Road to California 2014, part II

There was a great exhibit of quilts from the book I was lucky enough to be in: Amish Quilts, The Adventure Continues.  As always, seeing them in person, beats a flat picture or a digital photograph any day. (How has that changed what we esteem as “good” quilts?  Just something to think about.)  That’s why quilt shows are so valuable as they allow a viewer to fall in love with quilts again.

LucyOceanWaves

Suzanne Keeney Lucy’s Ocean Waves

WeberHipToBeSquare_1

Two views of Michelle Webber’s It’s Hip to Be Square

WeberHipToBeSquare_2

YostenBonner_2

Two views (one to show the quilting) of Reflection of the Times, made by Angela Yosten and quilted by Natalia Bonner

YostenBonner

Likewise there were some quilts from QuiltCon.

FriedlanderLocalQuilt

I took a shot of this one because I love Carolyn Friedlander’s fabrics, but it is true that this quilt is lacking some contrast.  It’s not just the photography.  The title of this one is The Local Quilt.

GeringDeconNinePatch

Deconstructed Nine Patch by Jacquie Gering

HartmanHoneyInSpace

Honey in Space, by Elizabeth Hartman

HarvatineLogPyramids

Log Pyramids, by Liz Harvatine

HeitlandYouRule

You Rule, by Brigitte Heitland

HutchinsonLongConversation

and lastly, A Very Long Conversation, by Rossie Hutchinson.  I was pretty sure I had a photo from Christa Watson’s String of Pearls (using Lizzy House’s fabric–a great design) but it’s too blurry to post, so go *here* to see that fun quilt. . . and her (more on that later).  There were a couple of quilts I was sure I had a photo of, but when I looked at them, I must have been taking them on a fast run past.  Maybe it was because I had too many bags around my shoulders?

charm display quilt

At this point, don’t you think we need a little retail therapy?  This is the little quilt in the charm booth–a way to display those little pins we all love.  This group had figured out how to make earrings out of them, so they had a lot of people crowded around.

Fabricworm Booth

Fabricworm’s first time at Road.  Judging from the crowd at their booth, I think they’ll be back.

floor mat and chair

Loved the chair AND the floor mat.  The floor “rug” looked like just patches with some sort of matte finish brushed over it.

Quilters Who Lunch_Friday

And LUNCH!  From left, Leisa, Lisa, Lisa’s sister-in-law Betty (who came from another state just for Road), me and Simone.  Get your scrolling fingers ready, here come more quilts!

HirthLooseLeafEarl Grey

Janet Dorsey Hirth used lots of different piecing styles in her sampler quilt, titled Loose Leaf Earl Grey.

FMQingRoad

Random snapshot of free-motion quilting

FeitelsonMusicofSpheres

This is a terrible picture of a fabulous quilt, by Ann Feitelson, titled Music of the Spheres.  Google it and you should find a better photo.  It’s really amazing.

FeitelsonBasketWeave

Here’s another Ann Feitelson.  I think she never sleeps.  This one is titled Basket Weave II: See Saw.  There was a lot of math that went into this quilt, judging from her description.  She writes “The titled also refers to seeing and have seen, the way vision shifts in every blink.”

FeitelsonBasketWeave_2

BrunyBlastPast_1

Kim Bruny’s Blast from the Past is so named because all the bright designs and paisley prints remind her of her childhood.  Well, now we know how old she is!  (Kidding, Kim.  It was a terrific quilt.) I have several photos, showing details.

BrunyBlastPast_detail

detail

She used the “tiling” method of creating her top: appliquéing her patches to a single piece of fabric, keeping the pieces an even distance away, so it looks like tiles have been laid down.

BrunyBlastPast_detail2

And in the borders–broderie perse, a technique of using specific cuts of the printed fabric to create the design.

BrunyBlastPast_detail3

I liked this quilting because it wasn’t so dense.  Lately quilters have been quilting their quilts so densely, they could stand up as a room screen by themselves.  This is a nice change.

