Aloha! Welcome to the tropical paradise of the Brigham City Museum-Gallery, filled with the exotic flowers and plants of Hawaii. The warmth of the gallery doesn't come directly from the sunny beaches of Maui, but from quilts inspired by the island.
Dianna Grundhauser of Makawao, Hawaii, is the featured artist at the National Quilt Invitational Exhibition at the Brigham City Museum-Gallery. The exhibit opens Tuesday, July 3, and continues through Aug. 28. Admission is free.
Nationally known quilters Marta Amundson of Wyoming, Kathie Briggs and Lenore Crawford of Michigan, Patty Hawkins of Colorado, and Washington's Kathy McNeil have also been invited to exhibit quilts, as have several Utah quilt artists.
Grundhauser was born and raised in California, but fell in love with Maui on her honeymoon. She and her husband moved to the island in 1988, and she was soon quilting like a native. Her quilts done in traditional Hawaiian style feature large, symmetrical hand-appliqued patterns, with stitching that echoes shapes in the way ocean waves echo the shape of the islands.
She also creates modern quilts inspired by plants and animals on Maui.
"Some of the plants Dianna has adapted to fabric are the ginger flower, the pineapple, the 'heavenly roselani' and the night-blooming cereus. Since 90 percent of Hawaii's native flora is grown nowhere else in the world, we're thrilled we can provide our patrons with a visual 'vacation' to Hawaii," said Mary Alice Hobbs, curator of the show.
Grundhauser took photos of the night-blooming cereus at 4 a.m., to capture the flowers at the height of their beauty, and then created the quilt "Night Light" inspired by what she saw.
"I fell in love with 'Night Light,' " said Hobbs, adding that she tried to get the quilt for last year's show, but it was already on display elsewhere. "We're thrilled to have it this year."
Grundhauser worked with other Hawaiian quilters to create the pineapple piece, as well as a quilt depicting flower leis.
Solo works in the show include one of Grundhauser's latest "honu" (sea turtle) quilts.
Grundhauser became interested in quilting when her mother gave her a traditional handmade quilt, pieced by her great-grandmother and quilted by church ladies in the 1940s. That quilt will also be part of the display.
Hobbs says people are already calling to learn more about the exhibit of Grundhauser's quilts.
"I think people have always been fascinated by Hawaii," she said. "Everything is so laid-back, it's truly a relaxing paradise."
Hobbs invites a variety of artists to participate in the annual quilt show.
"I like to go outside of the state so that our visitors have the opportunity to see what national quilters are doing," she said.
Among the quilts visitors will see is a piece by Kathy McNeil, created in memory of her mother.
"It just tears your heart out, because it's just so haunting," said Hobbs. "Her mother was always very sad and very aloof, and her daughters never knew why. After she passed away, they ran across a paper she'd written in school."
The paper helped McNeil understand that her mother had a tragic childhood, which inspired the quilt.
Hobbs also invites local quilters to participate in the show. The first quilt show Hobbs worked on at the museum, more than 15 years ago, included works by Salt Lake County resident Charlotte Warr Andersen.
"She was considered one of the top, if not the top, quilters in state, and was very respected nationally," Hobbs said.
Feeling a bit nostalgic, she asked Andersen to send some of her pictorial quilts for this year's show.
One piece that will be on display is called "Do Not Go Gentle," based on a photo of her father and a poem by Dylan Thomas. Andersen is also showing a quilt depicting the old Saltair resort.
Dianna Grundhauser will teach a quilting workshop, focused on composition and fusing, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 11 at the Brigham City Museum-Gallery. The workshop costs $20; register at www.brighamcitymuseum.org.
- WHAT: National Quilt Invitational Exhibition
- WHEN: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 1-5 p.m. Saturdays, July 3-Aug. 28
- WHERE: Brigham City Museum-Gallery, 24 N. 300 West
- ADMISSION: Free; 435-226-1439, www.brighamcitymuseum.org