Autumn in Houston, Texas means one thing to the fiber arts community: Quilt Festival! For 29 years the quilting industry and afficiandos have been making a pilgrimage to Houston to enjoy together in one place, all the varied factions of the quilt world. Quilt collectors, teachers, artists, retailers, suppliers, and just plain quilt lovers descend to create and participate in a Disneyland of quilts!
It's hard to describe how LARGE this show is. It's held at the George R. Brown Convention Center on the edge of downtown Houston. The International Quilt Show (Market and Festival parts) takes over the entire 1.2 million sq ft of meeting and exhibit space for about 10 days. The 2nd and 3rd floors are used for tons of classes and lectures during, and between, the two shows. It's unbelievably BIG!
Being a Houstonian, I'm very blessed to have this event at my doorstep. People come from all over the world to this Mother-of-ALL-Quilt-Shows and I just have to walk past 3 houses to my local bus to get there. This week I attended Quilt Market, the trade show held before the Festival -- where quilt businesses go to see and purchase their new inventory for the upcoming season. Anyone who's anyone in the fabric, design and notion industries attends. My favorite part is getting an early look at colors and trends that we'll all being seeing everywhere in a few months.
Two things I noticed this time: texture is big. I saw many examples of creative use of jumbo ric-rac and/or chenille mixed with fabric in fun quilts. I also saw a lot of embellishment to quilts: hot-fix sparklies, silk ribbon and beaded embellishment. To see my photos of some of my days at Market and Festival, view the slide shows:
Half of the exhibit space is set up for vendors, with the other half set up for the Quilt Exhibits. Set up this year around "Quilts - a World of Beauty" (the main exhibit of the show organizing body, the Int'l Quilt Assn.) were: 19th Century Patchwork Divas; Country Living Classics; Master Piece Work: Joyce Gross History Collection; Festival Gallery of Quilt Art: Town and Country; The Sky's the Limit 2008; winners from Quilt National 2007; SAGA Masters Quilt Art and A Sense of Time; Celebrate Spring 2008; Quilt Week Yokohama; Band of Hands; Hands All Around Int'l Quilts; In Full Bloom V Floral Quilts; Journal Quilt Project 8; the Hoffman Challenge winners; West Coast Wonders; In the American Tradition VII; Patchwork Politics and a very special exhibit this year - The Daughters of the American Revolution Collection: Quilts of a Young Country.
No matter your interest, talent or skill level, there is something for everyone to enjoy at the International Quilt Festival. Next year's Festival will be Oct. 15-18, 2009. I hope to see you there!