Winning quilts at 2014 Festival of Quilts in Birmingham UK

lots to see at the festival

by Patricia Belyea

BIRMINGHAM UK  I have been getting requests to send photos of all the quilts at The Festival of Quilts. Of course, that would be impossible because there are SO MANY. So here’s a curated compilation of what caught my eye.

Let’s start with the Fine Art Quilt Masters. Weathered posters and flaking paint on old gates inspired Billboard for the Soul by Anne Smith.

Billboard for the Soul, quilt by Anne Smith

Judy Hooworth from Australia wrote a poem that begins with “Puddles of black water / hold the earth...” for her artist’s statement for Rainy Day Dora Creek 10.

Rainy Day Dora Creek 10, quilt by Judy Hooworth

A commentary on consumer waste, Mirjam Pet-Jacobs’ quilt, What A Waste, is made with cotton gift bags.

What a Waste, quilt by Mirjam Pet-Jacobs

Hanging on the outer wall of the exhibit, Karen Farmer’s quilt The View From Here gathered quite a bit of attention from passers-by.

The View From Here, quilt by Karen Farmer

International art quilters displayed collections of their work in solo exhibits. From the US, Anne Johnston’s show, The Contact: Quilts From The Sierra Nevada, powerfully combined sublime colors, sophisticated compositions and a full range of textures.

Ann Johnston—The Contact: Quilts of The Sierra Nevada

Compelling quilts of maps and aerial views by Alicia Merrett drew me into her exhibit, Mapping The Imagination.

Mapping the Imagination, quilts by Alicia Merrett

The displays with everyone’s quilts filled two huge halls. To follow are some highly accomplished entries:

The Festival of Quilts 2014, Birmingham UK The Festival of Quilts 2014, Birmingham UK

Here’s my favorite Group quilt, a two-sided masterpiece made by the students of New Bradwell School. Who doesn’t love something ambitious made by kids?

Group Quilt by New Bradwell School Students Group Quilt by New Bradwell School Students

And a taste of Quilt Creations—out-of-the-box quilted projects that charm non-stop.

Quilt Creations at The Festival of Quilts 2014

Ready for the winners?

L In the Miniature Quilt category, Roberta Le Poidevin’s A Hundred Acres was lauded by the judges for its evocative atmospheric quality. (See the full-sized version of this quilt in the blog post about the European Art Quilt Foundation show.)

R Mother and son team Bridget Mann and Mark Mann swept the Two Person category with their quilt portrait, Dear Mrs Morcom, made with recycled suits and screen-printed designs.

Miniature Winner and Two-Person Winner in The Festival of Quilts 2014

Eye candy through and through, Philippa Naylor’s The Good Life took first prize in the Traditional category. Philippa comments that she challenged herself to use commercially printed fabrics but the real challenge looks like her remarkable use of rick rack.

The Good Life, quilt by Philippa Naylor

A contemporary quilt won the grand slam Best of Show. Eloquence and Integrity by Ruth Parker gleaned these compliments from the judges for her two-sided triptych: “The exquisite handwork and fine machine piecing are exceptional. A simple technique made complex by the meticulous placement of colour across the quilt surface.” Well done, Ruth!

Eloquence and Integrity, quilt by Ruth Parker

Just as much fun as looking at quilts is making new friends. Stopping for a cup of tea in the afternoon, I shared a table with Kay Jones and her daughter-in-law Sallyanne Canton-Jones from Wales. Kay’s miniature quilt was Number 25 in a Chinese Whisper challenge that started with a photo of the arches in the Sistine Chapel!

Solitude miniature quilt by Kay Jones

The show also featured 300 vendors selling goods that quilters love and want. As a former marketing exec, I give kudos to The Cotton Patch store for its irresistible booth.

In each corner sat a “throne” for four quilting superstars. The attraction of Kaffe Fassett, Amy Butler, Nel Whatmore and Stuart Hillard for chumming with customers and signing books trumps all.

Amy Butler at The Cotton Patch booth at The Festival of Quilts 2014

Please note that this post is not a comprehensive report on all quilts or all winners at this year’s Festival. Instead it’s a sampling of the wonderful treasures you can see at this leading patchwork and quilting show.


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