QuiltCon 2016: Looking Back

Pasadena, Calif., played home to the 2016 edition of the traveling modern quilt conference and celebration.

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The Modern Quilt Guild’s now-annual QuiltCon is the biggest modern quilting gathering of its kind, made evident by this year’s showing in Pasadena, Calif. Thousands of attendees strolled the show floor, participated in lectures and workshops, and took in the impressive work of juried quilts on display for four days last month.

Modern quilting has often acted as a platform to reflect what’s happening in society at any given time (like this tribute quilt for David Bowie by Holly Hickman for Moda Fabrics), ranging in topics as big as social justice to more lighthearted takes on pop culture. Making my way through the Pasadena Convention Center I saw the quilts and groups in front of me reflect much of the news and trends I follow every day.

Quilting to Raise Awareness
Current events spanning all aspects of the news were represented as quilts at QuiltCon this year. Many of the thought-provoking quilts took home top honors across the show’s award categories, including Melissa Averinos’ Best In Show winner, “My Brother’s Jeans," made from her brother's work jeans she found in a dumpster after his suicide in 2009, and Chawne Kimber's "The One for Eric," shown here, topping the Improv category entry.

Quilting to Teach Art
Robert Kaufman’s booth on the trade show floor was decked out in yellow-shaded quilt samples as the manufacturer not only showed off their line’s Color of the Year, Highlight, but the basics of color theory.

Quilting a DIY Business
QuiltCon always does a great job highlighting many of the local and regional businesses surrounding the conference site. This year was no different. Businesses like Page + Pixel were on hand to help makers take their work to the next level, whether it be setting up an online store, writing patterns for the first time or even publishing a book. Page + Pixel specializes in pairing creative services to individuals looking for specific needs such as photography and design.

Patchwork Threads' clever designs and witty T-shirts caught the attendtion of many attendees. The husband-and-wife team set up shop to show off their love of printing and quilting.

Purl & Loop's needlework supplies, ranging from needlefelting kits to travel weaving looms, focused on simple design to help make creating pieces of artwork easy for everyone. 

Quilting to New Audiences
When you've got a Star Wars-themed quilt on display, chances are good your booth will be the talk of the show. That was definitely the case for Hoffman Fabric's newer modern offering, Me + You. To highlight the line at QuiltCon the brand had Hunter's Design Studio create "The Droid Is Not for Sale" quilt showcasing some of the stand-out solids that are a part of the brand's current offerings.

Quilting Takes on Snail Mail
With more than 700,000 images and videos tagged with #SnailMail on Instagram alone, it makes sense for paper-lover Heather Givans, owner of Crimson Tate in Indianapolis, to show off her love of mail with a new fabric line for Windham Fabrics called Paper Obsessed.

QuiltCon moves to Savannah in 2017. To learn more about The Modern Quilt Guild and how to get involved, make sure to take a look at their website.

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