Saturday, November 01, 2014

Houston 2014

The 2014 International Quilt Festival (aka Houston) is finishing up this weekend.  I flew home yesterday.  It is astronomically expensive to stay there too long.  Plus it coincides with Halloween every year.  My daughter didn't appreciate my absence last year, so this year I came home.  Next year, Halloween is a day later, so who knows.   Really, though, a couple days at the show is plenty. 

I arrived Monday evening.  On Tuesday, I took an all-day class on machine applique with Sue Nickel (surely you know who Sue is...she and her sister Pat Holly have made several award winning quilts).  The class had good content, but really did not leave nearly enough time on the machines to practice.  Heaven knows I don't have time to practice now that I am home, but maybe.

Monday evening was the awards Winner's Circle.  It is a rather elaborate ceremony where each ribbon winner is called to the stage.  If you receive a first or one of the top 8 awards, then your quilt will be revealed around the boundary of the ballroom for people to look at after the ceremony.  I was truly hoping for a nice placement ribbon for the Geisha's Garden.  This is like my favorite quilt right now, and I remember all the thought that went into it's details.  Right off the bat...first award given was the judge's choice and it went to the Geisha's Garden.  It's not entirely what I was hoping for (hoping that this doesn't sound sour), but that is life.  Many enter with hopes of a ribbon and don't get that. We were about 1/3 of the way through the awards, when I realized that my quilt was hanging there though!  This made my day.  I was able to talk to people afterwards, and discuss things I did and why.
The judge Marti Michell gave the award.  She really loved the quilt.  She's a really nice woman; I had a light dinner after the ceremony with her and a couple others.  Sad though, is that she told me that it would have taken a high award in its category but the "judges" thought that the white was too white.  WTF?!?  it is a creamy ivory and in all honesty, I can't imagine it any other color.   Gracious for the award?...yes.  But that doesn't change the fact that I think this particular quilt show is overly, if not excessively obsessed with things that don't pertain to the quality of the quilt's construction.  I received that type comment last year and it is, plain and simple, wrong.  Winners should  be chosen because they are technically more correctly made.  Rant done, for now.
The next evening was the preview.  It was nice to see quilts without it being overly crowded.  I spent most of my time standing near each of my quilts talking to the many people.  Some knew me from seeing other quilts at AQS shows, while I got to meet many that know and read my blog.  That is cool because some days I feel like I have about three readers!  Thanks!!
This is my other quilt at the show - Autumn's Surrender.  It is in the Merit Machine category.   It is only one of a couple pieced quilts in this "sea of white wholecloths" category!  It won a 3rd place. Seriously, IQF, the ribbons shouldn't be so small.  This is Houston, afterall.  Make us feel like we won a ribbon in the most prestigious quilt show in the world.  They just love to taunt and mock AQS with the fact that their winners get to "keep their quilts", but do they realize that a 3rd at any AQS show wins a mere $750 (more than twice my 3rd place award) and a big ribbon, the same size as the 1st and 2nd.

This year marks IQF's 40th annivarsary - they are calling the show the Ruby Jubilee.  They have copied the red and white exhibit that was in NY a few years ago.  This display of modern-day red and white quilts is very cool.  Beside it is an exhibit of miniature red and whites.  It's a beautiful exhibit, very appropriate.
Houston is seriously the largest quilt show out there.  There are 350 competition quilts and about 3-4 times that in exhibits.  I stumbled upon this quilt...It's not so pretty or anything.  It was in an exhibition of solids quilts made from the American Made brand of fabric.  Last year I participated, and sent in the Maine license plate (middle row)...
 Here's a closeup...Cool to see all plates assembed together.
 While I do have WAY too many pictures to post here, I will try to show some of what was here.  Most of these are from the competition.  I think that these are from the abstract wall (?) category.  Seriously, there are WAY too many abstract, and animal and whimsical type categories to keep track of them.  What was interesting was one, the variety, but two, that sun quilt is made from something like 1000 1" circles, fused to the background - only 8 shades of orange and red to make that.
This quilt was made by one of last year's winners.  Honestly, their's all look very similar...Asian kids and that same dog, but what is most cool are the bubbles.
 Look closely at the bubble...all raw edge fused (and you do know how I feel about raw-edge!), but check out the colors used to make them so life-like.  Very cool.
 This quilt of mine hung at one end of the row.  It was a nice spot.
 Here's a peek at some from the hand-made category.  Do you sense a Japanese influence??!  Their handwork is amazing.  Lots of taupe.
 Some animals...
IMHO, this was the best animal quilt, but it didn't ribbon at all.  It is by Ferret, if you know who she is.  It is wonderful.  Sadly, it did seem to be a trend that great quilts went unadorned, and others that make you furrow your brow received very top awards.  Overall, the top award-winners seemed better chosen this year as compared to last year, but there were still some that made you go "huh".  Ferret's wolf is amazing.
This next quilt took a top $5000 award.
My friend Andrea had 2 quilts in the show...both very beautiful and well constructed.  She did not get a ribbon on either.  Point proven.  It just makes you wonder what the judges (and they are all non-NQA certified) are truly looking for.  Her hand painted, then appliqued silk flowers are exquisite.
Here's a glimpse at the Innovative piecing category.  I do like the double wedding ring a lot.  It has me thinking about taking this quilt off of my bucket list.
 Innovative applique... "Hurricane" (below) is awesome and I think it was 1st place.
This is the Best of Show.  It is probably not what you were expecting to see...It's by Nancy Prince, quilted by Linda French.  Nancy said it had 75000 yards of thread in the figures.  They are thread-painted, and then added to the background.  The detail she put into the people/animals was really amazing.

