Road to California had several special exhibits and the array of quilts in Sisterhood of Scraps reminded me of what the great architect Mies van der Rohe so exquisitely said: More is More. Oh wait, did he say Less is More? But I do know he did say “God is in the details,” and boy, do these scrappy quilts have some details. Enjoy.
And my favorite:
Right after this I walked up the aisle and purchased a big stack of 5″ charm squares of shirting fabrics, inspired by this quilt. If Primitive Gatherings had stocked orange 5″ squares, I would have bought them, too. Now if I could only find them, but our house is a bit of a disaster, as we had five painters here for two weeks, scraping icky popcorn texture off our ceilings, and repainting nearly everything that didn’t move.
First they spray the ceiling with water, let it soak in, then start scraping. Let it dry overnight, then “mud” or spackle all the divots, then spray on a light texture (I would have liked flat ceilings but that cost more). I tried to sew in the kitchen the first week, but by Day 3, when I could draw a heart on the top of my Featherweight Sewing Machine case, I knew it was time to give up that idea. So I gathered up some hand-sewing and retreated to the garden, even though it was 65 degrees outside. The lower left photo shows the progression of the mess in the front/living room by the end, and the the last photo on Day 11 shows them spraying my sewing desk in my bedroom, which by now looks a lot like the living room: a disaster. My painter brought in a house cleaner for that last day, when they finished everything and took away all the plastic; I helped her get the initial cleaning finished, but I can tell I’ll be doing a lot more of it, as scraping the ceilings brings a LOT of dust.
This is currently the sewing room. Right.
I have to the let the paint cure for two weeks before I can put things on shelves, and of course, it’s appalling to see your fabric collection All At Once and in Boxes, so it become apparent that there will be some culling of the collection going on as I put things away. I plan to be fully finished before we start on our kitchen remodel.
Oh, just kidding.
Here’s your Valentine’s Day gift for today, found*here.*
It’s here! It’s here! Road to California is finally here! Or was there…because I’m writing about this event and it’s in the past, as is typical with reporting on news. The bag this year was cute, using the Best of Show winner Janet Stone’s quilt from 2019–and it was sturdy as well as colorful (hooray for none of those cheesy faux fabric bags from years of yore), and has the ever-popular aqua-blue trim. But enough on Road Fashion, and on to my experience at Road.
Simultaneously, my friend Leisa was headed to the hospital as her cancer had progressed rapidly and she was in for a wild ride. I wrote about it on IG, and was grateful for Jen Kingwell’s kindness to me during a very stressful two days. So if I look a bit wiped out in the photo above, it’s because I’d been crying on and off for two days. All I have to say is if you are going through crisis, be sure you’re with Jen and her comforting brand of patchwork. And the class–so wonderful, and so fun to be surrounded with like-minded soon-to-be friends, all doing patchwork. It was mostly a hand-sewing class, but because my distraction level was sort of high, I did sneak out my little sewing machine and piece mine. I need to make up a few more and make a small wall-hanging; such fun designs!
But happy news was that Afton of QuiltingMod had decided that if half of the Gridster Bee quilters (photos below) were coming to Road, she wanted to come too. So she roomed at my house, and rode back and forth with me for three days — a great companion and fun to be with. She took the photo, above. Because she’s a youngster (under 45), she was able to take part in a research project about younger quilters, and luckily her interview room had a great view of the retail booths in the large exhibit hall.
I found Ladybird first. I’d received a congratulatory note the night before from a friend about winning, but as we like to say in our house, I may have gotten the sign, but the neighoring quilt got the ribbon and the money. By the end of the week, she had the sign, too, but it was fun while it lasted. I was in there Thursday at lunch to try and find my three quilts in the Road Showcase.
They had a new set-up this year at Road, and while there were a few lighting problems, overall I’m a big fan. The quilting really pops, and we could lean in a bit closer to the quilts to see detail. They had music going on (from a vendor selling harp and keyboard music) and while by the end I was wishing for some light jazz, that tunes weren’t too bad either. The only complaint from everyone was how cold it was, but that’s not anything the Road people had control over (they were renovating parts of the Convention Center, so I chalk it up to that). Boy, you are getting ALL the details. Sorry.
