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.