DelmanMarksburyKartwheels

Sandi Delman’s Kartwheels was started in 2009, and took several raids of her fabric stash to make the rings, arcs, borders and stars.  Kerry Marksbury quilted it.

BirchTequilaSunrise

Eva Birch’s Tequila Sunrise was a more modern quilt with lots of interesting quilting in the negatives spaces.  Even though the photo above looks washed out, the background fabric was deep-toned. Two more detail shots:

BirchTequilaSunrise_3

BirchTequilaSunrise_2

Nancy Rink and I

I spent the better part of Friday afternoon tearing back and forth between the Superior Thread Booth and the booth where my quilter Cathy Kreter was working, talking about threads, designs, colors, etc.  I was successful in choosing a thread, and on the way back, I stopped by Nancy Rink’s booth to show her my quilt (she designed this quilt).  She obliged me with a photo.  Yes, I carried that king-sized quilt top around all afternoon (which may account for some of the blurry photos).

Leisa and I

After a long day (as both Leisa and I woke up too early that morning and couldn’t go back to sleep) my little gang, The Good Heart Quilters, took ourselves to the local El Torito, where ten of us gathered round the table, including Cindy of Live A Colorful Life and Deborah of Simply Miss Luella. (They’ve adopted us Good Heart Quilters.)

Gang Out for Dinner

A few went back home to our town, and those of us who were staying the night gathered together in mine and Leisa’s room, did Show and Tell and talked shop.  I’m not letting those others go home next year, and think we ought to order in some chocolate cake and ice cream for fun.

Hotel View

You’ll hear us Southern Californians complain about our drought (those mountains ought to have WHITE tops, not brown), but you can’t beat waking up to this on a January morning.  We’re in for a doozy this summer in terms of water rationing.  Expect me to come and see you for a shower this summer.  Okay, last batch of quilts.  Here we go.

AdairGiddiness_1

Pat Adair’s Joyful Giddiness used a few of Kim McClean’s patterns to create the appliqué in this quilt.

AdairGiddiness_2

A lovely quilt, as evidenced by the use of color, piecing and quilting (and that blue ribbon!).

AllenAlmostSymmetry_1

Almost Symmetry, by Nicki Allen (quilted by Kathy Gray).

AllenAlmostSymmetry_2

This was made for the EZ Dresden Quilt Challenge, an online challenge sponsored by the Salt Lake Modern Quilt Guild.

BelfordAndromeda

Marilyn Belford used all varieties of fabrics and techniques to create this masterpiece titled Perseus Saving Andromeda.

Belford_detail

That rough water is raw-edge appliquéd, as is most of the quilt.

BergmanFracturedStar

Fractured Star was made by Linda Bergmann and quilted by Debbie Lopez, and is a Karen Stone design.

BianchiGraffitiHeart

So is Susan Bianchi’s Graffiti Heart a quilt? Since she created her design out of beads and buttons on whole cloth?  I remember that controversy came up with Hollis Chatelein first debuted at Houston, with her whole-cloth painted quilts.  (She earned a blue ribbon that year.)  Whatever, this was one of two of these button/bead quilts in the show, fascinating collages utilizing hard surface design.

And now it’s time for the Ugly Quilt Award.  Every year I try to pick the ugliest quilt.  It could miss on overall composition, surface design treatment, overreaching in the skill department (think: Peter Principle), or by the fact that somehow, it was just plain.  And ugly.  A very subjective category, but in walking around with some of my quilter friends, a number of them pointed out candidates for this award, so I know it wasn’t just me.  All of these are nameless, maker-less.  And in full-disclosure, any one of us could in any given year qualify, so no hubris intended.

Ugly Quilt_7

From the plastic doll, to the overly busy background to the tassels, andthat 3D hair, this is a sure qualifier.

Ugly Quilt_6

Another angel candidate, with her strangely proportioned torso to that gift-wrapped bow on the corner.  Hmmm.

Ugly Quilt_2

Meant to evoke a haunting response from the viewer, of the souls of lost native Americans now inhabiting the abandoned-dwellings-now-a-National-Park (I suppose) instead this just came off as creepy-looking, kind of like a cartoonish dead baby head filling a sacred space.

