Chicago - Special Exhibits


The 1876 Centennial Quilt Project

Organized by Anne Dawson and Karen B. Alexander

After discovering an extraordinary quilt from Connecticut in an online quilt history group and securing permission from its owner, a quilt group from Northwestern Washington began the journey of patterning. The 1876 Centennial Quilt. Set in a unique Medallion-style arrangement, this quilt contains over 70 different patterns



A Celebration ofcolor

   Sponsored  by

Whatever your style…quilt colorfully! This annual judged competition is open to quilters working in any style, and who like to play with color to create a vibrant work! A $1,000 Best of Show Award and three $500 prizes each in Traditional, Modern, and Art categories will be awarded. This exhibit is making its Festival debut in Chicago



A Colorful Friendship

Frieda Anderson and Laura Wasilowski have been dyeing buddies for a long time. Although they maintain separate dye studios, they do share bolts of prepared-for-dyeing fabric, and an undying love of color. This exhibit features fabrics dyed specifically for their own art work



The Best of Dinner at Eight Artists:

Celebrating Ten Years of Exhibits

The quilts in this exhibit represent the culmination of 10 years of work from the Dinner at Eight Artists. Each of the group’s exhibits over the last 10 years have challenged its quilt artists to create dynamic works based on a variety of ideas and themes. See the best of those works here



eQuilter’s Love Your MotherQuilt

Sponsored by

Curated by Luana Rubin

Mother Earth…she provides our home, our sustenance, our every need…but we are taking her for granted. This quilt challenge and exhibit are a collective effort to raise awareness and inspire others to “love Mother Earth.” It started with a digital-printed fabric panel with the Earth (Americas, Australia, or Africa) and a rainbow Mandala



Impressions Challenge by PAQA

Coordinated by Vicki Alsene  and Joan Bratton

The Professional Art Quilt Alliance a regional fiber arts group who show original art work, encourages new artist in the field, develops professional artists. The 2019 challenge is to interpret IMPRESSIONS in an art quilt. Definitions include: Feelings or ideas about something or someone, effects produced upon the mind, body, or senses by some external stimulus or agent, and impressionistic portrayal of an object or concept



In the American Tradition

This exhibit features recently-made quilts of traditional blocks, styles, and techniques as their design source. Contemporary quilt makers often look to the art form’s rich tradition for inspiration in their own works. We have had both Pieced and Appliquéd exhibits



In Full Bloom

Just as quilters create beautiful pieces of art with fabric, florists and gardeners cultivate works of beauty from the soil. The International Quilt Festival will showcase floral quilts from across the spectrum in color and splendor in the special exhibit



The International MiniatureQuilt

Curated by Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson

This exchange paired quilters from the U.S. with international quilters for the purpose of showing that quilters the world over have common goals, interests, joys, and trials, and that quilting brings people together. Each pair could create a theme for their exchange or simply make miniature quilts without any specific parameters. Pairs were also given the opportunity to submit their quilts for consideration for this exhibit




Life Stories Told Through My Quilts

In recent years, traditional quiltmaker Barbara Ann McCraw began to look inward at the places and times in her life. There were memories, experiences, and images that she wanted to depict, utilizing the African colors and patterns of her heritage. This exhibit features works – many in the Baltimore Album style – that each have their own story and are related to McCraw’s own life



OURstory: Human Rights Stories in Fabric

Curated by Susanne Miller Jones

In 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which delineated the rights to which all humans in all countries should be entitled. This collection of 42 art quilts was created by artists from six different countries and celebrates the heroes who fought for rights long denied to various groups of people and the events that drew the attention of news media and the public




Our Younger Brothers

Artist Milla Malchow’s quilts are inspired by photographs, but created with her own vision, style, and technique. She especially enjoys creating works based on photos of animals. And though the quilts in this exhibit look painted, all of them were made with just fabric and thread





Discover the classic combination of blue and white in a collection of breathtaking quilts that's sure to capture your imagination. Acclaimed author and designer Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts shares her signature style in exquisite shades of blue and white



Primitive Quilts

From hand-pieced to machine made, the simple and unassuming designs of primitive quilts lend themselves to all techniques of quiltmaking. This exhibit includes recently made quilts created in the primitive style




Quilts: A World of Beauty

Presented  by the International Quilt Association

See winners and finalists from the 2018 annual judged show of members of the International Quilt Association. More than $96,000 in cash, non-purchase prizes were awarded in 20+ categories. This i   where artists from around the world send in their best work to compete




SAQA: Dusk to Dawn

Sponsored by

When the sun dips below the horizon, the world changes. The trees are lit by the silvery light of the moon, and warm lamps glow in a child's room as they listen to a bedtime story. Sleep can bring beautiful and powerful dreams, but also night terrors. Artists in this exhibit created works that interpret what the night means to them




SAQA: Metamorphosis

Sponsored by

It’s been said that one of the few constants in the universe is change. A metamorphosis can generate transformations in shape, nature, or structure—and all at once or in stages. Changes can be positive, negative, frightening, or enlightening, and they can be physical or philosophical. In this exhibit, artists interpret the theme of “change” in works ranging from the representational to the abstract




Still Lifesindigo:
gExploring  the Wabi-Sabi Spirit

This exhibit features printed and stitched textiles by Barbara J. Schneider that interpret traditional still life paintings. The works are imbued with the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi, or finding beauty in the imperfections of life and accepting the cycle of growth, age, and decay. Keeping with the theme, they were made with Japanese boro fabrics (old, patched indigo fabrics stitched together multiple times). Their utilitarian nature are also explorations of texture, color, and form




Traditional Midwest and CanadianQuilts

   Sponsored  by

This exhibit features traditional-style quilts by artists from the Midwest states of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and the provinces of Manitoba and Ontario in Canada. This exhibit makes its Festival debut in Chicago




Viewpoints 9: Living Planet

Curated by Martha Wolfe

This exhibit explores our “Living Planet,” the common space we all share but each of us experiences in a uniquely personal way. The works here interpret universal phenomena through the lens of our lives and surroundings. The inspired subjects range from weather, energy, and the sun and wind to the threat of nuclear war.