National Quilt Invitational Exhibition
July 3 through Aug. 18, 2012
Over thousands of years, seeds, plants and trees were carried to the Hawaiian Islands by sea winds, birds and people. Because of the islands’ tropical warmth and humidity, they’re teeming with exotic flowers, fruits and other forms of green plant life. Dianna Grundhauser of Makawao, Hawaii, has immersed herself in the lushness of the “aloha state” to create art quilts that will hang in the Brigham City Museum-Gallery’s National Quilt Invitational Exhibition July 3 through Aug. 18, 2012. The museum will be open July 4.
Other artists invited to display their quilts are Marta Amundson, Wyoming; Kathie Briggs and Lenore Crawford, Michigan; Patty Hawkins, Colorado; and Kathy McNeil, Washington. Quilters from Utah will also participate.
The museum is located at 24 North 300 West. The entrance is on the west side. Admission is free. Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. For further information, please phone (435) 226-1439 or visit www.brighamcitymuseum.org.
Grundhauser will conduct a workshop on composition and fusing on Saturday, Aug. 11 at the museum from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The cost is $15 for museum members and $20 for nonmembers. See web site for additional details and registration.
In her quilts, Grundhauser perpetuates the cultural history and traditions of Hawaii. Some of her pieces have a distinctive Hawaiian style that utilizes large, ray-like symmetric patterns. An example would be her “Lei Roselani – Heavenly Rose Lei” quilt. Grundhauser says, “The inspiration for this hand-appliqued and hand-quilted piece came from the roselani flower that represents the island of Maui. The beautiful wild rose used to grow abundantly in the Upcountry area where I live.”
Grundhauser’s delight in watching the honu or sea turtle while kayaking with her husband Bruce is conveyed in her quilt “Flying Solo.” She recalls, “Sometimes it is so quiet on the water you can actually hear the turtles exhale when they swim to the surface, take a look around, then dive back down again.”
A lot of rural roads on Maui are overtaken by the invasive succulent, “night blooming cereus.” Grundhauser says this unique and sensitive flower blooms at night and quickly dies off as the sun rises and it is exposed to the heat of the days. She recalls, “I traipsed around in the bushes on the side of the road at 4 a.m. to catch the blooms at their height of beauty, hoping that no one would see my flashes and have me arrested for taking pictures at that crazy hour!” The quilt “Night Light” was the result of this early morning adventure.
Many of the artist’s designs have meaning like her quilt “Sliced Pineapple” which refers to the hospitality of the Hawaiian people. This piece was a collaborative project with Maui artist Joan Davis.
The lei stands that are still in certain places in Hawaii were the stimulus for the Maui Art Quilters group to produce “The Lei Quilts.” Grundhauser belongs to this organization, and the members agreed to share their quilts for the exhibition. This project depicts various “untied” lei as they would hang on display in the stands. Each artist made a lei of their own design. Hanging together, this “garland of flowers” was the signature piece for the invitational quilt exhibit “Colors of Maui” at the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara, California, in October 2010.
Grundhauser was born in Orange, California, and raised in Southern California where she lived until 1992 when she and her husband moved to Maui. They had honeymooned in Maui in 1988 and loved the small-town feeling as well as the beautiful landscape and year-round tropical climate.
The artist was about 20 years old when she created her first quilt after her mother gave her a hand-pieced “fan” quilt sewn by her great-grandmother, Eva Walls. It was hand-quilted by the ladies at her church in the early 1940s. Grundhauser immediately enrolled in a Dresden Plate quilting class. The “fan” quilt is included in the exhibition.
In addition to quilting, Dianna owned The Maui Quilter in Kahului, Maui, from 1997 to 2001. She opened the shop because supplies and instruction specifically for quilting were limited. She says, “My shop quickly became the place for classes, quality fabrics and supplies, and visiting teacher workshops. I also did custom longarm quilting during this time and completed 100s of quilts for customers. I closed the shop in October 2001 when I realized the customer base on Maui simply wasn’t large enough to sustain a profitable business. I thought I was done with quilting. I went back to work for a publishing company.”
About a year after she closed her shop, Grundhauser was walking back to work after her lunch break when a small pickup truck drove by with the bed filled with bouquets of king protea blossoms. She remembers, “Right at that moment the thought popped into my head. ‘Wow,’ that would make a great quilt. I still had my sewing machine and personal stash of notions. I set to work and ‘Kula Sunrise’ was created. I haven’t stopped since.”
When asked what sets her art quilts apart from others, she answered, “I’m part of a relatively small group of quilters in Hawaii who are responsible for the growth of what we call Contemporary Hawaiian Quilting. Much of our work features Hawaiian quilt motifs, specifically the flora and fauna of the islands. We have an almost endless supply of cultural inspiration here and create our work with a blend of old tradition and new techniques to form a unique style of quilting.”
Grundhauser is not only a quilter but the Accounting Manager for the Boys & Girls Club in Maui. She has worked there for nearly seven years.
Funds to support this exhibition have been provided by the Box Elder County Tourism Tax Advisory Board.