Ugly Quilt_1

Update: While I originally noted the fine quality of the quilting and the good design and composition of space, I panned this quilt for the drawings, as they looked extremely juvenile.  My sister, the historian, called me tonight to tell me that she thinks they were based on well-known (to historians) primitive drawings done by Native Americans at some of the critical battles.  She’ll let me know the source, and then I’ll add it here.

Ugly Quilt_1 detail2

Ugly Quilt_1 detail

If it is true that this quilt was based on those historical drawings, it obviously needs to be moved from this category.  (However, I still stand on the unfortunate quilted swirls on the men’s faces.)

Okay, Ugly Quilt Contest over.  Later on I’ll show you my favorite quilt, and I’ll tell you why.  (The ones I love usually never win at this show.  But I was happy to see this week that one of my favorites from last year went on to Win Big at other national contests.)  Okay, back to the quilts.

ThompsonModernAlphabet

Modern Alphabet, made and quilted by Gerrie Thompson.

ThompsonModernAlpha1

Yep, I’m pretty much fixated on DSM quilting this year.  My apologies.

WolfeKABOOM

Patricia Wolfe titled her innovation of a traditional Bear Paw block KABOOM! Bear Paws Gone Wild.  She also quilted it herself.

WilsonMischiefMaker

Titled Mishief Maker, Sue Wilson both made and quilted this octopus quilt, hand-painting the design on linen.  I walked around with my friend Simone and she gave me a lesson on borders, and why are quilters so attached to their borders?  As a trained graphic artist, she showed me several quilts that would have benefitted from “breaking the borders,” as the traditional use of that space enclosing a design cramped the artistry of the quilt.  This was a successful breaking of the border, she noted.  We both loved it.

QuiltersWhoLunch_day2LUNCH! (Day Two) with Cindy, Deborah, me, Leisa and Christa of ChristaQuilts.  It was a great conversation about quilting, the industry, design, breaking news and old news, one of the advantages of getting together at a quilt show.

Okay, last gasp of quilts, then my favorite.

UptonOdinTrilogy3

One of a trio of quilts, Linzi Upton’s quilts were tucked away at the back of the hall.  Another quilt, Silver Madonna won big last year, and these look like they follow in the same trend of using metallic fabric, then painting it, then quilting it to achieve the texture.

UptonOdinTrilogy2

The title of the three together is Odin’s Triology, and Upton made and quilted them all.

UptonOdinTrilogy

TaylorLonelyCrowdedRm

Another strong black and white quilt, ChrisTaylor’s I have felt lonely in a crowded room brought in architectural features of doors, windows and line to portray that feeling of being “alone” yet feeling “comforted by memories.”

TarrSnapshots

Inspired by the Holyoke Range and the Connecticut rivers near her home, Timna Tarr created Valley Snapshots, a rich mix of shape and color.  This was almost my most favorite.

TarrRequestDedication

Timna Tarr was busy this year, getting two quilts into Road.  This one, titled Request and Dedication, started out as a Wheel of Fortune block, but “after ten years of marriage [to a musician], he finally rubbed off on me and I unintentionally made a record quilt.”

TarrRequestDedication_3

I had to show you close-ups of the quilting.

TarrRequestDedication_2

SchlotzhauerSpillingOver

Spilling Over was made and quilted by Sharon Schlotzhauer, her inspiration coming from the loss of a treasured quilt, and from the “faith. . . [and] loving thoughts and prayers from friends and the quilting community.”

OKellyCitrusSlices

Citrus Slices by Marie O’Kelley was dear to my heart, as we live near the Citrus Experimental Station of the University of California–Riverside.  She writes “This quilt commemorates my brother’s career at UCR hybridizing new citrus varieties.  Included are the names of his hybrids and those of more common citrus types.”  By the way, if you like the little easy-to-peel Cutie (brand) tangerines, you have the scientists at UCR to thank.

