Sunday, January 27, 2019

Road to California 2019 Report, Part 2

In our last installment, I showed about 30 masterpiece quilt from Road to California 2019. Below are 30+ more. They come with the same disclaimers:
  • I didn't come close to photographing everything I adored, because truly, I adored everything, and there were more than 1000 quilts at the show.
  • Some fabulous quilts aren't here because the photo I took was so bad. Even my acceptable photography is off-kilter. So please - forgive me. If you want a better view, I suggest googling the quilter's name. Artists who are skilled enough to get quilts in this high-skills show are likely to have websites and/or quilt photos online.
  • There were entire sections of the show I didn't photograph because I had to RUN past them (I didn't have a lot of time at the show.)
  • There may be identification errors here, because the labels were placed in groups, on music stands, at a distance; it was easy to get confused.  Please write to tell me about any errors so I can correct them immediately.
  • If one of these quilts is yours and you don't want it here, email me and I will take it down. (Reach me at 
  • Also feel free to post links to your own photos from the show (or show quilts you made) in the comments. (Quilts that didn't get in the show are also welcomed!)
With that, here's more of the wonderland that is Road to California 2019.  Among the masterpieces, you may be asking, which won Best of Show? Here it is, Janet Stone's "Garden Variety Sampler".
Of course, "garden variety" is a misnomer, because this quilt also won top prize at Houston in 2017, and the AQS show in Grand Rapids last year. There's a much better, high-resolution picture at The Quilt Show site, here.

Next, a mind-boggling innovative quilt called "From Rags to Stitches," by Flora Joy of Tennessee. "Twelve separate, free standing curvy blocks have been a separate base quilt. Viewers can lift each Dutch Doll/Sunbonnet Sue to read that block's unusual (true) story...'" The quilting and craftsmanship is perfection, and it includes tiny trapunto Sue's between blocks. See a much better photo, details, and many more of Flora's brilliant quilts on her website.)

Andrea Brokenshire of Texas made "Dance of the Twirly Girls," which won a ribbon for best domestic machine quilting. "This quilt is dedicated to my Aunt Esther and Aunt Helen that left their earthly bonds within a month of each other...I needed to put my sadness somewhere, so I pulled out the fuschia top that I had painted that previous summer.... These fuschia blossoms were at least 4-5" long and danced in the wind. While stitching, I thought of my aunties twirling around in a a joyous dance. They are the Twirly Girls." (See more of Andrea's art quilts here.)
Standing close to "Marie's Treasure," by Marilyn Badger of Utah, is an overwhelming experience. And speaking of Aunts, Marilyn writes, "My favorite Aunt Marie crocheted doilies like nobody else. She was the sweetest lady in my world. When I saw this hand-dyed doily in my friend, Wendy Richardson's booth, I knew I had to make this quilt in her honor. Add some beautiful fabric by another friend, Paula Nadelstern, lots of embroidery, beads and crystals and Marie's Treasure was born."
Next, the "Animals" section. Several had the influence of Susan Carlson, renowned quilt teacher, author, and animal portraitist, who uses collage, with small glued prints and other fabrics. (Her detailed account of the six Road quilts that started in her classes is here.) "On the Edge" by Laurie Lile of Nevada is based on her husbands' photo of a young desert bighorn ram.... The sheep is entirely constructed of fabric collage, and I painted the sky background."
"Sisters, Best Friends," by Sandra Mollon of California, was inspired by a photo by Deb Simon of two Asian elephants. "They seemed to have great affection for each other, reminding me of the closeness of my sisters. It is made from commercial cottons and batik fabrics, and is enhanced with ink and oil pastels."
"Technicolor Dream Parrot" by Roxanne Nelson of Calgary, Canada, was started in a Susan Carlson workshop. "The term 'Technicolor' refers to the layering of colors to obtain a bright, intense result. I combined glue and fused, raw edge applique. I layer multiple fabrics to achieve subtle color. Each piece is individually stitched to add texture and dimension."
In the "Fantasy" category, Sandra Branjord of Arizona made "Where Muses Dwell." "With this fantasy storyboard...I invite the viewer into my world and bare my mind and soul." I apologize for not getting a better picture of this wonderful quilt - Sandra's background is in paper collage and assemblage, and you can see more of her unique work on the Studio Art Quilter's Association site, here.
Aki Sakai of Japan made "Small Happy Crazy Quilt," and like so many quilts by Japanese quilters, it is quirky, meticulous, and astounding. I had to battle extra-dense crowds to get close enough to take a picture.
This stuff is TINY.
If I were a poet, I would write sonnets about this edge trim. 
Eileen Daniels of Wisconsin made "Hope Rising" as "a celebration of life, after being 5 years cancer free....Stitchery is my addiction! I love the textures of the stitches, beads, and crystals."
"Song of Summer" by Bethanne Nemesh is a silk whole cloth wall quilt, featuring "original flora and fauna, and Japanese-inspired free motion background fills." 
This jaw-dropping edging "is created with individually-made gradation bead scallops, accented with tiny seed beads."
Also in the fantasy category, "Her Half," by Colleen Jensen Carlson of North Dakota, quilted by Joan Mork, is a large bed quilt that's 3/4th "Hers", and 1/4th "His".  Carlson writes, "I have been asked by quilters if my husband is tall and slender. The answer is No."  
This is "Shh," by Ann Turley of California. "Silence was the theme chosen by my art group, and what speaks more to silence than a librarian?" She created a fused paper background, incorporating newspaper, napkins, tissue paper, and dressmaking patterns. "Details with paint, ink and crayon bring a spark of reality to the face."
"Bringing Down the House" by Jan Hutchison of Kansas was based on a drawing she did in high school of musical witches. She used Inktense pencils for detail and shading. 
"Night Trawlers" by Flora Joy of Tennessee (who also made the interactive Sunbonnet Sue above) is based on a digitally printed painting by Robert Steven Connett, from whom she has permission. "It's educational/artistic purpose is to entice students to further explore the sciences, language and art...Unique stitching techniques include variable stacked trapunto and scalloped/buttoned borders that are enhanced by 18 removable dangling curriculum cards." (More info and photos on Flora's website.)

