Journal Quilt by Sabrina Zarco (detail)
If quilting brings to mind a bevy of bespectacled grandmothers in their rocking chairs, a trip to Quilts, Inc.'s Long Beach Quilt Festival (July 23-26, 2009, Long Beach, California) would have recalibrated your perspective. (www.quilts.com )
According to the Quilting in America 2006 survey, the craft is a 3.3 billion dollar industry, with 27 million quilters in the U.S. That's nearly 10 percent of the total U.S. population!
And while it's true that the average "dedicated" quilter is 59 years old, grandma has tossed the pearls and support hose. Her artsy perspective and likely shock of lime green or fuschia hair may take the uninitiated by surprise.
Dollmaker elinor peace bailey (sic) www.epbdolls.net.
As the quilts on exhibit at the Long Beach Convention Center testified, these women are fine artists with cloth.
Lest I be accused of female chauvinism, I must disclose that there are a few guy quilters, including the amazing Ricky Tims (www.rickytims.com), co-host with Alex Anderson of The Quilt Show with Alex and Ricky (www.thequiltshow.com) and the rambunctious Mark Lipinski, known as the "bad boy of quilting", and editor of Quilter's Home magazine (www.quiltershomemag.com )
Mark Lipinski and son on the cover of Quilter's Home magazine.
But the quilting arts are still an area that glows with the creativity and interest of women, as evidenced by the nearly 20,000 women who attended the Long Beach show.
The stunning displays included more than 1200 quilts, wearable art, and textile arts.
Wildly artistic ensembles from the Festival Fashion Show were shown in a live fashion show and also displayed on the floor of the exhibition, with different garments on display each day.
A Walk in the Garden by Debi Kuennen-Baker
Looking "Fur" Bigfoot by Virgie Fisher
The various quilt exhibits included traditional and contemporary quilts.
Constellation Leo by Diane Ricks (CA), in the Sky's the Limit exhibit, is handpainted whole cloth, which was then quilted.