Cute signs showing the “streets” of this neighborhood, and that first time a contestant (that’s what we’re called) head into the room, they are sort of frantic about “Where’s my quilts?” So I’m photographing this sign above, asking the White Glove Lady how to make sense of it, and I turn around to see this:
I went looking for Simone‘s quilt that Kelley quilted–it was just down the “street” from Ladybird, so easy to find.
When class was out, I went to see some of the vendor mall, as the crush dies down mid-afternoon. There were lots of fun things to see and to buy.
And I had one more quilt to find: Azulejos, my newest quilt, all the way at the end of the Atrium. Close-up, below left. (More on that in an upcoming post.)
One of the fun things was the meet-ups of the Gridsters. Clockwise, from above left:
Jennifer (local) and Carol (Boston)
Afton (New Mexico) at In-N-Out Burger (I made sure she tried our Southern California burger)
Lower row: Lisa (Utah), Kelley (Palm Springs), Afton (NM), Simone (local);
Back row: Me (local), Carol (Boston)–all of us at our traditionl Mexican place we dine at every year.
I also saw Janice (in class with me), and we had a group picture of others, also at El Torito on Friday night:
Others at our dinner were Kim, Lori, Betty (Utah), then Carol’s daughter Hayley and her granddaughter, Maddy, who was very shy. Laurel (next to Carol on the left) is also one of our regular “Roadies.”
Many of us then headed over to Jenny on the Road, an evening presentation with Jenny Doan. We went two years ago, but this year we were handed some swag: a tote bag, a T-shirt, and some fun notions. It was a nice evening, but after being on the go for a few days, I was ready to head home and crash. Afton kept me entertained, and kept me awake, and I was glad she’d come to Road.
I’ve posted numerous quilts that were in the Showcase on Instagram @occasionalpiecequilt and used the hashtags #road2ca2020 and #roadtocalifornia2020.
Next post: Road to California, Part II
Last post: Road to California, Part III
Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593) was an Italian painter best known for creating imaginative portrait heads made entirely of such objects as fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish, and books. He painted representations of these objects on the canvas, arranging them in such a way that collection of objects formed a recognizable likeness of the portrait subject. (found online)
I had my own turn at playing Arcimboldo this past Monday at Road to California, in a collage class taught by Laura Heine.
We arrived at the hotel ballroom, purchased our kits, and started fusing fabric to Steam a Seam 2. But of course, only one iron worked. Soon, Laura had rustled up irons from ballrooms that were vacant, so we were in business.
Then we started cutting and cutting and cutting. After lunch she showed us how to start laying out our cut pieces using the pattern shape to help keep us organized. It was a challenge. It made me think of Arcimboldo, but I also remembered when I was a teenager in Lima, Peru and the only way we could decorate our walls (big posters hadn’t really been invented yet, for teenagers’ rooms) was to lay out cut out pieces from fashion magazines onto a piece of newspaper, and carefully cover the newsprint to create some sort of art, one piece at a time. My sister, Christine, excelled at this, but soon all four of us were creating collages, guided by her teaching.
Here are two more collages that my husband and I glimpsed in a store window in the Ginza area of Tokyo a couple of years ago.
Here it is, from the side.
Slowly, the bears around the classroom started to take shape.
This is Arcimboldo’s portrait titled “Flora,” a lovely lady made all of flowers…just like I was trying to do with my bear in a classroom at Road to California.
His Four Seasons are some of his more well-known works; above is Winter. I kept thinking of the version I’d seen in more recent memory: a giant sculpture in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Arcimboldo in 3D, rendered by Philip Hass in pigmented and painted fiberglass.
And here is my bear. Arcimboldo would be proud of me. However, I still have the backgrounds to do.
Here’s the class sample. It is evident I have a lot of work to do yet, but Heine’s artful versions of fabric collage are much more inticing that stacks of vegetables, or retail items. It was a good but busy day; Heine was a lovely teacher who encourages her students onward.
