Show You Their Stuff

IQF - Vendormall
Just a tiny fraction of the IQF vendor mall through this porthole view.
IQF Exhbit Hall
Only a fraction of the quilts can be seen through this porthole view of the IQF Exhibit Hall

Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Houston, TX to see the International Quilt Festival (IQF). I’ve been there many times, but always as someone helping work a booth as a vendor or non-profit. This year was the first time in over 6 years that I’ve been there and the first year that I went as a visitor versus a worker.

If you’ve never been to IQF, it truly is an eye-opener. It is the world’s largest annual quilt festival. The biggest question is how can a quilt convention take over a city and fill a convention hall that’s the size of 11 football fields? It baffles my mind, but I’m glad it is what it is.

"Rodeo" by Cathy Wiggins
“Rodeo” by Cathy Wiggins [The top of this quilt is made from deerhide]
"My Hands" by Sandy Curran
“My Hands” by Sandy Curran [I had the personal experience of watching Sandy work on this quilt – amazing to see it finished]
Whenever I go, I’m amazed at the quality of the workmanship and innovation on display. Visiting IQF many years ago is what inspired me on this journey of art quilting. I started as a traditional quilter, following other people’s patterns. Several years of learning the “rules” of the trade, I felt the desire to make something different. I wanted it to be my voice, not someone else’s. By visiting an exhibit like this, you get to see traditional styles and out-of-the-box thinkers.

Just like going to an art exhibit, there is bound to be something that gives you inspiration. Is it the technique, the colors, the style or theme? What makes you say, hmmm?

"Waiting for the Master's Hands" by Eileen Williams
“Waiting for the Master’s Hands” by Eileen Williams [I had the experience of watching Eileen create this quilt. I truly love how she’s captured the paint brushes with batik fabrics]
Last week I had several moments of inspiration and with an exhibit opening exactly a year from now, I really couldĀ  use the motivation. As you may know, I’m a big fan of art. As an artist, I understand the healing powers of creating art. But there’s also inspirational and healing about witnessing art. It can make you think and it can fill you with emotion.

Although you may not be able to make it to IQF – Houston, I encourage you to find art around you. Experience the magic of art by visiting a museum, gallery or your local Arts Council. There are some amazing artists out there waiting to show you their stuff.