In the "Pieced, Large" category, Anita Huber of Ohio made "Boudinet Clan" to represent each of her family members with a feathered star. 
"Boogie Wonderland" is by Sharon Casey of California, who writes, "Music has always been a large part of my life, and I wanted to express it in my artwork as well." 
I adore subway maps, so I was thrilled to see "London Tube Map," by Carmen Michele Braithwaite of California. "Finding the perfect Polka Dot for the stations was a challenge." 
"Rainbow City" is by Claire Victor of Arizona, who says, "I have an endless fascination with the tumbling block...This is English paper pieced, hand sewn and machine quilted." I need to study it for a couple of weeks to figure out where the blocks begin and end!
There was a special exhibit of quilts from Iceland, and I especially liked this rune-themed quilt by Harriet Bollig, who writes,  "I love the rustic nature of the runes and the fact they have meanings and history. This quilt uses the 16 symbols of the Younger Futhark runic alphabet."
The 2018 Hoffman challenge used a digital fabric printed with jewels, resulting in a very rich rainbow-colored exhibit area! Here's a clutch bag made by Amy Allen. I love the pearled handle.
And here's one of my favorites from the challenge quilts, a multipanel piece by Rebecca Haley called "Shadow Dancers" 
Next, a stunner called "Splash" by Barbara Lloyd. "This year's challenge fabric was incorporated to simulate the luster of wet paint. Beads were applied for additional sparkle, texture and interest."  (Please disregard the cut-off in the upper right corner - that's my photograph, not the quilt, which is 38" square.)
"Lauri's Balloons" by Gemma Potts, is a glorious quilt that was dedicated to her dear friend, who is losing her battle with breast cancer. "I told her I was going to dedicate it to her and she said  the balloons were going to bring her to heaven." I wish I had a better photo of this truly gorgeous piece....
In the Naturescapes category, my friend Phyllis Cullen made "Fern Forest." Phyllis writes, "I love to walk through the giant ferns in the rainforest of my adopted home, Hawaii..." Phyllis is a fantastic art quilter and teacher - I took her stained glass quilt class a couple of years back. Find more of her work at 
This piece. "Sacred Place," is by Kathy McNeil of Washington State, who writes, "hiking through the red rock country takes your breath away."
Christina McCann of Oregon made "Roots and Branches." She wrote, "I yearn for the silence of a walk in the woods and the intrigue when coming across an old building. This quilt was improvisational piecing with a vague idea in my head." 
And finally, as this blog post, thankfully, fades away, here's "Sunset at Mohave Point," by Cathy Geier of Wisconsin, who based it on her photograph of the rock formations at the Grand Canyon. "The rocks almost glowed as the light shown on them created a spectacular drama."
I have one more disclaimer to add to this blog post - every one of these quilts was a trillion times better in person. So try to attend your local (or distant) quilt shows! You'll be glad you did! 
My first installment of quilts from the show is here
UPDATE: More quilts and trends from the show are on the Craft Industry Alliance page, here.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Staggering Quilts at Road to California 2019, Part I