Monday marked the official opening of Road to California 2020. I have two Jen Kingwell classes (Wednesday and Thursday) and Thursday is the day that the show opens, and I’ll be able to finally glimpse my three quilts hanging in the show this year! Then Friday is the night I get to hear Jenny Doan in an evening lecture. Lisa and three friends are coming in from Utah, Afton is arriving tomorrow from New Mexico, and I’ll get to meet up with lots of new and returning friends from around the area.
I’ll be speaking and giving a workshop locally, at the Citrus Belt Quilters Guild. The lecture, titled Abecedary of Quilts, will be on Friday morning, October 25th. The Workshop, which is a Two-for-One class (Home, Sweet Home and Merrion Square) will be Thursday, October 24th. This is my last local presentation, and the last for this year; I’m excited to meet all the quilters at the Citrus Belt Guild!
Now on to PIQF: Pacific International Quilt Festival. I’d been reading Gillian Travis’ blog for some time, enjoying her small quilts, generated from her photographs from her travels abroad. When Susan took her class at Road, and recommended it, I wrote to Gillian, asking if she ever taught in the States (she’s British). Why yes, she replied. I’m teaching at PIQF. I hopped on the computer and registered for her class.
One of the first quilts she showed us in class, was the one above, based on a visit to Burano, Italy. I had similar photos, and was really excited to make this (the above is a composite of several photos).
Gillian provided patterns for us to work on smaller versions of Burano, or smaller version of a Yorkshire Village. I chose Burano, and above you see my progression from tracing to placing to fusing down. I got so far as to fuse it to my background (the blue in the upper left corner), and right now, it’s still folded up in my bag, still unpacked. I’m looking forward to unfurling it and getting back to work on it. We pinned our class’ versions up on the wall:
Some even got to making the white frames around the windows.
I really enjoyed this class, and was happy to move from there, to her lecture that night, where we enjoyed more visions of her work and her stories. My friend Leisa and I also attended two more evening events: David Taylor’s lecture on Wednesday night, and the Fashion Show of Creative Garments on Friday night (photos are up on IG), which we both really enjoyed (especially the narration by Rachel Clark).
Leisa (L) and Tracy (R): we went around on Thursday and looked at the show together. And how about that PINK ribbon, behind their heads. Now there’s one I could covet.
Here’s the one that everyone wants: a blue ribbon.
And Tracy won this for her quilt Sew She Did, which she designed, pieced and quilted. Congratulations, Tracy!
A closeup of one of the blocks.
On Saturday morning, I went and said good-bye to my two quilts that were in the show. Annularity (above) was in a nice placing, all by itself in good lighting.
Ladybird (above) also was placed well, with okay lighting. I talked to one woman who gave me a full (and lovely) critique of what was going on in my quilt. It was nice to talk shop with a complete stranger. I also saw (and got a photo with) Roberta Horton, who really launched me from beginning quilter to serious quilter. I’d taken classes with her at Houston, and I was a complete fangirl when meeting her.
As someone who has traveled to Houston, QuiltCon, Road to California, Palm Springs, and Virginia shows, the last two Mancuso Brothers shows, as well as to Long Beach, I have to say that some venues have real difficulty with lighting (all the Mancuso shows and the Long Beach). The entire show felt like it was in a greenish cast, and not nearly bright enough. My husband told me he could see it in the photos I posted on Instagram. That first night, halfway through, everything all of a sudden went brighter, and I realized they hadn’t “warmed up” the lights. So none of the photos I took at the beginning are any good.
One of my quilt heroines, Tanya Brown, whose work I have followed for many years, had Cranky Claus hanging in the show, along with Life Nouveau, but they were horribly placed. She gets into Houston every time, so I was suprised where they’d hung her quilts. It made me belive that maybe the organizers/hangers didn’t know who she was? My friend Lisa has helped hang Road to California for several years, and I know the effort that show goes to in displaying each quilt to its best. Their lighting is very good, as well.
