International Quilt Festival: It’s Showtime!

2011 International Quilt Festival: The Show of Shows

Going to Festival is like going to a party with 50,000 of your closest friends. There’s lots of kissing and hugging, laughing and talking—oh, and did I mention shopping? It’s a party like no other. It’s also a quilt show like no other.

Even though many lucky quilters made it to Festival, not everyone who wanted to be here could.

So . . . for those who wished they could have been here—and for those of you who were here, but spent all your time shopping—I have put together a collection of photographs so you can enjoy the show from your computer.

Because we are BFFs, I have some good news and some bad news to share before we begin.

The bad news is that I experienced several lighting issues while trying to photograph the show quilts. I wish I could say that all my photographs were National Geographic worthy—but I’d be lying.

The good news is that—what I lack in quality—I made up for in quantity. I’m not saying that all the shots are bad, just don’t be surprised when you see a questionable one.

My sincerest hope is that you will find it in your generous quilty heart to forgive me for my technical foibles (the fuzziness . . . the weird color . . . my shadow in the shot . . . to name a few). I’m confident that the Magic Camera knew how to compensate for these lighting issues. Unfortunately for you—and for me—I did not know how to compensate for these issues. I’m still learning how to use the camera, remember?

As most of you know, there were oodles of beautiful quilts on display during Festival, but to be honest, I didn’t photograph them all. I only photographed the coupla hundred that I found intriguing.

Because I didn’t photograph everything at the show—and because we’re BFFs—I have included a few links (below) to other blogs and galleries to enhance your quilt show experience. This way you’ll have an opportunity to see even MORE quilts from this year’s show. Who knows, you might even find a clearer version of one of my blurry quilt shots. 

  • Fiber Reflections: Linda Teddlie Minton You’ll find beautiful quilt photos and stories from her Festival experience. She has created four Festival posts. I urge you to check out each and every one. I’m sure you’ll find her posts as entertaining and inspiring as I have. This lady knows how to enjoy Festival!
  • Luana Rubin of fame, posted a FANTASTIC gallery of quilt photos(She obviously knows how to use her camera.) If that exciting news weren’t enough to get you to go to her site, she also shot several videos of the festivities. When does this woman sleep?
  • Celebration of the Doll You really need to check out this Flickr album. It is composed of photographs taken by various members of the Material Girls. The Material Girls is a cloth dollmaking club in Houston. These photographs are from Celebration of the Doll exhibit. This exhibit was amazing—seriously. 

I know that looking at these photos isn’t the same as being here, but I hope it helped to ease some of the pain you have felt because you missed the show.

Hey! I’ve got a great idea. How about you make plans to come to Houston next year and see the show for yourself?

Come on . . . you know you want to . . .

Okay, let’s all make plans to be at next year’s show. Man, I like that idea.

Besides, you wouldn’t want to miss a party with 50,000 of your closest friends—now would you? Of course not . . . that’s crazy talk.

Okay, we have a date. Yippeee!!!

I’ve marked it in my calendar. This is going to be so much fun!

You can tell me what you plan to wear later, so I can spot you. You should be able to spot me easily. I’ll be the guy walking through the quilt exhibit with the Magic Camera.

Please feel free to stop me and say “Hi.” I’ll have a hug all wrapped up and waiting for you.


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21 Responses to “International Quilt Festival: It’s Showtime!”

  1. Dreamz Happen Quiltz Says:

    YEAH! A party? With my closest friends… in Houston? I would be crazy to miss it! I’ll be the one carrying the biggest shopping bags!!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hey there, It’s so good to hear from you again. I’ll be watching for you, but I think I’m going to need a slightly better description. There are some SERIOUS shoppers at Festival and I’d hate to confuse you with someone else.

      Besides, I’ll want to see what you bought.

  2. Jayardi Says:

    • • • What a plan! I would love to join you there and see your smiling face in person. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this year with us.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hey you, I’d love to see your face in person too. I think Houston would be a fabulous location to do that in.

      Hopefully you will be able to get here sometime soon. I KNOW you would have a ball.

      Festival is like no other quilt show in the US. When you see how BIG it is, you are left speechless. It’s something you really have to see to believe.

      Thanks for checking out the photos. I hope next Festival that I’ll have a few photos of one of your quilts in my gallery.

  3. Norma Fortner Says:

    Thank you so very much for sharing your pictures. That is so great for me. I sure wanted to be there this year. For sure next year. You did a great job with the pictures. See you next year!!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Norma, I’m glad you enjoyed my little show. There is nothing like actually seeing the quilts for yourself, but I think being able to see them in any manner is a blessing.

      I’ll be looking forward to next year. See you there.

  4. KathyE Says:

    Love your blog!

    I thought I saw most of the quilts but I sure missed a lot of them.
    I am amazed at all the talent and imagination and skill AND beauty.

