours.

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On Friday, fellow Twelve by Twelver and long time blog friend,¬†Deborah found me. We had great fun checking out our quilts together at the Tactile Architecture exhibit. We had a meeting planned for Saturday, and then pretty much paled around together the whole day. It was fantastic! Even though we’ve only met in person twice, we get along like we’ve known each other for years — which of course we have — through our blogs.

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Deborah knows Judy from previous Quilt Festivals and I know her from her blog. We also went to the same art school though a few years apart. The two of them have pretty much convinced me that I MUST return to Festival next year! If it means spending more time with these two, I’m all for it.

Jane and Zavi

Quilting Arts Magazine sponsors “Make It University” where you can spontaneously take a one hour class typically given by a QA or Cloth Paper Scissors writer and learn a new technique or play with a new product. Here’s my son getting tips on printing with a rubber fish from instructor Jane Davila (who is also an all around cool person and art quilter and author who’s work I’ve been admiring for years).

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Naturally, kids being kids, my two used their rubber fish in a mock battle.

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But here they are very proud of the trading cards they made with acrylic ink wash, stamps, and fish prints. This was a great class for most all ages.

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Katja and I also took a collaged frame class with Michele Muska of Simplicity Creative and her lovely assistant Allison Aller. Later, I discovered that Allie does amazing crazy quilting. Both her quilts won ribbons!

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Katja loved learning how to emboss metal for embellishments.

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One of the highlights was my husband (IBOL Guy) getting to meet with Founder and Director of International Quilt Festival, Karey Bresenhan and not only thank her personally for her support for IBOL 1, but also get a promise of support for IBOL 3 if it happens (which now, it kinda has to, huh?). And yes, Karey and Nancy (I hope I’m remembering the right name) are holding IBOL business cards in the picture.

Tonya Ricucci

The other highlight was meeting blogger Tonya in person and getting a peek at her new book. It’s going to be a great addition to anyone’s library, whether traditional, “liberated,” or art quilter. I posted an awful picture on FaceBook so hopefully this better one redeems me a bit. Tonya is very much the funny, friendly, attractive, woman you’d expect her to be.

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Also, Tonya introduced us to the incomparable Alex Anderson whom I credit for drawing me in to the world of quilting as both art and craft.

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This is what happens in the Husband’s Lounge after a long day at Festival.

I’ll post quilt pictures tomorrow, but for some better ones sooner, check out Susan Brubaker Knapp’s excellent reportage here.