MoonAutumnWhirlpool

Autumn Whirlpool, by Bobbie Moon.

MurphyBanderitas

Banderitas, by Victoria Murphy

MyersDaisyDance

Daisy Dance, by Susan Meyers, from a pattern by Kathy Munkelwitz

TaylorWashBeak_front

And now my favorite quilt of the show.  It’s not flashy, overly huge, stylized with 300 pounds of crystals and bling, but it’s a perfectly executed gem of a quilt.  Titled, Did You Wash Your Beak, it comes from a nature photograph of Eastern Bluebirds by Steve Byland.

TaylorWashBeak_quilting

The quilting appeared to be in a heavier weight variegated thread, which shows every flaw.  I couldn’t find any.  Taylor had put more leaves in the background of his quilting, surrounding those with small stippling stitches.  The branch had more texture added by the quilting.

TaylorWashBeak_back

The white-gloved lady held it up to show me the back.  Exquisite.  Taylor writes “I believe this is my most accomplished quilt to date.  The technique I have been trying to master for the past 12 years. . . was to create an appliquéd quilt that appears to be a photograph or painting at first glance.”  I’d say he succeeded.

TaylorWashBeak_detail

All of these feathers, the claw, all pieces really, are needle-turned appliqué, with the quilting enhancing the shading and structure. A masterpiece of a quilt.  While some might aspire to be the big old blue ribbon winner at the front of the hall, by the CD-selling harpist, I aspire to create quiet quilts of detail and story like this one.  I loved it!

Road to California Logo

And that’s all folks–see you next year!!

Road to California 2014, part I

Plaid Geese Quilt

No matter how many times I go, I’m always excited to walk in the front door of the convention center, see these hanging quilts (this one is by Nancy Boyce Geese in the Fields) and know that the quilting game is ON, specifically that the Road to California show has opened for another year.

Road to California Logo

I’m trying something different this year.  I noticed that the Road to California has put up good, high-resolution photos of the quilts that far surpass any of my snapshot renditions (largely because they are able to go around earlier, with a tripod and a good flash camera), plus they have many of the quilts that I may pass by.  Click *here* to go to that listing and enjoy their show.  What I’ll do below, is list some of the ones that interested me, make some commentary here and there (good and bad) and sum up the social aspect of the show.

Schamber Grand Prize

This is the Big Kahuna of winners, and no surprise, it was won by Sharon Schamber.  Titled Once Upon a Time, she started making it in 2000, then put it aside for over 10 years.

Schamber Grand Prize2

I’m interested in her quilting, for that it how she gained her fame.

Schamber Grand Prize3

See

Cheryl See’s quilt, Tatted Hearts had 20 yards of her great-grandmother’s hand-tatted lace and a doily. Never could locate the doily, so I assume it was used in the construction of this whimsical quilt, but the yards of tatting are evident.

WilsonMagicCarpetRide

Magic Carpet Ride reflects the childhood of maker Janet Wilson, when she noted that she grew up with Turkish carpets all over their floors.  She set out to create a design that was a colorful quilted, version of these carpets.

WilsonMagicCarpetRide_3

This is a quilt that gets a thumbs up on the use of crystals (generally, I think it is WAY overdone in show quilts), as they were used to be a integral part of the design and only for accent.  But using French knots would have been okay with me too, in those spaces where she put some bling.

WilsonMagicCarpetRide_2

How do you like that fringe?  Wilson is a clever quilter, and skilled with her quilting (below is the back):

WilsonMagicCarpetRide_back

GunnZenGarden

Zen Garden was made and quilted by Margaret Solomon Gunn, and is based on the “Blooming Carpenter’s Star.”  She noted that all the fabrics she used were from her stash (certainly noteworthy!) and she used a longarm machine to complete the quilting.

