Quilting on the Next Level: Example Quilt Exhibits, OSQE

Rhapsody by Sana Moulder, Tarheel Quilter's Guild OSQE Local Quilt Artist Spotlight, Raleigh NC, July 2018

Rhapsody by Sana Moulder, Tarheel Quilter’s Guild
OSQE Local Quilt Artist Spotlight, Raleigh NC, July 2018

The Original Sewing & Quilt Expo hangs dozens of quilt exhibits every year, but they don’t do contests. Rather, they gather curated exhibits and they are usually working two years out. According to Marlene Ingraham, founder of OSQE, “The quilt exhibits are the heart of our shows. At every venue, we are creating a once-in-a-lifetime art experience for our attendees, so we choose our quilt exhibits very thoughtfully. Once a curated exhibit is chosen, it will travel to our various show locations. Most of our shows also feature a ‘Local Quilt Artists Spotlight’. We take the responsibility of handling these quilt exhibits very seriously. Of course we carry special insurance, and the quilts are stored in our climate-controlled warehouse, and transported by our own drivers, in our own trucks. The quilts on display at the Original Sewing & Quilt Expos will travel all over America and be seen by 60,000 fans.’’

Red Fox, Blue Fox SAQA: Wild Fabrications Kate Themel

Red Fox, Blue Fox
SAQA: Wild Fabrications
Kate Themel

Some examples of recent exhibits hung at the Original Sewing & Quilt Expos:

Wild Fabricationswww.saqa.com
Wild Fabrications celebrates a world of animals, both real and fantastical. Selected artists let their imagination run wild and created interesting and unusual interpretations of animals using unexpected or unconventional materials and adornment, and/or unusual techniques.

Winter Games Quilt Challenge – Wisconsin Quilt Expo
A collection of quilts that capture the spirit of the 2018 Winter Olympics! From quilts depicting snowy evenings to quilts showcasing winter sports, each entry is different, but each represents the excitement of the Winter Games.

Childhood Games, Red & White Quilting Pieced by Linda Pumphrey Quilted by Karen Kielmeyer

Childhood Games, Red & White Quilting
Pieced by Linda Pumphrey
Quilted by Karen Kielmeyer

Red & White Quilting: An Iconic Tradition in 40 Blocks – Linda Pumphrey
Classic yet contemporary, red and white is one of the most iconic color combinations in quilting, inspiring designers, collectors, and major exhibits. The vibrant contrast of red and white quilts has enticed quilters for three centuries and been a staple since the mid-nineteenth century.

Best of North Texas Quilt Festivalwww.northtexasquiltfestival.com
Stunning, handpicked quilts from the North Texas Quilt Festival, selected from over 350 contest quilts created by members of six North Texas guilds. Within this diverse exhibit, you will find quilts with many forms of inspiration and quilters’ level of expertise.

Southern Quilts – Mary Kerr
The South has a rich quilting history, steeped in tradition and passed down through the generations. Enjoy these uniquely Southern patterns and styles.

Why should you think about entering your quilt into a contest or a special exhibit? Deanna Springer says, “As makers, we have a strong desire to make. Quilters love a challenge to showcase their talent and creative side.”

Marlene Ingraham has worked with thousands of quilters and she has watched them come to her shows, stand by their quilt, eager to hear the comments from the attendees. “I think people enter their quilts because they are proud of their work. And having their quilt hung is a badge of honor. It’s a validation of their talent.”

Unfurling by Frieda Anderson
First Place Innovative Pieced,
2017 International Quilt Festival, A World of Beauty
Frieda Anderson has made many prize-winning quilts. She started to enter her quilts into competitions because she wanted to travel and teach. She hoped showing her quilts would get her name out there. Her strategy worked. Her first big win came in 1990 when her fused art quilt, “June Jubilee” received an honorable mention at the Paducah AQS show. Frieda is established as a respected quilt artist who makes a living traveling all over the world, teaching her innovative quilt techniques.


Quilting on the Next Level: Enter a Quilt Show

Quilting on the Next Level: How Do You Start?

Quilting on the Next Level: What are the Judges Looking For?

Quilting on the Next Level: Example Quilt Exhibits, OSQE

Quilt Shows

Quilt Festival Logo Shipshewana Quilt Festival Logo Quilt Expo Logo
Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show Logo Road to California Quilt Show Logo Original Sewing & Quilt Expo Logo
Click on logo to visit quilt show web site.


Forty years ago, before the resurgence of quilting ignited the birth of guilds across the country, if a quilter wanted her work to be seen, the only avenue was the once-a-year county fair. The prize given was a colored ribbon. Today, on any given month of the year, regional quilt shows are organizing exhibits featuring hundreds of talented quilters and offering thousands of dollars in prize money.

So, what is a quilt show? Many local quilt guilds put on an annual “quilt show.” These local shows are run by volunteers, who are also the quilters. They rent the space, hang the show, and maybe give away some door prizes. They probably have a small admission fee to cover expenses, but they are run as a non-profit enterprise. When a quilt guild puts on a show, it exhibits guild member work.

Why should you visit a quilt show? Well, it’s like having a quilt museum come to your area with a staff of quilt professors and temporary retail space that would rival Macy’s department store . . . except that ALL THE MERCHANDISE IS QUILT RELATED!

The growth of quilt shows in America is phenomenal. Every quilt show features multiple quilt exhibits and so much more. A quilt show has a staff of professionals working year round to produce the show. They line up exhibits, manage the call for entries for quilt contests, hire professional quilters to teach or entertain with special events, organize an extensive class schedule, then rent out a large vendor floor. Really, a regional quilt show is to a quilter what the Super Bowl® is to a football fan.

The quilt shows shown above are by no means a comprehensive quilt show list, but a great place to begin planning your own road trip. Click on the logos above to go to the respective web site for that particular quilt show. So grab a friend, book a quilt show tour bus ticket or travel solo. You will find classes, shopping, friends and delightful encounters at quilt shows. And maybe as you explore, you will even discover a few unexpected surprises.