Sunday, November 3, 2013

Award-winning quilts from the Houston International Quilt Festival

We saw some incredible quilts at the 2013 Houston International Quilt Festival this weekend !  We hope you enjoy these award-winning creations as much as we did.

Wind, approx 14 x 18", by Masanobu Miyama, Chofu-City, Tokyo, Japan

This impressive quilt was the winner of the Superior Threads Master Award for Thread Artistry ($5000 prize). Masanobu writes,  "My dog's long fur was streaming in the wind while I walked her at the riverside. I thought it might be fun to express the invisible wind with streaming fur, waving grass, and so on. The original microfused applique technique is applied to create the dog precisely. I also hand-dyed almost all of the fabrics I used to match the color."

Close-up, Wind by Masanobu Miyama

In this close up photo you can also see the trapunto quilting, representing the swirling wind in the background sky. We're estimating the size of this quilt at 18" wide, which gives you an idea of the tiny applique pieces that make up this photo-realistic quilt. The dense thread painting is visible upon close inspection:

Here you can see that Masanobu changed the color of the thread to match the color of each applique piece.  For example, the dark red area of the dog's tongue was stitched with dark red thread and the pink areas were stitched with pink thread, and so forth, so that the thread blended perfectly with the underlying applique.

Illinois Album, 60 x 70", by Jane Sassaman, Harvard, Illinois

Jane Sassaman is a renowned quilt artist, fabric designer and book author.  Her art quilts have been shown in many national and international exhibits and we were thrilled to see her work in person.  Winner of the Baby Lock Master Award for Innovative Artistry ($5000), this exuberant quilt shows Jane's love for art nouveau influences.   She says, "This quilt was inspired by my rural environment in northern Illinois".

Close up, Illinois Album by Jane Sassaman

Lively bursts of color and a sense of energetic movement give this vibrant, dynamic quilt an almost tropical look.   In this close up photo you also can see the decorative stitched leaves that cover the surface of the quilt.  This quilt is currently for sale; for more information, please see Jane Sassaman's website.

Photographer Darling by Noriko Nozawa, Chiba City, Chiba, Japan

Photographer Darling won the $5,000 Fairfield Master Award for Contemporary Artistry. Artist Noriko Nozawa explains that her work was inspired by a trip to Europe that she took with her husband. Because he was always the photographer behind the camera, he did not appear in many of their vacation photos.  Therefore, Noriko made a quilt featuring her husband, with scenic postcards and maps of Europe in the background. This admirable quilt is a real show-stopper, done with a variety of materials and expert techniques.

Close- up, Photographer Darling by Noriko Nozawa

We were impressed by the realistic, life-like details in Noriko's work, which reminds us of the style of an oil painting. For materials, the artist used cotton and linen mixed spinning cloth, cotton fabric dye, monofilament yarn, and machine embroidery thread.

Close up, Photographer Darling by Noriko Nozawa

The pastel colors of the Europe map are done in a handsome herringbone-type thread painting pattern, with the lettering in trapunto style.  Artistic techniques used on this quilt included original and Janome Digitizer Pro machine embroidery (as shown in the "Venezia" postcard above), dyeing, machine piecing and applique, and free-motion machine quilting.

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration. 


  1. Thanks for sharing these wonderful quilts. I haven't been to Houston for the show since 1996 and remember vividly what a wonderful experience it is, seeing all of the spectacular quilts.

  2. Loving this series of quilts. Thank you for taking me there and allowing me to have this experience as if I was really there.

  3. FYI, the maker of Wind is a man. Also, the photographer in the last quilt is created entirely with thread. It is machine embroidered cross-stitches on canvas. There is no appliqué on that quilt.

  4. Aw that Golden Retriever quilt looks just like my Emma who passed away about 10 years ago. She was the sweetest dog! That quilt looks just like her happy spirit.


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