Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pacific International Quilt Festival -- Santa Clara, California

A true feast for the eyes,  the Pacific International Quilt Festival was held from October 14-17, 2010. Nearly one thousand displays of quilts, wearable art, and vendors' items captured the imagination of the large crowd that attended.  The theme of this year's festival was "Escape", and the quilters did a fabulous job of translating that theme into fabric and thread. We've selected some photos of quilts which we thought were especially eye-catching, even if they were not all top prize winners.

Dancing Calla Lilies,  62 x 62, by Sylvia Gegaregian

Sylvia Gegaregian finds her "escape" in beautiful flowers, which she buys often to dress up her home. Sylvia writes, "This is my effort to extend that life and beauty onto fabric. Dressing up my calla lilies for their quilt portrait allowed me to enter the realm of 'what-if'. This freedom probed to be an extraordinary experience of discovery and learning. "

Close Up of "Dancing Calla Lilies"

Sylvia's "Dancing Calla Lilies" won this year's blue ribbon for Best Machine Workmanship. Above, you can see the lovely and intricate quilting that went into this work. Sylvia is a back-to-back award winner, as Pacific International Quilt Festival also awarded her quilt "In Full Bloom" the 2009 prize for Best Use of Embellishment. That quilt is now the cover for the upcoming 2011 Calendar of the American Quilters Society.

Devil's Island, 34 x 93, by Ingrid Cattaneo

Ingrid Cattaneo made this quilt in remembrance of the movie "Papillon", which depicted the attempted escapes of a wrongly-convicted prisoner from a penal colony in French Guiana. The inspiration for the quilt came from a photo that Ingrid took of a tropical beach while on vacation. She turned the photo into a strikingly coloful landscape quilt, in which the pieces are raw-edge fused appliqued, then machine embroidered.  A member of the Pine Tree Quilt Guild near Grass Valley, CA,  Ingrid has won previous quilt show awards for her detailed workmanship.

Rose of Sharon,  63 x 63, by Sharon Pederson and Elizabeth Phillips

The Rose of Sharon quilt was started as a quilt block challenge to raise money and awareness for the Alzheimer's Quilt Initiative.  Over 850 blocks were submitted by quilters around the world  as part of this competition. Island Batik  generously provided the beautiful Bali fabric for this challenge. Patterns and directions for creating these blocks have been published in The Rose of Sharon Block Book.

Close- up of Rose of Sharon

Amazingly, only three simple shapes were permitted to be used in the block designs: a blossom, a leaf, and a circle. We were amazed at the artistry and symmetry of the winning blocks. Truly, this quilt is a tribute to the skill and elegance demonstrated through the medium of applique.

What's Your Dream?  66 x 102, by Penny S. Hanson

Winner of this year's blue ribbon for "Best Interpretation of Theme",  Penny Hanson writes,  "Art is my personal escape. This art work began as a 4 value graphite self-portrait. Then the day dreaming began. I felt like  a quiet spring day far removed from the responsibility of my normal life. While considering the setting and the landscape, the art quilt began to take form, leading me from my life into the realm of the extraordinary world of creative imagination. " 

Close-Up of "What's Your Dream?"

The applique and machine piecing on this work are so detailed and precise that even the smallest elements have charm and clarity. We were delighted to see the tiny quilt carefully draped over the miniature lawn chair and the little deer quietly peeking out from the trees. 

Pandora,  46 x 67, by Vicki David and Terry Breazeale

According to Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman on earth, who opened a box given to her by Zeus, king of the gods, thus allowing all the troubles of the world to escape. Here, Pandora is depicted in a richly patterned dress reminiscent of Elizabethan times, complete with an adorning neck ruffle. The flowing lines of her dress help to give this work both movement and symmetry.

Close- up of Pandora

In this close-up you can see the beautiful piecing of Pandora's neck ruffle, along with the background of shimmering, iridescent fabric which helps to highlight Pandora's face.