GunnZenGarden_detail

On this next quilt, first I’m going to show you some of the details before showing you the full quilt:

CrineWillow_detail2

CrineWillow_detail3

CrineWillow_detail4

CrineWillow_detail1

CrineWillow

And here it is: Willow, by Debra Crine.  She used hand-dyed fabrics over a silk background, and her technique was to fuse them, then appliqué them with a double blanket stitch.  She also quilted it.  This was not a large quilt, nor was the Magic Carpet Ride.  Crine doesn’t say whether it was a domestic sewing machine (DSM) that she used to quilt it, or a long arm.  Of course, my bias is to see people quilting on a domestic machine, as that’s what most of us have.

I love reading Linda’s blog, Flourishing Palms, as she is trying to adapt many of the longarm techniques to our DSM, applying some of their tricks and tips so that the resulting finish can have a similar technical excellence to them.  I began to look for quilts that indicated that they’d used a DSM, chuckling a bit at the phrase “hand-guided longarm quilting,” although I know that this label is appropriate.

LegerMarinerCircle

When I read in MaryPat Leger’s artist’s statement that her quilting was inspired by Leah Day’s free motion quilting class, I knew I was seeing a quilt that was done on a DSM.  Leger tried out many different patterns on her Mariner’s Circles, and although the next picture is blurry (they have strips of plastic stretched across the quilts so it does make it hard to get good photos), you can see how many different stitches she tried on her quilt.

LegerMarinerCircle_detail

CrineTasteofParadise

Debra Crine’s been busy.  This is another quilt of hers, titled A Taste of Paradise.  Taken from an illustration, she hand painted the fabric with acrylic paints and a used a variety of threads for the thread painting.  She also quilted it, but no word on whether it was a DSM or a longarm.

CrineTasteofParadise_2

CrawfordBrittany

Lenore Crawford came upon an art class of teenagers sketching in the streets while on a trip to northern France, then returned home to create her quilt Capturing Brittany from what she saw.  She used raw edge fused appliqué, and quilted it herself.  This was another quilt that we were prevented from seeing up close, due to the barriers.  I just wanted to stand there all day, enjoying her scene and her skills at bringing this to us.  Click on this quilt on the Road website to see it larger.

We interrupt this quilt show to bring you an advertisement for more sparkles.

Sparkles 1

Sparkles 2

This is the BACK of the quilt, a sign proudly proclaiming “over 22,000” crystals.  Would it surprise you to know that this quilter had a booth, and was selling crystals? Certainly a masterpiece of quilting and technically perfect with applied crystals, it represents the high point (or low point, depending on your point of view) of the Crystal/Sparkle/Bling phenomena.  (I don’t know who the maker was because I was not impressed with the front, and I don’t like to give out the names of quilts I diss.)  We now return you to our regularly scheduled quilt show.

WilliamsPrettyPieces

Lorraine Williams, who made this quilt titled All The Pretty Pieces, notes that it comes from a pattern, but doesn’t mention which one.  (I’m guessing this one from Jen Kingwell Designs.)  But it was lovely and refreshing and I’ve already participated in helping to make a variation of this pattern for one of our Mid-Century Modern Bee quilters.  I like the look of this one, as if someone had been piecing blocks all along, and then it just came together naturally.

WilliamsPrettyPieces_2

Williams also quilted her blocks differently, letting each stand out.  I thought she used varying backgrounds quite successfully, and her color palate was harmonious and brought the quilt together.

Gallery of Flowers

One of the odd (and maddening) things about the way they hang their quilts at Road, is this unfortunate habit of grouping all like things together (p.s. have they ever heard of “habituation?”).  The downside is that a viewer’s eyes begin to glaze over. . .oh, another flower. . . oh, another animal. . . oh, another whatever. . . after seeing 10 of the same subject in a row.  The upside is that you can always find them again if you want to find them again “It’s in the flower section,” like we are at a garden show and all the lilies are grouped together or all the orchids.  It’s been this way for quite a few years, and nothing I ever say will change that–it’s just one of Road’s idiosyncrasies.  But since I’m trying to bring you the essence of Road, that’s just part of it.

