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Recap of International Quilt Festival/ Long Beach

28 Jul 2009

Oh, I am so sad. Someone slip me a happy pill, please. It's actually over. 2009 International Quilt Festival/ Long Beach is now past, but what an indelible memory it left!

International Quilt Festival/Long Beach, second year in the running, is, well, perfect. It has a lot of things going for it. For starters, it takes place in California in July; it's easy to fly to (thank you JetBlue for that Boston/Long Beach leg); the ocean is close by and equipped with a running path (I ran every morning, sometimes all the way to the pier when I was feeling ambitious); there are great eats just steps from the convention center (might I recommend the Pacific Papaya Roll at Gladstones); it's a top notch quilt show with the most beautiful quilts; and with the beach, restaurants, and afterhours entertainment within a two-three-block radius, there was no need for a cab all week (which of course meant more money spent replenishing the fat quarter stash).

Let the pictures do the talking...

Above from left to right: Jamie Fingal, Judy Coates Perez, Leslie Jenison, me, Melanie "Melly Mells" Testa, and Jane LaFazio. A very special thanks to Jamie (and assistant Leslie) for buying, dyeing, and painting these super groovy flower power aprons!

A ton of fun was had in the Open Studios portion of Make It University!(TM)

Above: Artists Alisa Burke and Melly Mells. I don't think they had met in person before, but they quickly hammed it up like old chums.

Melly was a popular attraction at Open Studios (all the artists were). Here she is demonstrating how she machine stitches the layers of her collaged quilts together.

Artist Linda Blinn was on hand in Open Studios much of Friday showing people how they can apply mixed-media techniques to home decor. (Thanks, Linda!)

Prior to the show, Melly encouraged folks coming to Long Beach to arm themselves with ATCs inspired by techniques in her book, Inspired to Quilt. Above are some of JoJo's ATCs to trade on our ATC wall. Aren't they dee-lish?

Judy brought her 19-year-old daughter, Nina, who shared with me her felted and stitched treats: a cupcake and hostess. We have a budding fiber artist in the family!

My luncheon lecture on Thursday, "Surviving the Runway; The Stuff You're Not Supposed to Know" took place, and to entice people to stay awake in case I bored them to death was to periodically give stuff away, including a very generous prize of an entire suitcase of cotton threads from Aurifil. This budding quilter is set for life! (Thank you so much, Aurifil!)

Above David Charity shares his quilt, "Fossibilities" at Karey Bresenhan's Quilt Art/SAQA reception. This reception is always a fun time, which involves tasty food, wine, and Show & Tell (thank you, Karey!). David picked up quilting just a couple of years ago, and he and his wife now quilt together in their downtime (when they're not working long hours in the tech. industry). Nice going, David!

Above Maggie Winfield shares her latest wearable creation at the Quilt Art/ SAQA reception. Maggie is one of my all-time favorite, spirited people, and she shared with me the inspiration and development for this ensemble:


Make It University!(TM)

Our Make It University! Workshops were again very popular with attendees. Above Laura West Kong with her daughter took one of Jamie Fingal's workshops. 

A second mother-daughter set got into another of Jamie's workshops. I think Jamie's affiliation with Girl Scouts of America made her a real hit with little (and big) kids alike!

Above: My sister-in-law, Sally, and her daughter, Lindsey (both ran the Quilting Arts booth) were able to take Alisa Burke's graffiti painting workshop Sunday afternoon just before the show closed. They both swore they could never paint and were leery to take her Workshop, but once finished, they were preening with their success and eager  to turn their pieces into purses. (They have been converted. Yes!)

Saturday Night: Surviving the Runway '60s Style

Once again, we took the house down with Surviving the Runway, a challenge I facilitate every Saturday night at the shows. This time we went back to the '60's and created flower power couture. I haven't laughed so hard all summer, and I think everyone had a total blast. We had excellent prizes for the top designers (a suitcase of Aurifil thread, Jacquard paints, magazines, etc.). People were equipped with a sheet of fun foam, pipe cleaners, plastic flowers, stencils, and other tacky bits to create their couture, and of course we played music from the '60s throughout. 

The Playlist:

L.A. Woman ~ The Doors

With a Little Help From My Friends ~ The Beatles

Truckin' ~ Grateful Dead

I Got You Babe ~ Sonny and Cher... and two brave students who sang along in MIU

Mustang Sally ~ Wilson Pickett

Lola ~ The Kinks

Build Me Up Buttercup ~ The Foundations

California Girls ~ The Beach Boys

In true '60s fashion, people helped their brethren, but someone watching the festivities shook her head in chagrin and remarked, "These people are creating bras and panties. If they really wanted to be representing the 60's, they'd be burning them!"

This California Girl made sure the Finale Runway Strut had a Beach Boys' flair:

Above I'm giving Trudy, our first place winner, her prize of Aurifil Threads. Her smile says it all...a joyous time.

My Own Quilt in a Show

For the first time I had a quilt exhibited at International Quilt Festival. I am a die-hard, dissect-every-episode-to-death "Sopranos" fan, and for the Silver Screen exhibit I had a quilt on display called "This Thing of Ours." Making this quilt was something rather personal, something important I needed to see through.

