I have to admit, it felt a bit strange visiting Quilt Market for the first time AFTER doodlespark’s first licensed fabric collection was created… I suppose it would have been helpful for me to view other collections in person, chat with designers and scope the scene before I tried my hand at turning our Cultivate drawing into a fabric suite … But alas, this was not to be and I entered the Houston Convention Hall quite wide-eyed. A barrage of color and pattern greeted me in way that was more overwhelming than my experience at any other trade show. When I launched Loop at the National Stationery Show in 2007, I felt grounded by my small, mostly back and white booth, anchored by the product line and curious to see the reaction. This time – without a booth of my own and in mostly uncharted, trend-specific waters – I felt a bit more at sea.
Out trip was to be a 2-day affair; I’d planned to walk the Show on Day One making notes along the way to direct me to specific collections and designers to return to. I’m not a seamstress by any stretch of the imagination ( the sewing machine on the end of my desk veritably taunts me to master it! ), so being surrounded by crafty projects + masterful quilts made me feel out of my element. And all the color! My eyes had a hard time landing on anything specific, and I felt exhausted by the end of just a few hours. Unfortunately, Sandy had us rushing home the next morning via a 4:00am shuttle to the airport.
It was delightful seeing my contacts from Clothworks in person, and that was the real reason I wanted to attend. Their design team was so helpful via email throughout the course of this project and it was wonderful to talk in person about our work together and how our lives and our professional endeavors invariably intersect ( and often collide! ). Fat quarters of Cultivate ( above, left and my mom, above, right ) were shown on their order-writing tables and it was a true thrill to catch a glimpse of such a personal work of art in the midst of the color cloud that was the Show.
Paired with the industry-only trade show was a juried exhibit of art quilts. I’d seen many in magazine or books, but never had the chance to view these works of art in person. I simply don’t have words to describe the richness of texture, the nimble use of thread as line and shading, the creative arrangement of color and pattern, the masterful technique, all of which elevated the ensembles into a class of their own. Some resembled paintings or sculptures, built in layers to leap off the wall in a living way. I tried to take pictures, but it was hard to capture the depth of each piece.