Magical Mystery Tour: Quilted Beatles homage comes to Visions Museum


By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt

Over the years, The Beatles have been honored by film, stage, and musical tributes, but probably never before in the medium of quilts. On Feb. 3, the small but mighty Visions Art Museum will present 43 pieces in homage to the Fab Four at an artists’ reception, part of the monthly First Friday event at Liberty Station. “Magical Mystery Tour” is the theme of this year’s “challenge competition” from Canyon Quilters, a University City group that includes many of Visions’ members. The challenge: To come up with a 14-inch-square quilt inspired by the Beatles.

Judy Warren-Tippets, a La Jolla resident who is also a Visions board member, was pleased to have her “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” chosen for the show.

“At first, I couldn’t come up with any ideas,” she confessed. “But when I went online and found a list of their song titles — they wrote about 200 songs! — my memories of the tunes came flooding back. And ‘Lucy’ sounded like so much fun for an art quilt.”

Fun is definitely the key word for this exhibit, which promises to be a real crowd-pleaser. “The quilts are whimsical, the artists are local ... What’s not to like?” said Visions Executive Director, Beth Smith.

But wait ... there’s more. There will actually be three shows and a total of 118 quilts on display at Visions.

“Art Meets Science” is a traveling exhibit of 35 quilts by artists from eight countries, inspired by such unlikely subjects as binary fission, the RNA of microscopic worms, the anatomy of the swine flu virus, and computer-generated images of fractal geometry, which scientists use to describe chaos in the natural world. These beautiful quilts from SAQA (Studio Art Quilts Association) are anything but chaotic, and will have you contemplating scientific issues in a whole new way.

Last but not least is a display of 4O, 12-inch-square quilts from the Del Thomas Collection. Del Thomas, who has lived in Southern California since the 1950s, started making quilts as a child in Oregon. Her work has appeared in magazines and various exhibits, and she has collected some 180 contemporary quilts of all sizes from all over the world, which she frequently lends to museums and galleries, to promote the art quilts she loves so well. A strong and continuing supporter of Visions, she will be honored by the museum at the exhibit’s opening by having the main gallery renamed for her.

Judy Warren-Tippets said she’s looking forward to seeing all the quilts on display.

“It’s interesting that we’re doing the Beatles show, because art quilting hadn’t yet developed when they were performing,” she said. “It really started to emerge in the 1980s, but now it’s a huge category, and it’s thrilling that we in San Diego have a world-class art quilt venue and that Visions is on the map in the international art world.”

If you go

What: Magical Mystery Tour: en hommage to the Beatles & more

When: February 3-April 22, 2012

Artists’ Reception: 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3

Where: Visions Art Museum at Liberty Station, 2825 Dewey Road, Suite 100

Contact: (619) 546-4872