Above: My sister-in-law Sally and I pose alongside my quilt.

The accompanying narrative for my piece:

Those who’ve watched HBO’s “The Sopranos” know this isn’t just a television show about wise guys.

There’s a little bit of Tony in all of us: impulsive and selfish; concerned our friends will rat us out; living with the guilt of whacking others (so to speak); distrustful of those who are supposed to have our backs; and deep down, a little panicked that in the end––and despite our best efforts––the ones we love most will fly away. 

Not only were such heavy issues and ensuing plot lines handled so masterfully by David Chase and his posse of writers and actors, but also the show was hands-down funny. It’s no wonder millions of people waiting patiently––sometimes for years––between seasons to find out what would happen to the Don and his crew next. 

I can only hope that the intensely disappointing, anticlimactic last minute of the series finale was conceived for one reason, and that is…the movie’s getting made!  Here’s to “The Sopranos” making it to the silver screen.


In Closing

I had a total blast at this show and admit at the close during breakdown I went into my usual teary funk, which I dub PPQSD (read this post to learn more about this yet-to-be recognized DSM IV disorder). My solace is that Houston is a mere 10 weeks away! It can't come soon enough.

A special thanks to my sister-in-law, Sally Murray, and my niece, Lindsey Murray, for helping me during this show, and for making sure that Sunday night after we broke the booth down my PPQSD didn't get the best of me!

And Lastly, My Quandary...

My 20th high school reunion is (finally) taking place Saturday, October 17 in San Francisco. I have yet to make a high school reunion of mine, and with the onset of Facebook, I have reconnected (and laughed) with old friends I've lost touch with over the last 20 years. I have spent the last few months waffling, seriously considering leaving Houston early during Festival to fly to my hometown to attend my reunion, but in the end...I think... Houston wins. I just can't imagine missing any part of it. I hope you'll join me in making it a really joyous time!

**** 7/31 UPDATE

Judy Coates Perez wrote a few blog entries on Long Beach and posted some videos too! Click here to read her blog!





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on 28 Jul 2009 7:53 PM

Looks like everyone had a fabulous time.  Your quilt is beautiful Pokey!

on 28 Jul 2009 8:52 PM

Well, I hope you won't be too sad missing your reunion... here in Houston we'll try to make you feel welcome and happy! Great blog post, Pokey, thanks for it. I'm currently planning my Houston show itinerary and if I have half as much fun as you all did in Long Beach (I was born there!), then I'll count myself lucky.

Maybe I'll even have a chance to shake your hand and say hi. :D

on 28 Jul 2009 9:56 PM

So much fun, thanks again! =(^_^)=

on 29 Jul 2009 6:28 AM

Congratulations on enjoying your own quilt on the wall! Your work is always gorgeous. Kelli

lisali wrote
on 29 Jul 2009 8:11 AM

WOW Pokey!  That looks so fun!!!

My fav was Maggie Winfield, Queen of Dots and her walmart shoes!

Your Quilt is Wonderful!  

Ohhhh I wish I was there!

Bravo for a great post, Grinning Wildly, LI

jojo wrote
on 29 Jul 2009 11:49 AM

It was a fabulous time!    It was great meeting you Pokey (Hippo-less).

I need to win a few poker tournaments to make it to Houston but if I find my way there - I'll have the scotch!

ps - I went to my high school reunions - 10 & 20 - Quilt Festival is sooooo much more fun and in the present.

on 29 Jul 2009 4:55 PM

Gosh, your photos and videos almost make me feel like I was there! Thanks so much for sharing these. Neat quilt, too (but we need detail shots!) Hope I'll see you in Houston.

robbieklow wrote
on 30 Jul 2009 9:19 PM

Ahhh, so cute to see the daughters! And Maggie is not as over the top as I've seen her before. However, her polka dot outfit is adorable and if you are depressed, you should just watch the video a few more times. it certainly made me laugh.

Looks like you guys had a great time in Long Beach!



linnerlu wrote
on 1 Aug 2009 7:45 PM

Oh Pokey, you have too much fun for any 10 people!  How fun to see Jamie and Leslie in your Open Studios picture.   My favorite from the above (how to choose???) is the giggly interview with the ever-vibrant Maggie Winfield ... she is such a hoot, and also a wonderful friend.  Hope to see you in Houston soon!

ShereeS6 wrote
on 13 Aug 2009 8:12 AM

What a great quilt you made!  I enjoyed seeing all these pictures.  I will be exhibiting at both quilt market and quilt festival in HOuston for the first time and was browsing around to see what festival was like.  I went to the last market in Houston, but could not make it to festival.  Thanks for sharing these images.  I'll definitely have to stop by Make It University to try some fun techniques...if I can steal away from my booth!

Hope to see you there!


Pokey wrote
on 5 Oct 2009 3:42 PM

Who's joining me in making 35 ATCs (artist trading cards) to celebrate the 35th anniversary of International

Pokey wrote
on 21 Oct 2009 1:15 PM

Brace yourselves! I think I may about to set a world record in the Blogosphere for the number of photos

Pokey wrote
on 5 May 2010 3:55 PM

Thanks to everyone for participating in our "How Entertaining" art quilt challenge! As usual