OMG, Road to California 2019, in Ontario, California. I was beyond honored - stunned, really - to have this English Paper Pieced quilt in this show; the icing on the cake was that my stunning DH came with me to see it!
Setting aside my own quilt - I could only see the flaws as it hung in a forest of masterpieces - here's some  objective advice: If you only go to one quilt show a year, this would be a great choice. There were more than 1,000 quilts, and I needed a thesaurus to come up with the superlatives that they  deserve - astounding, breathtaking, jaw-dropping, spectacular, staggering, and so on! They came from all over the US and the world. By the time I left the show, I was exhausted by awe!

I also needed a thesaurus to describe the crowds, hordes, mobs, multitudes, throngs, etc. of attendees at the show on Thursday, the day the show opened. (UPDATE: Overall attendance approached 50,000.) One could barely move in the aisles and the vendors' booths. If "Road," (as quilters affectionately call the show), is any indication, the quilting industry is in fantastic shape.

I took hundreds of pictures, and here are about 30 of my favorites. Disclaimer: These are the quilts at which I happened to fulfill the impulse to snap a picture. Between dodging crowds, the sheer numbers of quilts, and being repeatedly thunderstruck, I couldn't possibly photograph everything I adored!

My apologies if your quilt isn't here and you wish it were; or if your quilt is here and you wish it weren't. In the latter case I will take it down immediately (email me at

I welcome corrections, clarifications, etc. The labeling of these quilts was sometimes confusing - multiple labels were propped on music stands between quilts -  sometimes at a considerable distance. So please forgive me, write to me about any mistakes and I will correct this post immediately.

