I've been home less than 24 hours now, but the past 13 days of excitement and joy I just experienced at Quilt Market and Festival are just bubbling below the surface. So, here are my thoughts on what the Ruby Jubilee has meant to me. Pull up a chair, this is long...
What I expected:
1. It would be a tremendous honor for my quilt, Red and White--by the Numbers, to represent the 40th anniversary of International Quilt Festival. I've attended Market every year since 1996 and both Market and Festival every year since 1999, so I know how important the Commemorative quilt is.
2. I would LOVE the tote bag and show pins!
3. I would not have a lot of time to hang around my quilt because, first and foremost, I had my duties as part of the Education Team to perform.
4. It would be a grand time in my life.
All of those things get a big Check Mark.
What I did NOT expect
1. Images of my quilt would be everywhere.
At the Hilton Americas Registration Desk.
In the ads in the Houston Chronicle every day.
On all signs, everywhere, in taxi cabs, restaurants, stores, everywhere.
All over downtown Houston on the street poles.
Signage at the opening to each of the five halls. This is from Market and was changed for Festival. My quilter asked if I could take it home for wallpaper! No.
The cake at the Champagne celebration Saturday night.
The lovely tote bag and show pins. Yes, I know the photo is upside down on the show catalog. NO BIG DEAL. Things happen.
2. People would take 1000's of photos in front of my quilt. It will be a permanent reminder of their trip to this very special show. And that I would feel so humbled and honored by that.
3. The employees of Quilts Inc. who have known me for years as one of the "3rd Floor workers", that is, the Education Team, would be so excited for me and call me "Rock Star". If I ever needed to feel the love, all I had to do was go downstairs and they would make me feel special.
Most of the "1st Floor Workers", those who handle the show duties, with smiles and enthusiasm.
4. My boss, Judy Murrah, would be my biggest champion. I adore her and thank her for including me in Market and Festival.
Here are a few of the "3rd Floor Workers", better known as the Education Team.
5. The Faculty would be pleased to know I made the quilt. Most of them only know me as the person who takes good care of them in the Education Office. It was surprising and fun to see them start to see me as a quilter, not just a worker. And to want my autograph on their tote bag!
A good friend of mine said, "You have been this good for 20 years but no one knew it. Now, everybody knows it." And that was surprising but feels about right.
6. My hometown friends would get a kick out of my "celebrity". I received quite a few emails of love and support from guild members and many students who reminded me I taught them to quilt and infected them with the quilt-passion bug.
7. Good friends would be super-excited for me--they really ramped up the experience. A long-time friend from K-12, Eileen Williams, attends the show every other year and she had two quilts in the IQA juried show. We spent as much time as we could together, along with her friends, Laurie and Nancy. Eileen is an art quilter, check out her incredible work at Eileen Fiber Art Quilts.
And here we are:
And another long-time friend, my maid of honor, Judy, came from Philadelphia to see the show. This is a big deal when you learn she is not a quilter. Her sister is and has a friend who lives in Houston so they both made the trip--a true friend. Here we are before Judy got overwhelmed with the size of the show:
I only wish the long-arm quilter, Pamela Joy Spencer Dransfeldt, could have come from Camarillo, CA to experience some of this excitement too. Many people took detailed photos of her incredible quilting and the big name long-armers who saw it told me they were impressed by her artistry. I found her 6 years ago on Facebook. You can too: Pam's Facebook page
. Here we are in Long Beach, with the quilt I made for her and she quilted for herself:
UPDATE: Check out this blog with many photos of the quilting: Thanks, Sue Garman!
8. Strangers were excited to meet me, wanted the postcard I handed out to anyone interested, and "can't wait to tell my friends I met you" was said frequently. That's odd. I talk to lots of people at the show in my role as part of the Education Team but this was different. I was the focus of attention in the conversation. A little surreal. Including the group of 8 New York quilters who met me at the airport yesterday as we all headed for home. Marti Michell, a faculty member and rock star in her own right, told them who I was, and they got very excited and a little loud, took pictures of me and wanted their postcards autographed. The rest of the folks in the gate were wondering who the heck I was. Funny.
9. There was a great article about the Red and White Quilts in the Houston Chronicle Saturday. Other than not liking my photo, it was a wonderful honor to have my story told. The author told me it got more hits on their online site than any other this weekend. Enjoy: Red, White and Bold. If the link does not get you to the complete article, Google Kathy Huber Barbara Black Houston Chronicle and that should get you the link to the whole thing. There are 24 photos of red and white quilts included there.
10. The Red and White Quilts were displayed in the stunning circular display used in the March 2011 Infinite Variety exhibit in New York City. This was a tribute to that incredible exhibit and I didn't know we were doing that--amazing! None of the quilts in Houston were from that private collection but were similar, especially the vintage and antique quilts.
11. I would spend a record-breaking LOW amount of money. Here is what I bought:
Two bundles of Cotton + Steel's new collection. I also got a jar of skin cream from the Honey Guy and a magazine subscription to Quiltmania.
That's it. If you know me, you must be shocked. I got a few tote bags and pins and a T-shirt and a lifetime of memories. Priceless.
What little time I had on the first floor was spent looking at all the quilts, so many wonderful exhibits this year! I was honored to have two quilts in the 500 Traditional Quilts exhibit. A new book by the same name was released in September and more than 250 of those quilts were there. I am in some amazing company and so enjoyed really admiring the rest up close.
12. Finally, while I was hoping my quilt would sell, I could not be sure. On Wednesday I found out the quilt would be purchased as part of the Quilts Inc. Corporate collection! Must admit, I got a little teary-eyed--this was my dream. It will be well-cared for and many other people will get to see it over the coming years. My joke all along has been: "I want to sell it before I have to wash it!" Success!
13. And I did not expect that this experience would make me even more certain I will spend the rest of my days making the best quilts I can and teaching as many others as I can to quilt. There is so much inspiration at Festival and I am eager to piece and quilt to my heart's content! Baby quilts are next up!
This blog is called My Joyful Journey because it's about my passion: quiltmaking and the great joy it brings me to create "gifts for generations yet unborn". And you, dear reader, are a part of my journey. I thank you for that.