Pacific International Quilt Festival 2004:
A Personal Account

Rissa Peace Root 2005

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"Brilliant Fireworks by Etsuko Iitaka , Best of Show, Pacific International Quilt Festival XIII"

I don't know exactly what I thought the show would be like, but my first trip to the Pacific International Quilt Festival far exceeded my expectations.  I guess somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew it was a juried, but both my sister and I were awed by the very impressive collection of quilts on display.  People kept telling me that PIQF was "so much smaller than Houston", so I was surprised by the huge number of quilts and vendors in the large venue.  I had foolishly made plans to meet up with people at the festival, only to learn that was nearly impossible to do.

I decided to make the trek from Mississippi to California because it gave me an excuse to see my sister and revisit San Francisco.  My husband and I came out a week early and did all of the traditional Bay Area tourist things. We went to Muir Woods, the Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, the Japanese Tea Garden, Fisherman's Wharf, The Winchester House and China Town.  We even made a drive down to Monterey and Carmel.  My husband also indulged me with a trip to Lacis, while we visited Berkley.  However, once the show opened, my husband was on his own.

The opening night preview went by all together too fast.  It was barely enough time to look at the Art Bra exhibit and catch up with Vickie Brown from RibbonSmyth.  From the first time I caught a glimpse of the bras, I was amazed.  It was a little intimidating to see my own creation up there, but I was so proud to be part of the whole experience. 

The next day, I met up with my sister and attended a few classes, but I spent most of time walking around the convention hall looking at and photographing all of the amazing quilts.  While I love crazy quilting and art quilts, I also love traditional quilting, especially whole cloth.  There was some of everything represented there.  I was very impressed by how much quilting has changed and how talented and creative the people who submitted quilts were. 

Later, my sister and I walked through the show together and discussed the different quilts and techniques.  She considers herself an advanced beginner traditional quilter and she was intimidated but inspired by what she saw.  Since I have a lot more experience in embellishment, embroidery and unusual techniques, it was fun to be able to tell her how things were done.  I spent most of my time telling her, "this technique is so much easier than you think,"  but the way they were put into use was often inspired. 

It was also great fun to sit back and listen to the comments made as people came by to see the bra exhibit.  I could not resist saying "I made one of those" more than once.  People were looking and laughing and having a good time.  It was a very positive and affirming experience for me. 

We attended the Fashion show, which was a lot of fun, despite a pounding sinus headache.  It went on forever, with each designer showing her wares and discussing them.  My sister and I had good seats and it was more than worth the price of the ticket.

The last night I was there, my sister and I sat in my hotel room and I helped her cut a sweatshirt and learn to do some basic ribbon embroidery and bead embellishment.  It was so much fun to see her so excited and so interested in learning. Special thanks to my husband for dragging out his camera and forcing us to let him take a picture.  By this point, we were exhausted and a little loopy, but we were not going to waste one minute.  After all, isn't that what this was all about?

My sister Janice (left) and I

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