Note: These are MY impressions only, and reflect no-one else’s point of view.
General impressions of the Houston International Quilt Festival:
* It is HUGE. Not big… HUGE! I walked about 10 km just going up and down the aisles of the exhibition and the vendor market in one pass. There were 21 main aisles of quilt exhibitions, and a similar number of vendor aisles.
* The quality of the quilts and quilting on display was just stunning. This is the best of the best, after all.
* The mix of exhibitions and vendors and eating areas is about the same as the Perth Craft Fair (the only other exhibition like this I’ve been to), but on a much much bigger scale.
* It is very well organised, from registration and class information and enrolment beforehand, through to the organisation on the day (all class were well signposted, names of attendees were checked off for the smaller classes and codes on your name badge have you entry to the bigger sessions, name badges were colour coded to indicate who was permitted where and when, etc.)
* Crowds didn’t seem to be as crushed as the Perth show. That could be because of slightly wider aisles in the vendor area, and just the sheer size of the place which meant people were more spread out.
* There weren’t many white glove people in the exhibition area. I was surprised by that as there were some very valuable quilts on display and quilters do like to see the back of a quilt 😉
* Houston Police were noticeable. I’m not sure they were the only security (I suspect not) but they were stationed at most entrances and were wandering the halls.
* I suspect shoplifting must be a real problem for the vendors. Many booths had product on display that was out of sight of the booth people, and had lots of little knick knacks that would be easy to conceal for anyone who wanted to steal.
* There were lots of very overweight people, many of whom were riding hired scooter things. These scooters were a pain to negotiate if you were wandering the vendor mall as the rider could come to a sudden stop to look at something.
* Most of the attendees at the exhibitions and the vendor mall and in the classes were women, but I was surprised at how many men attended too, who didn’t seem to be just coming along with their wives. This is good.
* As I expected, the age demographic was skewed over 50, but there were a surprising number of young people too. You have to have young people rising up, otherwise these sorts of events will die out.
* Many of the tutors I was exposed to were well over 65, with some quite a bit older. It’s gratifying to see these women taking on a new lease of life after retiring from jobs such as engineers, computer programmers, etc.
And now it’s all over and I can tick it off my bucket list 😉
My photos from the Festival: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rhondamadeit/sets/72157648927348846/