Maria Elkins couldn’t wait to tell us the news, and no wonder. A few weeks ago, the International Quilt Association (IQA) notified her that two of her most recent quilts each won a category award in the fall Judged Show of the International Quilt Association’s, “Quilts: A World of Beauty.”
Well, guess what? She won second place in the Art-People, Portraits, and Figures category for "Broken Dishes" and honorable mention in the Art-Miniature category sponsored by Quilting Arts for "The Violinist." Great news, Maria!
Maria, along with other quilters who entered this year’s IQA judged show, found out what they’d won at the annual “Winner’s Circle” awards ceremony that took place Tuesday, October 13, just before the International Quilt Festival opened at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.
Maria is famous for her portrait quilts, including a series of page-sized quilts she has made for the Journal Quilt Project over the years. I had the pleasure of watching Maria at work when she taped an episode of "Quilting Arts TV" in Season 4, and also a Quilting Arts Workshop DVD, "Making Faces." It's fascinating to see how she turns a photo into a portrait design with fused appliqué, then applies machine stitching to enhance the curves of the face and body. Maria is truly a master of the form.
"I made ‘Violinist’ as a sample for my Quilting Arts Workshop DVD ‘Making Faces’ and used a variation on that same technique for ‘Broken Dishes,’ so thank you for inviting me to tape that Workshop,” Maria says.
"I was originally drawn into quilting by the strong geometric patterns and the fanciful quilt names. Many times I would look at a traditional quilt block and try to figure out why it got its name. The 'Broken Dishes' quilt block is one of those blocks I would let my mind ramble over, and I always imagined a loving, tender moment of forgiveness and acceptance between mother and daughter.
"The image has easily been in my mind for 10 years, and I'm so glad I finally had the opportunity to make it. This quilt is entirely fused appliqué, even the 'pieced' blocks in the background. The large circle is stenciled over the top, and silk organza circles are fused on top. The figures are also fused appliqué using a modified version of the beginner's technique described in my 'Making Faces' Workshop.
"'Violinist' is an interpretation of my oldest daughter, Lydia, who has been playing violin for about 15 years. She loves improvisation, letting the music go where it wills. I love watching the dreamy expression on her face when she's playing. Absolute bliss!"
To see more of Maria’s style of quilting, check out her QA Workshop, “Making Faces: Beginning and Advanced Portraits."
Of course, Maria wasn't the only winner here in Houston. Just being accepted into IQA's Judged Show is an honor, and all the quilts are amazing. But the top eight prize winners in the "Quilts: A World of Beauty" exhibit blew everyone away. If you're not at the show, you can see those quilts in our special new magazine International Quilt Festival: Quilt Scene. This special issue from Quilting Arts Magazine and International Quilt Festival captures the energy, beauty, and community of today's quilt scene, and commemorates the 35th anniversary of International Quilt Festival/Houston. We are so thrilled to be a part of it! If you're reading this and you're coming to the show, be sure to stop by our booth, #1244, for a special Quilt Scene Photo Op. Get the details and times here.
Speaking of which, I'm wanted on the show floor. I'll be reporting more of the festivities on Facebook, Twitter, and my Editor's blog, so stay tuned!