ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

International Quilt Festival Houston 2012: The Experience

I returned late last night after five days at International Quilt Festival Houston. I'm not sure how other people manage to blog while they are either attending shows or teaching, but I can't seem to manage it.  I was hoping to get this posted sooner but it was off to the National Gallery today where my art class spent the afternoon drawing.  More on my drawing class in a future post.

You won't often find cityscapes on my blog, but I thought the sky was just amazingly blue in Houston after many days of rain in Ottawa just before I left.  Temperatures were well into the 80's fahrenheit too.  This was the view from the hotel room, which my friend Betty Busby graciously shared with me, at the Hilton.  The Hilton is directly attached to the George Brown Convention Center, where the show takes place.  But even though I found myself in the downtown of metropolitan Houston, I still managed to find nature:  hibiscus and bird of paradise flowers were abundant in the park across from the hotel and convention center.
On Wednesday night when I arrived, I spent a bit of time volunteering in the SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) booth.  This year SAQA reserved a special grouping of their auction quilts to auction off in Houston.  You can see them displayed behind the table.  Let me tell you, the photos on the blog do not do these works justice; they are far better in person.  I have to say the same about the works in the SAQA Special exhibits at Houston, but more on those tomorrow. 
I had an opportunity to meet many SAQA members from around the world, there were several lunches and dinners that took place.  Here we are at the Grove Restaurant (best chocolate cake by the way!)
On Friday morning I shot my first ever video!  While teaching in Montreal at Salon 2012 earlier this year, I met Bonnie McCaffery, who is well known for her Vidcasts of quilt artists, that she often shoots while visiting quilt shows around the world.  You can view her other Vidcasts here.  Bonnie liked my work and invited me to make a video with her in Houston.  So now I can tell you that this was one of the reasons I decided to go to Houston this year.  That and The Natural World exhibit, but more on that in a minute. So here's Bonnie getting all her video equipment set up.  The video will be released in the new year, and I will be sure to crow about it when the time comes.
I did two trips through the massive merchant mall.  Photo below taken from the floor above.  More than 1000 vendors!  On the second trip I marked all the businesses I specifically wanted to visit.  I can honestly tell you I didn't buy any fabric!!  I was, however, quite a thread whore!  How could I resist the bins of "Overstock" at the Superior booth with such good prices?  How could I resist the autumn collection sold by Madeira?  Oh, and I should also tell you that there are silver jewellrey vendors at Houston.  I spent some dollars there too. 
After speaking to Vicki Anderson, of Meander Publishing (responsible for Machine Quilting Unlimited and Modern Quilts Unlimited magazines) via email many times, I finally had a chance to meet her in person at the merchant mall.  She is on the right in this photo below.  In the middle is Diane Rusin Doran and on the left is Alycia Carmin, both employees of Meander Publishing. On display in their booth was a selection of modern quilts.
Speaking of modern quilts, there was a special exhibit of modern quilts at Houston by the Modern Quilt Guild, which I quite enjoyed.  I find them fresh and new and non-fussy.  I am amazed to read comments on Facebook today by a long-arm quilter who thinks it is a waste to have modern quilts take up the space of what we have long traditionally considered quilts, works that take massive amounts of time.  Don't you find this ironic coming from someone who machine quilts?  At one time folks would have said the same ... how sad to see all these machine quilted quilts taking up the space where hand-quilted quilts once hung?  Too funny!
Friday night was the SAQA/Quiltart Reception where one has the chance to meet a lot of people you may have only met on-line.  I happened to run into a few Canadians and had my photo taken with them.  On the left is Helena Scheffer of Montreal (Beaconsfield) with work in the World of Beauty show.  In the centre is Carol Moore of Toronto, with work in the Seasonal Palette show, and on the right is me!   While I've known Helena for a while, this was the first time I've had the pleasure of meeting Carol in person! 
It was great to meet up with Judith Trager from Colorado again.  She once stayed at my house while teaching in Ottawa. Currently she is serving on the Board of SAQA.
Here's the other reason I went to Houston this year.  There was a special exhibit of the work of artists in the book Art Quilt Portfolio: The Natural World.  We were all invited to come and volunteer in the booth, help sell books, speak to the public about our work, and we even signed a few autographs.  During a quiet period, my friend Betty Busby convinced me to let her add a few colour streaks to my hair.  Fortunately they washed out for the shooting of my vidcast ;-)) 
Here I am with "In the Act", my piece in the exhibit.  No photographs allowed in this exhibit but they made an exception since it was my quilt. 
Back at the SAQA booth, Janet Windsor (at right) was happy about the fact that her work in Seasonal Palette sold in Houston.  She also identified herself as one of my blog followers, so I had to take her picture.
Tomorrow I hope to post the photos of quilts I took in Houston.  Right now I need some sleep.  The good news is that although I have a lot of workshops to deliver before Christmas, they are all pretty much local.  I'll be sleeping in my own bed :-))


  1. I'm a big fan of Bonnie's vid-casts, so eagerly look forward to seeing her interview you when she shows it in the new year! Yay!

    Did you manage to talk the editor of MQU magazine into lowering her subscription prices to Canada?

    1. Hi Margaret
      I subscribed to Machine Quilting Unlimited on-line this year as it is a lot cheaper. But the big problem is that I find I'm not getting around to reading it. I'm the kind of person who likes to take magazines with me for down times when I travel or when I have to wait at appointments.

  2. Elaine, what a treat to get to meet you in person and see your In the Act in the Natural World exhibit. I'll look forward to the vidcast, so be sure to tell us when it's out. I wrote a short post about Houston on my blog, too. Bigboy has not let me out of his sight since I've come home!

    1. Likewise Martha, it was a real pleasure to meet you after chatting with you so many times! I will be sure to crow when the Vidcast goes public. You are going to have to send Bigboy here to have a talk with Kissabelle and Mr. McMenace. Both just wanted food and to be let out when I got home! Users!

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