(Above: Stitching on Aylah, a new Decision Portrait, while sitting with my solo exhibition at the 2012 International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas. Click on any image in this post to enlarge.)
I made it to Houston aboard a plane literally filled with quilters coming from all sorts of locations and on their way to the George R. Brown Convention Center for the 2012 International Quilt Festival. Halloween night was so much fun. It was the "preview" evening, 7 - 10 PM, and many people came in costumes (or at least witches' hats and scary inspired accessories!)
The curated selection of forty Decision Portraits are right in the middle of a very prestigious area of the 2012 International Quilt Festival ... in the special exhibits section ... alongside SAQA's (Studio Art Quilt Associates) large shows and opposite the stunning work in the IQF area where nearly $100,000 in prizes were awarded to quilts so beautiful that they simply defy verbal language. This morning the four day festival opened ... 10 AM until 7 PM. Time simply flew by!
Lots of people have browsed, read the pink labels (which include the title and a brief description of each piece), wiped away a tear, laughed, and expressed their feeling to me while I stitched on the 108th piece in the series, Alyah. This piece depicts a fifteen year old girl who didn't "buckle up". By tomorrow, I'll be adding the embroidery for her birth and death dates. Stitching this piece has opened up plenty of heart felt conversations. People are genuinely touched. They also like the fact that they can feel the fabric's surface, the three different layers, and see one of the portraits being made. It has also given me something productive to do while sitting with the show. I'm really enjoying it all.
Before the crowds arrived, I snapped a few photos of the display. The hanging system worked wonderfully ... almost entirely invisibly against the black curtains. The entire set up is approachable from any direction. All the special exhibits have ample space, are well lit, and attractive. I am so thankful to all the people at Quilt's, Inc. who made this possible.
Many of the other special exhibits prohibit photography ... but not the Decision Portraits! After all, they are already on the Internet ... on the Decision Portrait blog. The printed version is also coming in quite handy. It has allowed me to share some of the other stories and talk more easily about the xylene photo transfer process.
This morning two school groups came through with a IQF docent. She introduced me. Then I talked to the fifth and sixth graders about the concept behind the series, the definition of an "art quilt", and how important many life decisions really are. It was great to see their expressions and answer their questions.
It is also fun to watch which pieces resonate with various viewers. I left my area from 5 - 6 PM in order to attend a general social hour with other members of SAQA. Putting faces together with artwork and "big names" was such an honor. The work on display (Seasonal Palette and Sense of Scale) is incredible too. So far I've met quilters from Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, Norway, and all over the United States. I'll be taking more photos tomorrow and will hopefully be posting again before I leave on Sunday afternoon. In the mean time, I'm stitching, talking, sharing, and having a perfectly wonderful time here in Houston. This really is an amazing experience.