“Quilt Nation” Descends on Houston for International Market/Festival

As this post is being written, one of, if not the biggest annual event on the “quilt radar” is winding down in Texas. For the past 10 days, tens of thousands of women and men from around the world—quilters, quilt lovers, quilt scholars, those in the business of quilting—have converged on the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston for the 2012 International Quilt Market and Festival.

The George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, site of the International Quilt Market and Festival

The overriding message? Quilts Do Matter…in fact, they are alive and well!

While we didn’t have a booth at Market or Festival, we did have our ambassadors on the floor, spreading the word about Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics. It was a pleasure to re-connect with many of those companies and individuals who have been so generous to us with their financial support and publicity efforts. It was exciting as well to attract countless new fans to the series among the quilters in attendance.

Thread company Coats and Clark, a WQM series funder, celebrates its 200th anniversary this year.

Here’s a sampling of images captured at the event. All were photographed at the 2012 International Quilt Market and are presented for your personal enjoyment. Please help us protect the rights of the individual quiltmakers and textile artists and refrain from reproducing the images shown here for any commercial purposes. (Thanks to British quiltmaker, Christine Porter, who took many of the following photographs.)


The calm before the storm: the quilt-show floor at International Quilt Market…before the doors opened to the public

There were literally dozens of special exhibits for attendees to enjoy during Market and Festival.

“Diamonds with Flowers” (Losanges de fleurs) by Dominique Husson, part of the exhibit Quilts de Legende

“Tutti Fruitti Village” by Susan Bleiweiss, part of the Tactile Architecture exhibit

“All My Roads Lead Back to You” by Alice Beasley, part of the A New Legacy Revealed: African-American Quilts exhibit, curated by Dr. Carol Mazloomi

And, as always, the competition quilts were amazing.

“Departure” by Kiyomi Takayanagi, entered in the Traditional Pieced category

“A Street in Ireland” by Anne Jenkins and the members of the Ten Slices group,entered in the Group Quilt category

“1952 REO” by Susan Cane, entered in the Art-Pictorial category

Taking home Best of Show (top prize) among the competition quilts was “America, Let it Shine” by Wyoming quiltmaker Sherry Reynolds.

“America, Let It Shine” by Sherry Reynolds, who took home the Best of Show award at the 2012 IQA Show

If you’d like to dig deeper into the scope of today’s quilt culture, Episode 8 of the series Why Quilts Matter: History, Art, & Politics, is just the ticket. Titled “Quilt Nation: 20,000,000 and Counting!”, this episode delves inside this unseen world, meeting its participants, attending its events, analyzing its businesses, periodicals, support services, and technological advancements. Experts also provide a bird’s eye view of the politics, as various festivals, artists, and quilters struggle for the heart and soul of Quilt Nation. Click here for a preview, or here to purchase the entire Why Quilts Matter two-DVD set, which contains all nine episodes, plus special features not seen elsewhere.

Before we sign off, we’d like to send our thoughts, prayers, and good wishes to our friends on the East Coast who are enduring the difficult recovery from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath. We have no doubt that as the wounds heal, many spectacular quilts will be made to record the experience and to comfort those left in need.

Thanks for following us here in the WQM blog. We hope to see you again next week…and please tell your friends about us, too.



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