Jungle Dreams quilt

Luisa Fumgalli's quilt "Jungle Dreams" will be showcased at the American Quilter's Society's Quilt Week international show in Paducah, Ky. on Sept. 11-13.

Luisa Fumagalli has been quilting for more than three decades.

The Menomonie quilter had never submitted her work for a show, until this year.

Fumagalli's quilt "Jungle Dreams" will be one of nearly 700 quilts from around the world featured during the American Quilter's Society's Quilt Week show on Sept. 11-13 in Paducah, Ky.

"I've got nothing to lose, let’s give it a try," Fumagalli said about applying for her first show. "When I got selected to have it in the show I was really excited."

The show has quilts submitted for 38 states and 16 countries all vying for $121,250 in cash awards.

It took a month in a half for Fumagalli to complete her quilt. She usually spends more time in the winter quilting as her other passion gardening is a summer only activity. Fumaglli was snowed in and she didn't have any other work scheduled. She has spent a lot of time over the years on projects designing costumes for theater and music department productions. Dreaming of warmer weather Fumagalli began work on her quilt.

"I felt home bound and wishing I was in a tropical place so I made a jungle quilt," Fumagalli said.

After she had created the design and made all the pieces for the top layer Fumagalli received help from fellow local quilter Ann Schuh of Caryville who added three layers and a backing to complete the quilt. Most of the quilt is done by piece work while also featuring applique technique and a little bit of fabric painting and embroidery.

The design behind "Jungle Dreams" was inspired by French painter Henri Rousseau, a favorite artist of Fumagalli. Rousseau prominently featured jungle themes without having the experience of visiting the jungle first hand Fumagalli said. There wasn't a particular painting she was hoping to replicate but rather Fumagalli created her own design following a similar vision.

"Let’s see if I could transfer some of the look and feel of this into a quilt," Fumagalli said about Rousseau's paintings.

Fumagalli delivered her quilt to Paducah about three weeks ago and she will make the journey south for the show. On Sept. 11 there will be a dinner for the quilters who were selected to display their work. That evening Fumagalli will see if she is able to win any prizes. Fumagalli said there is close to 20 different categories quilts are submitted for based on techniques and size of the quilt. The category for first time contestants was the perfect category for Fumagalli to enter.

Attending an exhibit displayed at UW-Stout made by a local quilt group Fumagalli became interested in forming her own group.

The Peace Works Quilters was formed 33 years ago and they still meet once a month at homes of the group's members. Each month the group is given a design and the members spend the next month creating quilt squares that are pieced together the following month into one larger project. This was an ideal hobby for Fumagalli when she began the group because with two young children around there wasn't enough time or space to work on an entire project herself.

"It was a way to do minimal work and see the results quickly," Fumagalli said. "It kept me able to do projects when it would have been really difficult (to do) with little kids (around)."

Having found her way into a show on her first time applying Fumagalli hopes to continue to enter quilts if she has enough time next winter to make another. Her favorite part is being creative and designing her own patterns.

She is looking forward to seeing other quilts that have entered the show when she heads to Kentucky. Viewing the work of other talented quilters Fumagalli might just be inspired for her next quilt which could if everything goes right earn her another spot in an international quilt show.

"It will probably inspire me for another quilt because I’ll get some ideas after seeing some other things that other people have done," Fumagalli said of going the Quilt Week show. "It’s going to fun to meet other quilters and that will be totally exciting to meet somebody that’s come from another country to be there."

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