    Wish I could get another hug but I can’t wait in line that long!
    Anyway, it is always wonderful to see your smiling face.

    Thank you!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Kathy, I know what you mean. I thought I saw every quilt too—that is until I see someone else’s photos. There are hundreds of quilts on display and it’s so easy to get overwhelmed by it all.

      You are right. The talent and beauty on display was truly amazing and inspiring.

      I’ll always have a hug waiting for you, whenever you need it. 🙂

  5. Mary M. Moody Says:

    I was at the quilt show, but I found myself rushing from quilt to quilt. Thank you so much for your show allowing me take time and examine these beauties.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Mary, I know how that goes. You know there are so many quilts to see and you don’t want to miss a one, but you go through them so fast, you can’t bask in their beauty.

      I spent a lot of time in the exhibit and still couldn’t take it all in.

      I’m glad you enjoyed my little show. So often you only see the full view of the quilts, but I love the details. I’m glad you do too.

  6. Eddie Landreth Says:

    Wow, what a show! I didn’t get to go to the Houston show this year, but did go for the first time last year (2010). It was overwhelming to say the least! I remember coming home feeling “less than adequate” as a quilter after seeing all the great works there, but inspired as well. And your photo quality looks great, Tom, high marks all around!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Eddie, Yes, Festival is amazing and overwhelming. It is inspiring in ways that I can’t adequately articulate.

      The quilts in this show are some of the finest examples of quilt making in the world. The talent and dedication required to make these show pieces should leave us awestruck, and they most often do.

      The only thing we as quilters have to decide is if we are willing to do what these people did. I think anyone can make a prize-winning show quilt. All they have to do is what the prize-winning quilters do.

      These prize-winning elite quilters do what it takes—no matter how long it takes—to make their pieces. This level of dedication to the craft is what separates them from the rest of us.

      These amazing pieces are a testament to their love of the art/craft, perfecting their skills and bringing a vision to fruition. These quilts would be made, even if there were no Quilt Festival. The artists are driven to make them.

      Because of Quilt Festival we are able to see these magnificent pieces in one place. That is one of the truly amazing things about this show. It brings the best quilts in the world under one roof.

      I hope to see you at Festival next year!

  7. lindaschiffer Says:

    Oh, Tom, thank you so much for sharing your photos!! I felt like I was standing with my nose inches away, admiring the quilting right along with you. 🙂

    Would love to meet you in person at the Houston show some day … if I ever do get to go, it will probably be to attend Market.

    🙂 Linda

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Linda, You are MOST welcome. When I look at quilts, it tends to make the white glove ladies/gentlemen nervous.

      I love the visual impact of the quilts, but it’s the detail that sends a tingle up my leg. I could get lost in some of the detail I saw.

      It is so inspiring to see these quilts close up.

      If you come to Houston you have to let me know. Together we can really make the white glovers nervous. 🙂

      I have to say that if you are coming to Festival, you have to stay for Festival a day or two longer. Festival is completely different than Market. I didn’t think that could be possible, but OMG!, the difference in the two is astounding.

      I think both venues are fun, but Market is like your vegetables and Festival is like dessert.

      You don’t want to miss out on dessert do you? Of course not. Dessert is the BEST part. 🙂

  8. Carla Says:

    Wow I don’t remember seeing some of these quilts and I know I was there. LOL. Thanks for sharing your pictures. The one quilt that I also have a picture of is Mr Lindbergs Neighborhood. There’s just so many to see.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Carla, You are most welcome. Your enthusiasm over the shots makes it worth the effort.

      I loved Mrs. Lindberg’s Neighborhood! It was so joyful and entertaining. It made me one to make one of my own. My neighborhood would have to have a few fancy houses, so I could embellish them. 🙂

  9. Linda Teddlie Minton Says:

    WOW, Tom, and I thought I took a lot of pictures! (Thanks for including the link to my pics.) Your tour through the Festival quilts is fantastic, and I really appreciate that you took so many detail shots. Like me, you obviously believe that, so many times, “the quilting makes the quilt.” No wonder I missed you … you must have had your face buried in your camera the whole time, LOL!

    Party next year in Houston? Count me in! I miss my Houston buddies now that I’m in San Antonio. Let’s make a plan!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hey you! I am glad you enjoyed my photos. I couldn’t have made the post without your link. I’d been keeping track of your posts in preparation of mine.

      You did a wonderful job of capturing the show and what goes on their.

      You are correct. I think quilting makes the quilt. When you only see full view shots, you miss so much. As you can see, I love to explore the details of a piece. When I’m photographing I forget about everything around me. Who knows, we could have been standing next to each other at one time.

      Okay, we have a date. See you next year!

  10. Anne Barber Says:

    Thank you Tom! You bring the quilt world to this country bumkin. Love you!

  11. Jackie Says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your photos, it was like being there. Maybe next year.

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