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.
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.
A commentary on consumer waste, Mirjam Pet-Jacobs’ quilt, What A Waste, is made with cotton gift bags.
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.
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.
Compelling quilts of maps and aerial views by Alicia Merrett drew me into her exhibit, Mapping The Imagination.
The displays with everyone’s quilts filled two huge halls. To follow are some highly accomplished entries:
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?
And a taste of Quilt Creations—out-of-the-box quilted projects that charm non-stop.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.