TurnquistSunflowersWept

Sue Turnquist started her quilt Even the Sunflowers Wept shortly after her mother passed away in 2009, and she referred to it as her “mourning quilt.”  I’ve seen a few of these in quilt shows over the years, and I like the idea that a quilt was made to help process grief and in remembrance.  She writes “Even though the sunflowers weep, one cannot remain sad in their presence.”

GunnRainbowNouveau

Rainbow Nouveau is by Margaret Solomon Gunn, using batiks, hand-dyes, and gold acrylic paint for accents.  She quilted it herself: “quilting is hand-guided,” meaning longarm machine.  Her original and whimsical appliqué kept my eye moving over the quilt.  It was fun to look at.

GunnRaindowNouveau_2

Random Quilt

I apologize for not having the maker’s name, nor the title, but I found it on my camera.  Something about it caught my eye.  If anyone has any information about this, please let me know.  I really liked the use of those four small squares set on point to act as a type of sashing.

ElenbaasBeauchampHappyHauntings

Always fun to have a Halloween Quilt! Debra Elenbaas pieced the top and Diane Beauchamp quilted Happy Hauntings.  It’s taken from a pattern by Verna Mosquera of The Vintage Spool, and has lots of appliqué.

HappyHauntingsdetail

I thought the spiderwebs in the borders were classic!

LabodaStarsLightYourWay_front

Kay Laboda made and quilted Stars to Light Your Way, a black and white quilt where each block is different from the others.  She says she “loves paper piecing” and gave this to her son and new daughter-in-law.

LabodaStarsLightYourWay_detail

KayQuilted Northern

Now I’ve seen everything.  Yep–the title of this is The Real Quilted Northern.  Maker and quilter Jerry Kay writes “The TV commercial showed little old ladies with knitting needles making quilted northern.  I wanted to show the ‘REAL’ thing!”

I’m going to close out this post (there’s more coming–stay tuned) showing one reason why there are fewer and fewer judged quilts at Road.  It is because these collections of quilts — sponsored (read:$$) by a shop owner or a store or a corporation — have become numerous.  I counted about five different ones, but here’s two.

Gallery Show Angels at Road

This one was huge (I’m only showing half of it) and had mounds of white fluffy batting to denote “clouds” as this show was about angels.  Some of the quilts were interesting, but many were not.  Wasted space.

Gallery Show at Road

Because I’m involved in an on-line art group, I took time to look at this gallery of “art quilts,” also 12″ square. I thought some were interesting, but many were not (sound familiar?).  Some wasted space.

I’m guessing that the economies of sponsorship outweigh the showing of quilt-show quilts, but am saddened by the shrinking number of quilts, and wish, somehow, we could have more individual quilts, fewer galleries of quilts.  The category of wearable art seems to have disappeared this year, and the doll exhibit was substantially reduced.  Here’s a couple:

IMG_0182

And one doll from my favorite doll maker: Elinor Peace Bailey.  She’s the best.

IMG_0184

IMG_9937

This traditional Dresden Plate design is updated in a pink and green setting with central blocks to allow for fabulous quilting.  Quilting designs are “hand-guided.”  Margaret Solomon Gunn titled this Big Bertha, and it was a stand out quilt, as you can tell by that fancy ribbon hanging on the side.

IMG_9938

IMG_0158

At the front of the hall, just behind the harpist selling his CDs, was this exhibit which was a communal effort of many quilters.

SacramentoRiver

And the Sacramento River ran through it all.

IrvineChinaGardens

China Gardens by Roblee Irvine

BurrisTableMountain_river

Table Mountain in the Bend Area, by Alice Burris, Violet Skeeters and Beula Alioto

IMG_0160

Sims Flat by Patty Schuler.  She says the three women about ready to head into the river “represent my sisters and me.”

WhiteSouthFork

Headwaters Along the South Fork of the Sacramento River, by Jacque White

Part II of Road to California 2014 will follow, which will include my favorite quilt and my nominees for the Most Ugly Quilt (I actually have several this year).  I just found out that the Quilt Inspiration blog has also liked some of the same ones I have.  Click *here* to see their first post, then follow the links to their second post.