Here's another interesting exhibit...there were over 2000 star blocks collected in honor of an astronaut/quilter Karen Nyberg, who was on the space station.  They were put together into a sea of quilts - over 20-25 probably!
Here are a few from the Frances Benton exhibit.  She passed away a few years ago, leaving more than a dozen applique tops to IQA.  This year they got several finished.
I did the middle one on this row.  They didn't block the silly quilt, so it is hangs kind of wonky.  Oh well!  You can look back to sometime like May or June of this year for my closeups.
I flew home on Halloween so I could take my three little gouls trick-or-treating.  It is definitely back to the real world...trying to prioritize the quilts to be done.  I have several Christmas deliveries to get quilting on, as well as actually getting my own 2015 show quilts DONE.


Vicki W said...

I find the comments about your quilt very puzzling. I think if the cream was darker that the quilt would look very flat. It needs that value change......but I'm not a qualified judge so what do I know! I appreciate the rest of your comments too. I often have trouble
E figuring out how one quilt got a ribbon and another didn't. I also think that quilt shows, like all other businesses, get into habits about what to display, how to display and what deserves merit. It's easier to go with what's worked and avoid changing things up.

Busy Quilting said...

Thanks for your insight into Houston. In every show there will always be quilts that bring on the "What were they thinking" questions. Maybe Houston is becoming a Quilt Show not a Quilting Show.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for having the courage to say what a lot of us are thinking

Jane said...

I agree with your comments, the white issue is so silly!!! If they don't like certain colours in quilts, then let everyone know so you can win :) I agree with the why did that win statement. I live in Queensland, Australia and we have one quilt show a year. They have one category for art quilts called pictorial.... so if your quilt isn't pictorial your screwed!! they culled two categories, so no options. The ones that won are really quite bad and it just doesn't help me to want to enter ever again. Have a look and see what you think

That's my rant over :) love your quilts and your blog :)

Cheryl said...

Thank you for all the photos from the show. I was Miss PA in the AMB quilt and I could see it in your photo of the license plate quilt. It was nice to see all the locks together. I was wondering about the BOS. It looked like Applique from the photos I have seen and to say the least I am disappointed. I saw the red and white exhibit in NYC, and the exhibit in Houston looked like a fantastic reproduction.
Halloween is definitely a holiday to spend with your kids.
Congrats on your award.

Rebecca Grace said...

Ah, Margaret -- you know you have more than 3 readers!! :-) Just remember that Monet was turned down by the Paris Art Salon "judges" in his day. It's art, after all, and art is subjective. Your work is spectacular, and I'm glad you got some recognition for that.

Eastern Market Sewer said...

A group of from my guild went to the show last week. Several of us had quilts in the Fiber Beatles exhibit. We too were mystified by the choices for many of the winners. Some one said that they were chosen from photos. Don't know if that is the case, but it might offer an explanation. It was my first time, and I'm so happy I went. There were so many spectacular quilts.

Diane E W said...

I bet you have far more readers than three, some of us read better than we can write. LOL! Love your review on the show. I get so tired of every one saying how wonderful each and every show is, when I'm scratching my head saying "What??" Did we go to the same show?" I don't agree with the judges comment, either.