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.


  1. Oh Cathy... superb! this show is on my bucket list. Oh the two elephants.... I sent a link to your blog to my art quilt group... thanks girl!

  2. Thank you for sharing Cathy. They are wonderful

  3. Thank you for sharing these quilts. I am far away from California, and was happy to get a chance to see them.


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