Crown Jewel,  88 x 88, by Claudia Clark Myers and Marilyn Badger

These two quilters provide a wonderful narrative of how this fascinating, intricately pieced, "Best of Show" winner came to life.  Claudia writes: "It all started with an antique Japanese obi that Marilyn purchased at a quilt show and challenged me to do something with it. Then I copied, embroidered, and appliqued the flower motifs from the obi onto the quilt and designed an elongated paper-pieced block that looked sort of like a jewel, using it for a border. Marilyn elaborated on many of the obi motifs for her elegant quilting designs. She used 10,000 yards of thread to bring them to life. "

Sol y Sombra: Doing What Lizards Do, 35 x 65, by Betty Hahn

If you attended this show in person, then you know that the photos don't really do justice to the lovely dimensional piece, below, in which sparkling leaf shapes gently float and flutter on top of the quilt. From Sun City, Arizona, Betty has captured the clear, pure colors of the desert in her quilt, which is overlaid with sparkling, delicate gold-flecked organza. She has used reverse applique to bring the lighter hues of the quilt to the surface.

Betty writes: "Escape into the realm of two lizards chasing each other in the leaves under a tree.  Background pieces and loose leaves gives the impression of a swirling wind. Lizards on top of the quilt are composed of piecing identical to the surface underneath, so they seem to disappear. This piece includes cotton and organza which is appliqued, reverse appliqued, pieced, stuffed, glued, and machine quilted on a stationary machine. "

Close-Up of  "Doing What Lizards Do"

Can you spot the creature on the quilt ? If you look carefully at this close-up, you can see how Betty has created a lizard in organza which is loosely sewn onto the top of the quilt to enhance the three dimensional effect. He is well camouflaged, with large paws like a cartoon gecko might have. We've put an arrow pointing at his head to help you discern his shape. Also you can click on the photo to enlarge the lizard and see the blanket-stitched applique. For more quilts by Betty Hahn, see her online gallery at the Arizona Quilters Hall of Fame.

Tropical Sundowner, 53 x 44.5,  by Elsa Paulazzo Feldman

Elsa says,  "Sitting on the beach of the Big Island of  Hawaii is my favorite escape. In this quilt, I've attempted to capture the aura and colors of the sun setting over that beautiful area."  Elsa's quilt is hand appliqued, machine piece, and machine quilted. The striped border emphasizes the light and clarity of the contemporary circles of color.

Close-up of Tropical Sundowner

We loved the perfect piecing and color selection in these circular motifs.  The myriad shades of restful blues and greens are so reminiscent of the ever-changing colors of the ocean.

i Candy 3.0,  app. 60 x 60, by Robbi J. Eklow

From Third Lake, IL, Robbi Eklow has created concentric circles of violet and its complementary color yellow, plus a soft green and French blue background. This truly is "eye candy" ; and it reminds us of the giant lollipops decorated with swirls of color that were sold at the carnivals and circuses of our childhood.

No stranger to prestigious quilt shows,  i Candy 3.0 also won 2nd Place for Art Abstract Quilts at the International Quilters Association 2009 Quilts: A World of Beauty show in Houston, Texas. You can also read about this quilt at Robbie Joy Eklow's website (aka The Goddess of the Last Moment).

Kaleidoscope, 65 x 65, by Mary Mix

From Danville, CA, Mary writes that her quilt was inspired by an Italian mosaic floor from the series Bella Bella Quilts by Norah McMeeking. Tiled floor patterns and quilt patterns are often interchangeable and complementary, because both are meant to adorn fairly large, flat surfaces. Mary Mix has achieved a fabulous three dimensional effect of space and depth with this circular, "attic windows" - style pattern. Beautifully precise foundation-piecing gives this quilt a radiant geometric, orderly, and mystical quality that is very pleasing.

Jet Trails, 64 x 46, by Marcia De Camp

From Palmyra, New York, Marcia DeCamp writes, ''This piece was inspired by the jet condensation trails that cross the skies outside my studio windows. It represents our ability to fly away from our day to day routines and speed away to almost any spot on the globe." Machine pieced and machine quilted, this quilt beautiful juxtaposes aqua blue and burnt orange in such a way that all the colors really pop with vibrancy and movement.

Southwest of Michigan, 72 x 59, by Cory Allender

Cory writes, "Southwest of Michigan" took me from the green of the Midwest to the glory of the desert in St. George, Utah."   We loved this magnificent, contemporary, geometric tribute to the southwestern United States' colors and designs.

Cory has taken strands of gold fluted beads and coiled them into elegant spirals, which are then affiixed to the center of the blocks. The quilting is composed of perfect parallel  rows of very fine shiny gold thread, which really dresses up this work and enhances the contemporary triangles and diamonds.

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