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Surprise! [Nov. 7th, 2011|03:13 pm]
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It’s the Houston International Quilt Show!
This post will be out of order chronologically because it’s more or less real-time, but I had to tell you.  I actually got to spend a day at the Houston quilt show.  It’s one of the biggest and most prestigious quilt shows in the country.  I attended last year because of J’s work; we came into Houston for the week and he flew out to go onsite at a customer’s location, so I had the whole weekend at the show.
This year, I was all cranky because we were again wrenched out of our comfortable plans when his work called and diverted us from a quiet week at a CoE campground in northeastern Texas, down to Houston for a meeting on Monday.  It could have been worse; they were talking about shipping him to the West.  So we made our usual longer than normal drive for work (only slightly longer this time, thank goodness) and got into a very nice RV resort in New Caney, TX on Saturday.  Late that night, just before bed, I was kvetching at J that his company should have at least had the common courtesy to send us to Houston during the quilt show at the beginning of November.  And he looked at me and blinked a couple of times and said: “but dear, it is the beginning of November..”  I made a quick detour from teeth brushing to check the laptop, and there was much rejoicing.
Daylight savings time made it a bit easier to get up bright and early and drive in to get to the show when it opened.  On-street parking was easy to find and free on Sunday; I drove past the $20/day lot and parked a block or so away from the venue, bought my ticket, and got in line for entry at 10 am.  There was a very nice policeman directing people to line up in a pattern that wended back and forth: “pretend there are dividers,” he said.  I and the lady with a walker behind me rebelled at the thought of any extra walking, so when the line started to move we waited for the end of the loop to go past us and then just pivoted at that point instead of walking down to where the line had turned and then all the way back again.
I made sure to go and see the Twelve by Twelve exhibit first thing.  I think their work is really interesting and their quilts always make me think, so it was great to see them in person.  The group hasn’t started a new series, but when I asked, said that they were planning to keep on, just perhaps in some other format than 12 by 12.  They are a group of 12 quilters who have done two series of small 12x12 quilts on twelve different themes, with each theme running two months.  So they’ve been doing this for four years, more or less; I can understand the desire to shake things up a bit.
The grand award winners were spectacular as always.  The threadwork on the Best of Show quilt (Harmony Within, by Sue McCarty) was breathtaking.  Every bit of gold on that quilt is threadwork.  I think that sort of thing is gorgeous, but I rather wonder if it’s really what quilts are meant to be.  It’s certainly the fashion of the day; almost all the winning quilts were very, very quilted, and I saw one or two breathtaking quilts which had looser quilting and no ribbons.  My favorite quilt was the one which won the World of Beauty award: The Loading Dock, by Mary Buvia, which is very beautiful in person.  Her artist’s statement mentioned that the quilt was in memory of her husband and his favorite holiday.  She worked on it at his chemotherapy appointments and he saw it mostly finished, but sadly the last of the quilting was done after he passed away.
As is also usual I thought the judges were smoking something when they were choosing the category awards in one or two cases.  One of the exceptions was Terry Kramzar’s Mayapples quilt which took a highly deserved blue ribbon in the Art-Naturescapes category.  That was neat to see!  I saw one of Cheryl Lynch’s tile-inspired quilts there too; I am always in awe of Calico Cutters and the amazing artists in the guild.
I bought a few tickets for the grand raffle quilt and stayed for the drawing, but darn it, someone else won.  (And not the guy who bought a hundred tickets and was busily stuffing the ballot drum while I was there.) The raffle quilt was just gorgeous; a dramatic piece in red and white and dark blue with gold scrollwork: A Touch of Texas by Sharon Schamber.  She’s still deservedly popular; her quilt Crimson Promises won the Master Award for Innovative Artistry and also took Viewer’s Choice (and I liked it better than her 2010 Best of Show winner.)
All in all a great day!