Thursday, July 17, 2014

West Coast Wonders

At the West Coast Wonders exhibit at the 2013 Houston International Quilt Festival, we saw some gorgeous quilts with scenes from the Golden State, California. They reminded us of the technicolor postcards sent to friends and family from favorite vacation spots. We hope you enjoy the great artistry of these "postcards in cloth."

Storm over the Golden Gate by Linda Stone, California

Linda's original design was based on a vacation photograph. She says, "this picture was taken as we went under the Golden Gate Bridge on a cruise ship. We went on a Mexican cruise and ended up in San Francisco, due to the swine flu. This is the first in [my] California Landmarks Series of photo realistic quilts. It is machine appliqued and machine quilted using fusible products." Linda has used her excellent sense of perspective to perfectly depict the massive size of the bridge, which stands in resplendent orange-red against a complementary hued backdrop of blue-violet, red-violet, and lavender.

Hollywood and Highland, 39 x 42", by Linda Stone , California

Here's another one of Linda's California Landmark Series quilts. This time, she's at the intersection of Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Ave. in downtown Hollywood, site of the famous ACL Chinese Theatre, the Dolby Theatre, where the Academy Awards are presented, and a shopping mall.  The right hand panel of the quilt shows the enormous elephant sculpture at the entrance to the mall, and the top panel depicts the beloved "Hollywood" sign mounted on the hillside by real estate developers in 1923, which has been restored several times.  Linda notes, "There is so much history of the film industry within and in view of this mall." 

Close up, Hollywood and Highland by Linda Stone

A lifelike pair of feet stand on the cement  path as a visitor studies the  footprints and handprints of many current and past movie stars preserved in the cement. We loved the very creative machine quilting which accurately depicts the weathered pathway, host to millions of people from around the world. Also note the realistic turned-up jeans cuffs, which were finished with blanket stitching.  Linda's original design was machine and hand appliqued, hand-embroidered, couched, painted, and inked.

Monterey at Dusk by Melinda Bula, California

Here's another sophisticated art quilt whose original design is based on a photo. Melinda says, "We walked along the beach at Monterey Bay at sunset. I started taking photos as the sunset reflected off the water and the fog. The sailboats were bobbing in the water. Seals were barking on the rocks below."   This idyllic, peaceful setting is captured by Melinda's fused applique technique. We gazed at this quilt for quite a while, marveling at this artist's ability to perfectly place some very tiny pieces of fabric into the scene.

Close up, Monterey at Dusk by Melinda Bula

Melinda has achieved an elegant, soft watercolor effect with her expert use of pastel fabrics in cool tones.  She notes, "A local couple walked by us and joked that I was taking too many pictures trying to capture this moment. They commented, 'Honey, you can't take it with you.' And I said, 'Oh yes I can.' Little did they know it would soon be a quilt."

Monet in Pasadena by Melinda Bula (California)

Melinda writes, "California has many beautiful gardens, and I plan on seeing them all. At Huntington Gardens in Pasadena, I was inspired by the morning light hitting the lily pond. The water shimmered with reflections made me think of what the painter Monet must have seen. I always take my camera with me just for moments like this."

Close up, Monet in Pasadena by Melinda Bula

Melinda adds, "I created this quilt by using my fusible technique which approaches quilting as if I am painting. Only I do not use any paint; it is all fabric. I have hand-dyed most of the fabrics to get the colors that Monet might have used."

Tributary by Phyllis Cullen (Hawaii)

Phyllis has created a colorful depiction of a pristine hillside stream as it flows over rocks and past native flora. She states, "The beautiful and rugged California coast features river that flow from mountain to sea."

Closeup,  Tributary by Phyllis Cullen

In this close-up, you can see the black background fabric between the  raw edge appliqued pieces, which gives this eye-catching quilt the look of a leaded, stained glass window. Free motion quilting in horizontal wavy lines gives an energetic, rippling effect to Phyllis' work.

Pelican Express by Phyllis Cullen (Hawaii)

Phyllis notes, "The colors of a West Coast sunset are reflected in two of its most endearing birds [the pelicans]."  Phyllis' design is adapted from a stained glass panel by the Paned Expressions Company. To create this stunning quilt, Phyllis used the stained glass and fusible applique technique, plus free motion quilting.

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration at the 2013 Houston International Quilt Festival.


  1. I recently made a trip to California and these beautiful quilts bring back some wonderful memories.

  2. Stained glass patterns are always a good inspiration for quilting. Here is another perspective on the golden gate bridge from


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