Quilt Festival was a blast! I’ve been back a little while and have been able to process my thoughts about the experience while getting several “must-do” things taken care of in the studio–finished and delivered one commission and made progress on two more.

Artful Improv Exhibit - Cindy Grisdela Art Quilts

Artful Improv Special Exhibit Houston 2016

I spent four days with my Artful Improv Special Exhibit in Houston, featuring 16 quilts from my book. It was an amazing, humbling experience that I’m so grateful for. The response to my work and my new book was very positive.

Artful Improv Books - Cindy Grisdela Art Quilts

Artful Improv Books at Houston

I was able to sell my Artful Improv book at the exhibit, with the help of my sister Margaret who came from Florida. People were eager to take a look at it and loved the “Permission to Play – Granted” tagline on the back! I was happy to emphasize that it’s a “no rules, no pattern” process that’s supposed to be fun–whether you’re new to improv or have more experience.

We sold out of the books we had on hand on the third day, and took orders from interested quilters after that.

I had a great time meeting so many quilters interested in improv and moving on from patterns to create their own art quilts. And I met quite a few people that I knew only from Instagram or Facebook–that was fun too!

Book Signing Quilt Festival - Cindy Grisdela Art Quilts

Book Signing at Quilt Festival

I did a couple of book signings at The Craftsman’s Touch Book booth in the vendor mall while my sister manned the exhibit. A couple of my small quilts on the table were great ice breakers. And I got to meet Paula Nadelstern, who signed her new book, Fabricadabra, next to me at one sitting.

I really enjoyed signing books and meeting the people who were going to take Artful Improv home. They say about 50,000 quilters visit the show each year, from the US and around the world. Of course there were lots of purchases from the US, but the book also went home with quilters from Canada, New Zealand, Great Britain, France and Belgium!

I also did a fun demo of improv piecing at the Cherrywood Fabrics booth–sorry I didn’t get anyone to take a picture of that–too busy sewing and talking! Many thanks to Cherrywood for sponsoring Artful Improv and dyeing the fabulous fabric I use in my work.

Autumn Stripes Sold - Cindy Grisdela Art Quilts

Autumn Stripes Sold at Houston!

And–one of the quilts in the exhibit sold! Autumn Stripes went to a new home in Dallas after the show. That was one of my favorites and I hope it add color and texture to its new space.

There wasn’t much time to get out of the booth and wander around at the show, but I was able to grab a few minutes before the show opened on a couple of days. These are some of my favorites:

Deborah Boschert 1st Place

Deborah Boschert 1st Prize Small Quilts 2016

My friend Deborah Boschert won first prize in the small quilts division!

Susan Carlson "Tickled Pink" Rhino

Susan Carlson “Tickled Pink” Rhino

Well known artist and author Susan Carlson had her own special exhibit featuring her whimsical animals. Lots of people took pictures of her enormous crocodile, but I liked the pink rhino.

Maria Shell "Wall of Sound"

Maria Shell “Wall of Sound”

I loved seeing my friend Maria Shell’s “Wall of Sound” quilt in person–the photo doesn’t do it justice!

Jenny Emry "Winter Garden"

Jenny Emry “Winter Garden”

And finally, Jenny Emry’s “Winter Garden” won an honorable mention prize. The lighting on this one was a little weird so the photo doesn’t show the subtlety of this quilt. Jenny is a member of my guild here and I’ve admired her work for years. She was doing improv before improv was cool!

Many thanks to everyone who visited my exhibit at Houston and all those who have commented and shared online–you guys are the best!

Artful Improv is for sale in my online shop here if you’re looking for a holiday present for someone special, or maybe for yourself! I’m happy to sign it for you–just let me know in the comments section what name to use–yours or someone else’s.


  1. Eleanor balaban on November 19, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    So proud of you. Wish I had been there.

    • Cindy on November 20, 2016 at 10:48 am

      Thanks so much Eleanor! It was fun–exhausting, but fun.

  2. Jeanne Marklin on November 20, 2016 at 7:24 am

    Thank you for sharing your experiences at Market and Festival. I’m hoping to get to Festival next year because all the posts make it look so exciting. Congratulations on your book and sales – you must be feeling great!