The Festival of Quilts in Birmingham (Great Britain) was a great show. Larger than ever, more merchants than ever and a lot of quilts. I don’t know if the “more than ever”-category fits here as well. But still with more than 1100 quilts in the different competitions and 27 galleries dedicated to a single quilter or a group there was more to see than one could manage in just one day.
The winner in the category “Pictorial Quilts” was Janneke de Vries-Bodzinga’s quilt “Poor and Rich”. The quilt is appliquéd and pieced by machine and free-motion machine quilted (all done on a home machine).
An interesting quilt is “Dear Mrs. Morcom” by Mark and Bridget Mann (a mother-son-collaboration). They used screen prints on recycled men’s suits to create a portrait of the mathematician code breaker and founder of Computer Science. The quilt was inspired by the correspondence between 16 year old Alan Turning and Mrs. Morcom, the mother of his childhood friend who died.
“Sunrise, Moonrise” by Mercé Gonzalez Desedamas was the winner in the “Art Quilts” category. The quilt consisted of two layers, each one made of hand dyed silk organza in the Pojagi style. Pojagi is a traditional Korean way of making Patchwork where special care is taken of the seams, which are usually seen, as the traditional fabric is silk. With each little breeze the layers of the quilt moved and shifted and the underlying one could be partly seen. The top layer was rust and red colors, the bottom layer was in different shades of blue. A very creative work of art.
A fun piece was the winner of the “Group Quilts”. Six quilters created beach huts, reflecting their different personalities. Each part was lovingly embellished.
A beautiful quilt was the winner of the category “Traditional Quilts” “The Good Life” by Philippa Naylor. It is machine appliquéd and machine quilted.
A great idea which led to beautiful quilts was the British & Finnish Stash Challenge, initiated by the two guilds. Quilters provided a selection of fabrics from their stashes to participants in the other country and they had to make a quilt using these fabrics and and their own. (You can find more quilts of this challenge in the gallery.)
The Quilters’ Guilds from Switzerland, Hungary and Belgium are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year. So they decided to celebrate together organizing a challenge. The quilters exchanged fabric with a quilter in another country and created quilts with these fabrics. All quilts have the same size and 60 quilts now show the state-of-the-art of quilting in the different countries.
One of my favourite quilt artists had its own gallery: Alicia Merrett of Great Britain. She makes stunning, colorful quilts which are (at this time) inspired by maps. She believes that maps fulfil a need in mankind as a way of interpreting the world and our place within it. Her quilts also talk about climate change and the need to protect the Earth for future generations.
Many of you will know Ann Johnston, author of the books “Color by Accident” and “Color by Design” (and some more). At the Festival of Quilts Ann Johnston presented a body of work called “The Contact: Quilts of the Sierra Nevada”, inspired by the land within the Sierra Nevada – what is there at present as well as events imagined and unseen. She created all the fabric herself using different surface design techniques thus demonstrating her mastery at this art. Standing in the middle of Ann Johnston’s gallery space was like standing in the Sierra Nevada, seeing all the rocks, the vast blue sky, the cracks in the stones and the sunset.
The Russian Quilt Gallery was dedicated to Elena Folomyeva presenting her “Around Flora” exhibition. Her work is inspired by the opulence and intricacies of nature, showing flowers, trees and animals.
Emotions, feelings and moods are a constant source of inspiration for Ineke van Unen, which she makes visible and tangible using sparkling colored fabrics. Her gallery space was a wonderful world of color and lines.
“Fine Art Quilt Masters” is the most prestigious exhibition at the Festival of Quilts. It is an international juried competition where work by some of the world’s leading quilt artists can be seen. This year’s winner was Brigitte Kopp from Germany with her quilt “Gebärmütter”. It is a quilt from Brigitte’s series “Perception of Women”. The artist says: “There are different perceptions of women in our society depending on their tasks or the task people allocate to women. One is to have children. The German word ‘Gebärmütter’ means wombs, the organ for carrying a child but is also a word for women, getting more and more children.”
EQA – The European Quilting Association – presented a very nice exhibition called “Seasonal Garden”. EQA invited its members to submit a quilt measuring 30 x 30 cm (12 x 12 inches) showing a garden theme. Each country got assigned one season and all the quilts of this country had to have this specific season as inspiration. The guild of the country selected 16 quilts for the final exhibition.
These are just a few glimpses into the Festival of Quilts 2014. In the gallery below and on the gallery page you will find more beautiful, colorful and inspirational quilts. And if you like to plan ahead: The Festival of Quilts 2015 will take place from August 6 to August 9 at the NEC in Birmingham, England.