It is five years since I had the chance to visit the Festival of Quilts at the NEC and I spent a fabulous, inspiring day amonsgst some amazing quilts. It takes a lot to get me to spend the day indoors when the sun is shining, but I was so captivated, I didn’t waste any time leaving the halls!
Also unusual for me is spending most of the time in silence, awed by the feast of colour, design and techniques. In fact my only real conversation was with South African textile artist Pam Stallebrass, which started when I overheard someone warning her to be careful using the poisonous Potassium Dichromate. The talk of poison was enough to bring me out of my silent trance and I was able to discuss Pam’s Playing With Light exhibition with her.
As I already teach cyanotype printing with light onto textiles, it was lovely to see Pam’s examples and discuss suppliers for the chemicals. I also really enjoyed learning about Van Dyke printing onto fabric. Van Dyke Brown Printing is nearly identical in simplicity and low cost, but yields a rich brown color as opposed to the blue of cyanotypes. I loved the feather images Pam had achieved and will be adding Van Dyke printing techniques to my workshop programme, so watch this space! Rest assured, I’m not going to be using the poison though.
One day was really not enough to get the most from:
20 international textile artist showcases
the display of nearly 800 competition quilts
300+ exhibitors selling specialist quilting and textile art supplies
as well as another look at many of the the Bronte Challenge quilts and the after hours fashion show.
So my strategy was to concentrate on the quilts knowing I could contact exhibitors at another time. This also meant I didn’t make rushed, non comparative purchases. So on the train coming home I felt quite virtuous reviewing my purchased 11 fat quarters, and a few of trims and threads. I do have a growing wish list though!
Did I agree with the judges?
My Favourite in the Two person Category was a Modern Sampler: Black by Helen Howes and Helen Butcher
My Favourite in the Traditional Quilt category was Dahlia by Gillian Smyth
A Common Theme
I was indoors but was transported to the coast by the many seaside inpired quilts. The whole of the young category was on the seaside theme and my favourite was A Relaxing Day at the Beach by Agnes Shaw, which was a small deckchair along with a cloth book to read and won the 2nd prize in theYoung Quilter/Young Embroiderer 9-11 Category
A second deckchair, full size this time, was Sittin’ in the Morning Sun by Burgess Hill School for Girls, which won the Secondary School Competition
Another seaside quilt that I spent some time enjoying won the Anne Tuck prize Finding Perspective by Jill Rose Brennan
Elements by Hilary Beattie
and Happy Memmories of the Seaside by Christine Ireland
Breaker on the Beach by Susan Vogel
On the Beach with Maggi by Linda Forey
On the Beach – A Waste Land by Kathy Unwin
Memories of Times Past by Ann Beare
Gateway by Hilary Beatie
Keeping watch #2 by Roberta Le Poidevin
It was a thrill to have some of my work exhibited: My Bronte Challenge Quilt and my quilting group piece with Totley Brook Quilters
My looking into a window block is middle right
So do I think our group quilt should have won in that category? Probably not. There were so many wonderful group quilts, I would have found it hard to pick winners!
The winners were Sussex Spectrum, with Dyeversity.
Other favourite group quilts of mine were:
Stansted House Hampshire by Artworks
The Ochils in Autumn by Alva Divas
Tranqullity by Totally patched Group
and Liberated Black Line by Meon Textile Artists which was highly commended.
If you haven’t had chance to visit the show, you can still enter the festival competition until 29th August, 2016, to win one of the biggest quilting hampers of all time!
If you have managed to visit the festival I would love to hear what you thought. Please post comments below.