Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Long Beach International Quilt Festival - Part One

Let's all go to a virtual quilt show this week ! Please join us, along with thousands of other quilt enthusiasts at the Long Beach International Quilt Show, sponsored by the International Quilters Association last weekend: July 29-31 2011.  Welcome to the show.

Elf Owl, 33 x 54", by Terry Waldron, at TerryWaldron.com

Some quilt shows have only one theme, but this quilt festival is so big, that it was divided into several different themes. Today and tomorrow, we will show quilts from the juried exhibit , "West Coast Wonders", celebrating the landscapes, architecture, and lifestyles of the western part of the U.S.A.  including California*.

In "Elf Owl",  Terry Waldron has designed a tribute to one of the birds of the Mojave Desert, east of Los Angeles. The elf owl is the smallest of all owls, just over 5 inches long. Elf owls make their homes in the tall saguaro cacti of the desert, where they can live high off the ground, protected from predators. Terry's work is both hand and machine appliqued, then machine quilted.

Elf Owl, close-up

Isn't he adorable, peeking out of the saguaro cactus like this? Owls and birds seem to be a very popular theme in quilting this year. We saw a number of quilts featuring owls and birds, along with some very cute owl fabric at the many vendors' booths.

Roadside Poppies, by Denise Oyama Miller, app. 48 x 24",  at DeniseOyamaMiller.com

Two separate panels hung together showcase these brilliantly colored wildflowers, done with fused applique. Denise writes, "Strolling through Ashland, Oregon, I came across a display of poppies growing....along the sidewalk. The metal fence behind them was a perfect backdrop for this celebration of the incredible flora of the west coast." The fence serves to greatly enhance the three-dimensional quality of Denise's work, as it helps provide perspective to the eye and bring the poppies into the foreground.

Roadside Poppies close-up

Look at how many different batik and tonal fabrics Denise used here ! The variety of fabrics and values really brings out the subtle nuances of the light and shadows as they fall upon the petals and stems of the poppies.  (Also note:  you can click on any of these images to see the amazing detail).

Malibu Beach, 29 x 32", by Sherry Kleinman, at Sherry Kleinman Art Quilts


 A resident of the seaside town of Pacific Palisades, just north of Los Angeles, Sherry has created her self portrait here.  She says, " I am lucky to live near the Pacific Ocean and can indulge in my life-long love affair with the beach. I have just added sun block and an umbrella to my must-have beach attire."  If you look closely, you can see that the beach umbrella actually stands out about 8 inches off the surface of the quilt.  The shadow underneath the umbrella adds a very realistic touch to this pieced, appliqued and hand-painted work.

Santa Barbara Riviera, app. 30 x 20",  by Ranell Hansen, at Ranell Hansen.com

We love quilts featuring houses and villages, and this one is no exception.  Ranell Hansen has re-created the charm of the Spanish colonial architecture of Santa Barbara, a coastal city about 100 miles north of Los Angeles. Nestled against the mountains, the white-washed buildings with their tile roofs evoke a tropical sun-splashed, Mediterranean setting. This quilt is actually much higher-contrast and less pale in person, as the flash from our camera tended to wash out the bright spots of color that Ranell added to the architectural details here.

Tsunami Rattles California, app. 36 x 24  by Ann Sanderson

Ann writes, "Japan has a special place in my heart. After the earthquake of last March, we lost contact with our Japanese friends, and our coastal California family home was threatened (by the tsunami that hit California). The design of this piece reflects the wave motion and the swirling waters of the tsunami."

We think this is a fascinating piece, with complementary muted peach and blue tones, embellished with delicate gold beads, iridescent square sequins, and stamped with splashes of shiny gold paint.

*Note:  For those who have been following our Cute Quilts for Kids series, we'll be wrapping that up next week, after our special reports on the quilt festival.


  1. Cool new views from Long Beach!! I **love** the Elf Owl and the Riviera!

  2. Such nice pictures. I am amazed at them because in Japan most of the shows will not allow photos. (Maybe they want to sell the book?)

  3. About half of the quilts at the Long Beach show were "off limits" for photography. The reason is that the images are copyrighted for publication, as Julie noted. It seems that every show has its own particular rules and regulations when it comes to picture-taking. We take special care to follow them ! At least photography was allowed for some of the quilts, like the ones we're showing here !


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