Flowers of the Crown by Shirley Kelly won Best of Show at IQA Houston 2002. Here from the IQA website is her acceptance speech:
The That Patchwork Place Best of Show Award ($10,000)
Sponsored by Martingale & Co./That Patchwork Place
Artist's Statement: After each of the Triple Crown races, a blanket of flowers is draped over the winner: roses at the Kentucky Derby, black-eyed susans for the Preakness, and carnations to the Belmont victor. The races of 1978 provided three of the most contentious battles of the century with Affirmed prevailing by 1 1/2 lengths or less. In the Belmont, depicted here, Affirmed and Alydar would run head and head over the last mile, with Affirmed winning the Crown and all three blankets of flowers. Hand appliqué.
"Actually, I could probably make my voice reach all the way to the back. I have a rather loud one! The honor bestowed upon me and this most frustrating quilt was a total surprise. Thank you, Karey and Marti, and all of the Festival people, as well as Nancy and Martingale, for their generous sponsorship that has made my struggles with it all worthwhile.
My dad was a jockey before he and mom were married. When I was a small child, he began taking me to various race tracks in our area of Canada and western New York. I grew up to love and admire these beautiful and courageous animals. I met my husband through our mutual interest in riding. Soon, I was making pencil renderings of our and our friend's horses.
Then, on a trip to Kentucky, I received permission to draw [legendary racing horse] Secretariat, leading to other commissioned work in the thoroughbred community. Meanwhile, about 20 years ago while teaching a commercial art class, I created an action poster of 10 or 12 horses at the head of the stretch. It was eventually used as the color work-up for my Derby quilt, Two Minutes in May. Because that was successful, Battle of Old Hilltop was created. Flowers of the Crown is the last in a series of horse racing quilts, usually referred to over three long agonizing years as "the quilt from hell!"
It has obviously ascended into heaven with this fantastic honor, and I must confess I am liking it better and better. There are many people who I want to thank. Of great importance was the help of Candi Thornton, who took my rough thumbnail sketch and with the computer worked out the perspective of the framed portrait and the scrapbook. Mickey and Dan Lawler provided the hand-painted rock cable fabric for this area, along with multiple hugs. During a studio class, Paula Nadelstern advised me on the placement of the flowers. I treasure her friendship and encouragement. Bonnie and Peter Herman pushed me to make this Belmont quilt to commemorate one of the greatest Triple Crown races ever run. Jay, my husband and super efficient secretary, had learned to love dinners prepared in a half an hour or less and to answer the phone by saying ‘I'm sorry, she's working now.' And last, but certainly not least, our friend, George Smith, who provided love and creative insight that was truly inspirational. Finally, as to whether either of my children quilt, well, no. But my one-year-old grandson, Troy, has already mastered the jargon. Instead of ‘ma-ma‘ or ‘da-da,' his first words were ‘uh-oh,' followed by ‘oh, wow.' Thank you all."
(Photo: Gregory Case)