The other issue I had was that some quilts got hung that shouldn’t have been: poorly designed, poorly made, odd choice of materials or subject. When speaking with one of the Mancusos, I asked how many quilts were submitted: “Roughly 450.” How many quilts are accepted? “Those that meet our standards.” (evasive) I pressed on, asking, How many quilts are rejected? “2-5%.” So then you hang nearly everything. He mumbled something about that standards business again, but I had my answer. I did smile when I saw that their webpage listing their award winners didn’t use the photographs from their contest venue. (I saw most all of these.)
I decided I would focus on the fact that my quilts hung in the same show as Tanya Brown and Tracy Cox, rather than my quilts hung in the same show as the fleece-lamé-fur-shells beginner’s quilt, above. I was there once, at the place where this quilter was, and for many years, every entry of mine into quilt shows was rejected. I appreciate it when the judges a) limit the number of entries, and b) jury the quilts into the show. It appears that this year at PIQF there was very little jurying going on, which makes for an uneven show quality.
Last Whine: when are these older shows going to come into the modern age and put Instagram names on the placards? QuiltCon has done this for years, and it makes it easy to tag people when posting. Okay, on to the fun.
One highlight was going to the show Friday late afternoon when everyone had cleared out. We had the vendors to ourselves, and got to spend some time talking with Edyta Sitar and her husband. We may have purchased the pre-cut kit to make Tannenbaum, but also vowed not to pressure ourselves to get it done for 2019.
We also participated in the Bernina giveaways, the vendor mall (where I saw some old favorite booths — hi Cecile!), and met and chatted with new quilters. We enjoyed the evening lectures/fashion show and came away with new projects to sew, as well as good memories. I need to go and unpack and sort and pre-wash my bright tangerines and indigo blues (I was on the hunt for these fabrics) and decide what to do with my length of kantha fabric, but I wanted to get a post up quickly, while it’s still fresh in my mind.
QuiltCon is so many things: a quilt show, a conference with great speakers and classes, shopping–complete with short demonstrations going on, a chance to meet Famous Quilters, a chance to hang out with friends and people you don’t see much, and most of all, it’s quilts. Lots and lots of quilts. And fabric–did I mention that, too?
I arrived with Leisa Wednesday night in time for the beginning of the conference on Thursday, February 22, 2018. I stayed until Sunday afternoon, about 10 minutes before they rolled up the rug and kicked us all out. It was inspiring, exhausting, stimulating and I had a great time.
Three of my local quilt buddies came with me: Simone, Lisa and Leisa, and we met so many others at different lunches and dinners:
from l: Leisa, me, Mary, Joan (end of table), Cindy, Jenn and Heidi
I was able to see my quilt hanging up Paintbrush Studios’ booth. In the circles above (click to enlarge) it’s evident the booth was busy (center circle), and Deena, Amy Barickman and her mother were so kind and helpful.
I had TOO many classes, and generally I learned something new from almost all of them:
(Click on any circle to enlarge.)
I love the pencil case of my seat-mate in my Boho Embroidery Class. I wonder what Angela would say about that sign (!), and you see the beginning of my printing. Thank you to my daughter for the Amazon Gift Card which became a great squeegee. My umbrella is crying–we need rain!
Famous Quilter had a Craftsy film crew wherever she went and even in our class. I thought the operator of the Steady Cam deserved a photo.
I had was asked by the kind people of Paintbrush Studios to do a demo using their Painter’s Palette Solid fabrics, and since I love those solids, I knew it would be easy to talk about them…
…until I saw that the cozy 20-seat demo space had been replaced by a large screen and 80 chairs. My husband talked me down off the ledge, and Leisa cracked jokes to make me laugh and forget I was terrified.
The first demo was difficult for a variety of reasons, but at the second demo on Sunday morning, I had a great time. Thanks to everyone who came and I hope you were all early enough to get a kit.
Instructions can be found here and here (where you can also right-click to download the instruction card) in case you want the info.
I also have a few samples from QuiltCon that I’m happy to share. Leave a comment below if you’d like to try Painter’s Palette Solids. I’ll pick one winner from the comments. If you are a follower, leave me a second comment stating that, and you’ll have twice as many chances!