What’s Up for the New Year? Previewing the “State of the Art of Quilting” at Road2CA

With the inauguration now in the history books, the nation looks ahead to the President’s annual report on the State of the Union, scheduled this year for Tuesday, February 12. As we move into the new year, it seems a logical time to¬†take a look at¬†the “State of the Art of Quilting,” and what better way than to view a few of the¬†fabulous quilts that took honors at the 2013 Road to California Quilter’s Conference and Showcase, held this past weekend at the Ontario (CA) Convention Center.

Scheduled each year for late January, Road2CA is one of, if not the first big quilting event of the year, which makes it a great sampling of what we might be seeing on show floors, on the covers and pages of our favorite quilting magazines, and on quilting blogs and Pinterest boards over the coming months. If the following quilts are is any indication, the state of quilting remains alive and well!

We lead off with the Best of Show winner, which comes with¬†a $5,000 award, sponsored by Moore’s Sewing Center:¬† Red Feathers, made by Duluth, MN quilter, Claudia Clark Myers, and quilted by Marilyn Badger, of St. George, UT. If you follow the quilt scene, you know this isn’t the first big win for this dynamic and talented team!

Red Feathers, 84″ x 79″, made by Claudia Clark Myers, machine quilted by Marilyn Badger, Best of Show winner at the 2013 Road to California Quilter’s Conference & Show

Red Feathers¬†is¬†Claudia’s original,¬†paper-pieced, machine-appliqu√©d combination of the traditional Feathered Star and Mariner’s Compass designs. Once the top was finished, Marilyn spent three months in “feather immersion,” creating and executing the original, free-motion quilting motifs.

As amazing as this quilt is, it’s even more amazing to discover that lightning¬†struck twice for Marilyn at this year’s show. Her quilt, Euphoria, took 1st Place in the Traditional, Large, Pieced category¬†sponsored by Flynn Quilt Frame Co.

Euphoria, 84″ x 84″, made and quilted by Marian Badger, 1st Place Traditional, Large, Pieced category at the 2013 Road to California Quilter’s Conference & Show

Marilyn used silks, hand-dyed cotton sateen, cotton, and SewBatik gradation fabrics in the construction of¬†her¬†paper-pieced beauty.¬†Inspired by Jacqueline De Jonge’s Circle of Life,¬† Marilyn made the design her own with original appliqu√©, border, and quilting designs.¬†She used a¬†variety of Superior Threads for the quilting and couching, and jewelry findings and hand-sewn crystal beads for embellishment.

Another two-time winner was Rachel Wetzler of St. Charles, IL, who took home 1st Place Traditional, Wall, Appliqué honors for her quilt, Chromatic Transitions. The award was sponsored by Amidon Quiltworks.

Chromatic Transitions, 66″ x 66″, made by Rachel Wetzler, winner of 1st Place Traditional, Wall, Applique at the 2013 Road to California Quilter’s Conference & Show

Rachel’s original design, adapted from a late 1800s Minton tile pattern, “illustrates the versatility of block designs using strategically chosen value and color changes. A design of four tiles pivoting on center makes one block. The quilt contains 25 blocks.”

Rachel’s second winner,¬†titled Rare Birds,¬†depicts the six members of¬†her critique group in a light-hearted manner. “The description, rare birds, aptly describes our lively, talented bunch. Each bird’s personality shines through in everything from the perch it sits on to the top of its head…” Rare Birds captured 3rd Place in the Innovative, Wall, Mixed category, sponsored by Cheri’s Crystals.

Rare Birds, 31″ x 34″, made by Rachel Wetzler, winner of 3rd Place, Innovative, Wall, Mixed Technique at the 2013 Road to California Quilter’s Conference & Show

Finally, here’s a look at Fiesta Mexico, made by Karen Kay Buckley of Carlisle, PA, and machine quilted by¬†Renae Haddadin of Sandy, UT. Fiesta Mexico¬†won the¬†Best Large Quilt award, sponsored by Timeless Treasures.

Fiesta Mexico, 80″ x 90″, made by Karen Kay Buckley, quilted by Renae Haddadin, winner of Best Large Quilt at the 2013 Road to California Quilter’s Convention & Show

Karen’s¬†original, brightly colored¬†appliqu√© designs are stylized with a Mexican flavor; many of the motifs are echoed in Renae’s artful quilting, accomplished with a wide variety of colorful threads.

You’ll find a list (and photos) of all the winners from the 2013 show¬†by clicking here.¬†Next year’s dates¬† have already been announced¬†(January 23 – 26, 2014) so you can start planning now to enter and/or attend. It’s the perfect way to get a “sneak peek” at what quilting holds in store at the start of each year.

Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics DVD and Discussion Guide

And if you’d like¬†an overview of the¬†“state of quilting” in the 21st century, check out¬† Episode 8: Quilt Nation – 20,000,000 and Counting!¬†of the nine-episode documentary, Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics. It’s just one of the many informative and entertaining topics covered in this landmark series.





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