The quilts will be part of a special exhibit at the Road To California Quilter’s Conference and Showcase next week in Ontario, California, with a special preview Wednesday night. 50 Route 66-themed quilts will be displayed alongside a quilted and airbrushed map of the Mother Road.
These fabric and thread wonders came about due to a themed quilt challenge put forth by Kelly Gallagher, owner of Jukebox Quilts, and teacher & art quilter Patt Blair. The challenge was issued to US quilters in 2011; the entries were curated and have been touring the States since August of 2012. If you’ve the resources to host the exhibit, you can even request that the exhibit come to you via the Jukebox Quilts website!
The above quilt is Robin Grube’s take on the famed Round Barn of Arcadia, Oklahoma. Her rendition of the barn is lovely, but what really caught my attention was her inclusion of the structure’s beautiful ceiling, and the pretty splashes turquoise she chose to add to the curving boards. The
California resident chose the Round Barn in part because “the boards forming the interior of the dome roof of the barn looked interesting.” She also noted that her Russian great-grandfather lived not far from here, and she wanted to pick a Route 66 landmark near his homestead. She did a lovely job, didn’t she?
Other quilts and quilt panels feature Route 66 favourites like the Ariston Cafe, Roy’s in Amboy, the Luna Cafe, St. Louis’ famed arch, Cadillac Ranch (not really ON 66, but when going through Amarillo, it would almost be a crime to miss it!), and the Wigwam Motel in Arizona. Natural and nature-themed, manmade features of the road are included as well—from the painted desert to the orange groves of California.
Though I’ve never been big on quilts, my experience has been with the old-fashioned kind, crafted from dozens of different prints arranged in lively patterns. Quilts of this sort, though, are certainly not the type for throwing on the bed or snuggling under while reading a book, are they? I sew some of my apparel but cannot imagine putting together a quilt or even panel like the ones submitted for this Route 66 exhibition; they are more like paintings made of fabric. There’s a lot of not just technical excellence but joy for the eye in these quilts.
If you’re in the area, the show might be worth visiting for thisexhibit alone. Be sure to pop over to Route 66 News to see the work he liked, and to the Route 66 quilt challenge’s official website to see the rest!