Special Exhibits

The Special Exhibits at this year’s Houston International Quilt Festival did indeed live up to their name. I unfortunately didn’t get a good look at some of them until the last day I was at the show, and wished I’d left myself more time to study them. They were all amazing!

One exhibit that particularly delighted me was the Lion King Challenge. I think that challenges are wonderful things. They provide quilters with a spark of inspiration, yet also impose limits. This gives the artists plenty of room for interpretation, but also reins them in so that they can finish something in a reasonable amount of time. I highly recommend them to quilters who are itching to step outside of their comfort zone and begin to design their own work. A bonus for those curating these exhibits is that having specific guidelines usually results in a beautifully cohesive group of art. That is certainly true of the Lion King Challenge. So let’s look at some of the quilts!

A number of quilters chose to incorporate the iconic silhouette’s from the Lion King. Here are just two of many lovely pieces.

I love the sense of movement that Joy Lamphere captured in Tree of Life through both the leaping gazelles and the graphic red spirals.

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Tree of Life ©Joy Lamphere

The intricate piecing in the sky and setting sun of Jenny Wagner’s Circle of Life make this piece come alive.

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Circle of Life ©Jenny Wagner

There were, as expected, numerous interpretations of lions. Wow, it’s astounding how many ways they can be depicted! Here are just three that caught my eye, though there are many more wonderful examples in the exhibit.

This slightly cropped image of Zazu’s Report by Sheila Riess shows her gorgeous thread painting.

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Zazu’s Report ©Sheila Riess

Look into the eyes of this big fella in Majestic by Kate Endriga. She truly captured the intelligence of this animal.

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Majestic ©Kate Endriga

The eyes in Terri Bahn’s Concrete Jungle King also drew me in. Her use of both thread and color is impressive.

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Concrete Jungle King ©Terri Bahn

Lesson learned? Don’t save perusing the Special Exhibits for the last minute! And, if you get a chance go see the Lion King Challenge in person, it’s well worth it.

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