At the International Quilt Festival in the George Brown Convention Center

Houston Quilt Festival

The final two days of the QuiltZeitReise 2010 were dedicated to the International Quilt Festival 2010 held in the George Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas. This is one of the largest quilt events in the world, if not the largest.

Quilts Inc., the corporation behind the Houston Quilt Festival (and a handful of other important quilt events in the USA), reported a record number of visitors to the 2010 show – over 60,000 quilters from all over the world came to Texas to admire hundreds of quilts, do some serious shopping at the ca. 550 exhibitor’s booths, take part in classes and attend lectures.

George Brown Convention Center

The George Brown Convention Center in Houston is a very interesting building that might remind you of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. It is huge and from the outside, it was hard to believe that this entire building would be filled almost to the last square inch with quilts, quilters and fabric.

Vendors' Mall

So it might not surprise you that I felt a little overwhelmed at first. So many quilts to look at and miles and miles to walk between all the vendors’ booths... At first I was worried that the two days we had planned for the show wouldn’t be sufficient.

However, you have to start somewhere! Carola and I decided that we would begin with the quilt exhibitions.

Quilt Shows

For copyright reasons, we cannot show pictures of quilts here. But you can view the winning entries of the International Quilt Association’s competitions at:

http://www.quilts.org/winners.html

Many different techniques were represented in the works on display. It seems to me that there is a strong trend towards quilts based on painted fabric or on photo transfers to fabric. I am not yet sure whether I like this new kind of “wholecloth quilt” or not. ;-)

Not surprisingly, I was strongly attracted to the wonderful antique quilts. But also the Text on Textiles quilts and the pineapple quilts ranked high in my list of personal favourites.

Another visitor gave me a very interesting piece of advice: She attracted my attention because she seemed to take pictures of every single quilt with a very professional looking camera. So I asked her whether she was a journalist. She just laughed and told me that she has collections of DVDs with quilts photographed at quilt shows. Whenever she has to do housework, she just pops one of her quilt  DVDs into the player. Vacuuming the living room is made more tolerable when one can look at one gorgeous quilt after another. Isn’t this a great idea? I think I will do just that from now on!

[Note: The friend who proofreads my English suggested that I get a cleaning lady and just concentrate on the quilts!! ;-D]

Ladies Only

The show is very well organized and it is amazing how short the queues were and how much seating is available considering the number of people visiting the show every day. Even going to the restroom is not an activity you have to plan for at least an hour ahead of the first inkling of a need. One of the reasons that there is no shortage of restrooms is shown here: the show management simply sequestered this gentlemen’s restroom with the help of a temporary “Ladies only” sign... ;-)

Food Court

The food court on a typical American scale, ie HUGE.

In the early afternoon, we realized that we couldn’t absorb any more quilts and decided to relax our brains a little and go shopping. Whether shopping is really relaxing for your brain, is certainly debatable. But it turned out to be a good layering of different activities and stood us in good stead for day 2 of the show.

In the evening, we were really, really tired and hardly had eyes for the beautiful Houston skyline at sunset.

Houston Sunset

The George Brown Convention Center is also very attractive at dusk...

Dusk

... while the Christmas illumination of the trees seemed a bit premature in early November.

Christmassy Trees

While we waited for the shuttle bus back to the hotel, Carola had a defining moment. A very nice Texan gentlemen (wearing a Stetson which is very important for us European greenhorns!) confirmed what we had known all along:

Number 1


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