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.
As the quilts on exhibit at the Long Beach Convention Center testified, these women are fine artists with cloth.
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.
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.
First prize-winner in the Sky's the Limit exhibit was Martha DeLeonardis (TX) for her quilt, Houston, I Think We Have a Quilter.
Seasonal Shift by Pat Kroth (WI) had a lovely cubist flavor.
Jackie Manley's (NV) Night Sky Over the Outback featured fabrics designed by Australian Aboriginal artists.
Studio Art Quilt Associates, Inc. (www.saqa.com), presented an exhibit of their members' work based on Masters: Art Quilts (Lark Books) by Executive Director, Martha Sielman.
Included in that show was Hollis Chatelain's whole cloth quilt, Blue Men, painted in monochromatic blue dye. Threads in many colors give it additional hues and depth.
Hollis' new project, Imagine Hope is an exhibit that strives to touch its viewers, inspiring them to get involved and make a change in the world. www.imagine-hope.org
Susan Shie and James Acord's quilt, Rainbow Garden, is highly sculptural, with three dimensional stuffed fabric shapes, painted found objects, buttons, embroidery and other embellishments.
The International Quilt Association's 2009 raffle quilt Red Hawk Rising by John Flynn, and quilted by Sue Nickels, combines the look of a traditional quilt with contemporary design elements and superb artisanship.
The exhibit by The 19th Century Patchwork Divas, a group that exchanges blocks made from 1800's reproduction fabrics in an effort to recreate antique quilts, featured quilts like Triple Four Patch by Marilyn Mowry, quilted by Sheri Mecom (TX).
Over 100 classes and lectures were offered. Author Jake Finch gave a trunk show of quilts from her book, Comfort Quilts from the Heart. It included a special "fidget" lap quilt for Alzheimer patients that featured textural fabrics, buttons and ribbons to fiddle with, and memory triggers such as photos printed on fabrics. Her specially designed wheelchair quilt included a special pocket to warm the toes.
More than 450 booths enticed quilters with tools ...
... and new products.
Dianne Springer (www.quiltinacup.com ) has not only figured out how to put a quilt in a cup, clock, and mouse pad, but she just introduced her new quilted folding chair pattern at the Long Beach show.
Carl and Gale Carson of Stitch in Time (www.bystitchintime.com ) import intricately pieced "applique' strips" made by a village tribe outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand. This economically assists the whole village as well as inspires quilters at the shows where the Carsons display their wares.
Some of the fun treasures I brought home included beads, embellishments and hand dyed lace.
Maria and Hilo Tamaoka experienced the worst nightmare of anyone who does shows: their shipment of product never arrived. Luckily they had some samples with them of their Daiwabo taupe fabrics, a unique fabric with a subtle use of color and innovative cloth design that is wildly popular with Japanese quilters, and they made the best of their situation. (www.pinwheels.com )
Young Piecemakers Quilt Guild of Corona CA is comprised of "young people bringing comfort, one quilt at a time." Kids sat at sewing machines in the YPQG booth, stitching up colorful quilts. The organization has given over 100 quilts to kids at the UCLA Medical Center with HIV/Aids since its inception two years ago. (www.ypqg.org )
I just had to try out the new Bernina 830 high performance embroidery and sewing machine, and wished I could have brought one home! (www.berninausa.com ) This is not your grandmother's straight-stitch Singer, it is a seriously cool piece of elaborate, precision machinery. The show special on this stitcher's dream was a deal, at $9,999 - a tidy $2,000 savings over the MSRP.
Maybe I'll be bringing that baby home next year!
The Quilting in America 2006 survey was presented by Quilters Newsletter Magazine (ckMedia) and International Quilt Market and Festival (div. Quilts, Inc.) The surveys have been conducted every three years since 1994 with the intent to measure the
amount of time and money quilters spend on their hobby, and to profile key market segments.
Accessed July 26, 2009.
Quilts, Inc. (www.quilts.com ) is the parent company of three consumer quilt shows. The largest is International Quilt Festival Houston (since 1974), which currently draws more than 53,000 attendees from around the world, and is held every fall. The Chicago edition of this show has been held since 2003, and the Long Beach edition since 2008. Two wholesale Quilt Markets are also held each year: the Houston wholesale show in the fall, and the spring wholesale market which rotates among other U.S. cities. Fifth-generation Texas quilter, Karey Patterson Bresenhan, is founding President of Quilts, Inc., and Director of International Quilt Market, and is currently the mayor of Piney Point, TX.
U.S. population now 300 million and growing. October 17, 2006. click here
Accessed July 26, 2009.
Figures for the exact number of attendees at the Long Beach Quilt Show were not yet available at the time of this publication, but the estimated attendance had been publicized as nearly 20,000.
Rainbow Resource and many other companies will have booths at the following upcoming shows:
Northwest Quilting Expo, Portland, OR, Sept. 24-26, 2009 (www.nwquiltingexpo.com);
Pacific International Quilt Festival, Santa Clara, CA, Oct. 15-19, 2009;
Harvest Quilt Show, Chico, CA, Oct.24-25;
River City Quilt Show, Sacramento, CA, Nov. 19-21 (http://www.rivercityquilters.org),
Road to California, Ontario, CA, Jan.14-17, 2010 (www.road2ca.com).
Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) is a 20-year-old, nonprofit organization. Their 2,400 members from 28 countries are passionate about art quilts and SAQA's mission is to promote the art quilt through exhibitions, publications, education and professional development. SAQA's annual online benefit auction will begin September 10th: 235 small masterpieces will be auctioned off to support SAQA's exhibitions and outreach programs (http://www.SAQA.com).
The Journal Quilt Project : Earth, Water, Air and Fire by Sabrina Zarco (AR): is entitled Viento, Agua, Tierra Fuego, Venga a mi Lado (Wind, Water, Land, Fire, Come to My Side.)