The festival had a humble beginning. Bob Ruggiero is with Quilts Inc., producers of the annual event.
“The Quilt Festival started when our president, Karey Bresenhan, opened up an antique store, and on the wall she put all of her family quilts. Well eventually, more people were interested in the quilts than the antiques, and the first quilt festival was held, just kind of customer appreciation. They were expecting about 200 people, and 2,000 showed up in a rain storm.”
He says the event is so big that the Brown Convention Center is the only venue in Houston able to accommodate the exhibits.
“Actually, the George R. Brown expanded a few years ago — to kind of accommodate this show. As you can tell, we’re only getting bigger.”
The event is filled with special lecture sessions, quilt designing techniques, and a who’s who in the industry. Caryl Breyer Fallert-Gentry from Kentucky makes original fine art from fabric that is stitched together and quilted.
“Most of my quilts are made out of very brilliant colors, and I think what all of them have in common, even the ones that are made from neutrals, is that they have a gradual progression from light to dark, which creates an inner-glow or luminosity, so they all look as they have a light source coming from within the work itself.”
This year’s show has awarded more than $100,000 dollars to quilters for their designs.
Janet Stone of Overland Park Kansas won a Founders Award for her entry.
“Once I won that first ribbon at that first show I was hooked.”
Hernandez: “What is it about the Houston stop that just makes it …”
Stone: “Houston is, I always say it is all the holidays rolled up into one. It is the quilting mecca. It is the Holy Grail of quilt shows, and I look forward to coming down here all year long.”
The festival runs through Sunday and more than 60,000 people are expected to attend.