Road to California is proud to present the West Coast Premiere of the Route 66 Traveling Quilt Exhibit.
Hurray for Neon by Darlene Schrag
The original idea for this exhibit came from a conversation Carolyn had with “artist turned quilter” Patt Blair at Road to California two years ago. They found themselves brainstorming what they thought would be fun themes for a quilt exhibit and they both agreed that Route 66 would be a great fit—especially since Road to California is located just a few miles south of the famous roadway.
Patt and Kelly Gallagher Abbott of www.jukeboxquilts.com are the Co-Curators of this project. Their intent was to have a collection of quilts representing all eight states that host Route 66. When Patt and Kelly called for the entries, they asked prospective quilters to submit what they wanted to represent along the route. Everyone who participated got to see what all the other entrants were submitting so that there were no duplicates in the quilt stories. In the end, forty six “incredibly talented artists” were selected to participate. The biggest contingency –twenty four– come from California.
Patt related that the exhibit “Was tons of fun to put together.” In addition to curating the exhibit, Patt created one of the entries as a tribute to Carolyn Reese’s own personal memories of the famed route. Says Carolyn, “In 1942, when I was five years old, I was suffering from extreme allergies. The doctors told my mother that I could only get relief by leaving Southern California and go to a dryer climate. Since my parents were originally from Oklahoma and we had family there, it was decided that there was where we would go. So, in my parent’s brand new, maroon, Chevy coupe, we traveled from Lynwood, California to Meeker, Oklahoma via Route 66. One of my fondest memories was when we stopped along the way at a train crossing to let the train pass by. My mother had me get out of the car and wave to the passengers – all young men (some even boys) off to serve in World War II. I have never forgotten that experience and how I felt.”
Carolyn’s WWII Memories by Patt Blair
One of the artists, Valerie Victorino, was drawn to this project because of her close ties with the route itself. Valerie lives and works in Rancho Cucamonga, California, where Route 66 travels through the heart of the city. In addition, her parents travelled along Route 66 from Iowa to California where they eventually settled. Valerie’s inspiration came from historic photos she obtained from the Rancho Cucamonga archives. Valerie said of her experience, “I tried to be as accurate as possible which is challenging when working with fabric. It was really fun to work on.”
The exhibit was launched at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Festival in Colorado in August of last year. Since then, it began its travels to smaller quilt shows as it prepared for its major debut at Road to California. The curators will be on hand at Preview Night, 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening of Road as well as presenting curator talks and a history of Route 66 during the conference. When Road to California turns off its lights for this year, the Route 66 Traveling Quilt Exhibit will resume its travels for the next two years.
We are honored to host the West Coast Premiere and give all of our attendees an up close look at this fabulous exhibit.