Ready? Let's go. Near my quilt was gorgeous "Painted Magnolia" by Catherine Butterworth of Australia, based on hand-weaving designs.
I loved its colors, and also the colors on the quilt below. It's "Orange Orchard Trails," by Jenny Bacon from Australia. (Her website is
Next, "Stitch'n'Grow" by Linda Evans of California. She made a different leaf every day and posted her progress on Instagram at @stitchngrow - you can see closeups of this gorgeous piece there. 
Nancy Arseneault of Arizona made this quilt, based on a pattern by Esther Aliu. It includes Seminole piecing, rickrack, and double piped binding. The cheddar and periwinkle color scheme was inspired by a Kleenex box!
Next, "Sunshine" by Katherine Jones of Australia. "Inspired by the sun and my love of applique dots." The dots are perfection. (All the dots in this show were perfection.) 
"Mason Jar Bouquet" by Deanna Steel of Idaho, includes applique, beading and fabric painting. 
Master quilter Zena Thorpe's "over-the-top "For Love of Ornament," was inspired by the 1856 book, "The Grammar of Ornament." 
This is "Taber Welborn Family Tree" by Susan Taber Atlas of California: 
Next, "Ring of Posies," by Sandy Voering, from a purchased pattern started by her mother, finished by her, when she was 79. It was purchased at an auction and quilted by Joy Voltenberg. The quilting is insanely great. (But then again, the quilting in all these quilts is insanely great.)
Below, "Lessons in Botany & Entomology" by Ann Horton of California. There's an alphabet in there. "Flowers, fruits, and the incredible array of insects that make up our natural world inspired this colorful array. Old botanical prints fascinate me....improv piecing of curves and setting helped me play with my 40 year stash of of fabrics....."
Audra Rasnake of Virginia titled this "Between Heaven and Earth," inspired by stained glass windows of European cathedrals, made with batiks, using reverse applique.
Below, the staggering "Flower Festival" by Sachiko Chiba of Japan, who modestly says, "I hope to continue making flower quilts." 
"Dramatically Diagonal" by Terry Aske of Canada. "My inspiration: The massive metal Vancouver Bienniale sculpture WOW Westminster, by Jose Resende. This 140 foot installation comprises 4 forty foot shipping containers precariously cantilevered to form a W shape."
"Loving Amsterdam" by Jan Soules of California, based on her photos:
"In the Beginning" by Jenny Beasley of Arizona, inspired by Genesis. 
"Mont St. Michel Memories," by Linda Schmidt of California, a portrait of the island off the coast of Normandy:
I loved the next quilt because I've been making skyscraper quilts. The label gave it another level of meaning. It was made by Marilyn Ettinger, and quilted by Linda Natale. It was submitted to Road by Lois Hale, who explained on the label, "This was the last quilt Marilyn Ettinger made. She died suddenly on August 3, 2018. I am entering this quilt on her behalf because that was her plan. She was inspired to make this quilt because she loved New York City and lived there many years. She was a very prolific quilter, gifted teacher, and will be missed by many." 
Next, "Baker Beach" by Sandra Mollen of California: "I was inspired to see if I could capture in fabric the feel of the water, and the reflections of the Golden Gate Bridge. It is made from fused cotton fabrics, some hand-dyed, and a small amount of Ultrasuede for the cables. I also used some Tsukineko inks and markers for details."
"Night on the Bayou" by Betty Jo Tatum of Virginia, who writes that it was inspired by art by Disney artist Joel Christopher Payne. She purchased the right to use it as the basis for this quilt. "Fireflies are glow-in-the-dark paint with hot fix crystals." !
In the abstract department, below is a quilt called "2 Degrees Celsius," made by Stephanie Ruyle of Denver, in collaboration with her Bee Sewcial group. "I was the principal instigator of the prompt that drove the creation of this quilt, as well as the one who assembled all the 'blocks' into a whole quilt." It was quilted by Christine Perrigo, and block contributors are Leanne Chahley, Karen Foster, Felicity Ronaghan, Marci Debetaz, Silvia Sutters, M-R Charbonneau, Debbie Jeske, Anne Sullivan and Hillary Goodwin. "The quilt is a collaborative story about climate change."
Sue Polansky of Massachusetts made this street scene of Cuba. " I am in love with the beautiful decrepitude of the buildings and the warmth and resourcefulness of the residents. Life is lived out on the streets...." 
Next, "Sewing Seeds" by Maren Johnston of California. "I find inspiration from my garden and orchard, and use bold, graphic shapes to evoke a tribal feel."
"Stone Lakes" by Jan Soules of California, was inspired by her photo of the landscape in the nearby Stone Lakes Wildlife Refuge. "The scenery and colors were amazing. This quilt began in a class with Jean Wells. I made my own pattern and abstracted the details."
"Plain and Simple", by Jodi Robinson of Pennsylvania, has elaborate quilting that is anything but plain or simple. "I love the idea of taking a very clean, simple quilt design, and challenging myself to enhance, but not overwhelm the piecing with my machine quilting. This was the first quilt where I utilized some basic computerized designs, and then filled in with freehand quilting."
Below, "Bubble Ballet" by Birgit Schueller of Germany. "I designed this circular array of six sets of bright different size, semi-transparent, spiraling circles and had them digitally printed on cotton sateen fabric. I chose one color thread for each set of circles, and due to the shading within each of them, the thread color seems to change between sections of the same circle. This adds a third dimension to the circles, turning them into bubbles.  'Bubble Ballet' seems to be spinning in an endless loop!"
"Annularity" by Elizabeth Eastmond of California, was "inspired by the wooden floor tiles found in one of Gaudi's constructions in Barcelona....I was further inspired by the celestial show put on by the eclipse in 2017, giving the quilt a celestial name."
"Carnival' was made by Beth Nufer, quilted by Clem Buzick. "I wanted to make a modern quilt with a 3-D effect. I used silk fabric with a gradated background fabric in cotton." 
"Perceptions of Life" is by Linda Anderson of California, who writes, "My work is created with similar themes that have become a core part in expressing my life's message....people, places, perspective and photography. These elements help me describe the wonder of humans around the world and the life story each one represents." 
Just for fun, "Zipit - A Fidget Quilt" by Jeffrey Warner of California, made for a Cotton & Steel fabric challenge. "Five zippers have been built into this three dimensional quilt. The perfect quilt for the fidgity person." 
There were several special exhibits. Here are two quilts from the exhibit "Journeys in Stitch," featuring quilts by Gillian Travis. First, a scene from India that incorporates real sari fabric: 
And a delightful sardine/anchovy (?) quilt inspired by Portugal
UPDATE: 30 more quilts from the show are in my next blog post, here.