Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Festival of Quilts

Last week we were on holiday (Rhodes - very good, very lazy and very hot) but despite arriving home at 5.15 am on Sunday, I was determined to get to the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham to visit the 'Festival of Quilts'. I slept for 5 hours and then went off. Luckily, it's only about half an hour from us by car, and very easy to find.

Because I wasn't sure how long I'd last, I had to prioritise my viewing, and first stop was to see our group quilt, 'Forest of Seasons', made by 24 members of Lutterworth Piecemakers.

It looked really great, and then I realised that it had won a 'Highly Commended' award! How good is that! Not only having a quilt hanging in one of the best quilt shows in Europe (they say) but getting an award for it! There are more photos on the Piecemakers blog, if you want to see them.
Next I looked at the special exhibitions and saw some amazing stuff. Here are just two quilts which took my eye, and big apologies to the makers, as I've forgotten to note down their names.

This one was called 'Saints and Sinners' and shows two common depictions of women, as the slut or the goddess. there were lots of fussy cut images of female saints and naughty girls, some of which I have in my own stash (the naughty girls, not so much the saints

Here is a close-up of one section, with the lovely Michael Miller cutie in her red dress and cleavage on full display, in front of the holy ladies. I especially like the Madonna with the guita

This one was actually hanging vertically, but fitted in the frame better this way. It represents three stages of womanhood. On the left is girlhood, in the middle is marriage and the final block is childbirth. You can see that although the appliqued shapes in each block are similar, they are subtly different in an interesting way. DD says that usually the three stages of womanhood are represented as Maid, Mother, Crone, so this one is a bit unusual (and rather kinder, I think!)

The I looked at the traditional quilts and only took one photo, although there were lots of lovely quilts. This one is by Ted Storm, who is a Dutch quilter, and it is absolutely fantastic.

Here is a close-up of the beautiful applique, which was inspired by her great-great-great grandmother's white embroidered bridal handkerchief, and the workmanship was stunning. It quite rightly won an award for hand quilting.

And then to the shopping! Well, if we didn't support the traders, the show wouldn't get its funding, would it?!

Fabric first. Some dark blue batiks, which I needed (honest) as I am planning a blue batik quilt for DS, some Martha Negley fabrics to add to some I bought recently in a sale, crocodile, cherry and snake fabric because I fell for them, and neutral threads which always come in handy.

Then books. Barbara Brackman's new book on fabric history (I can highly recommend it) and the papers presented at the last Quilters Guild of Great Britain symposium.

Then I just generally browsed. As I browsed, I came across a stall selling antique quilts and quilt blocks. I have always wanted to buy some antique blocks, and fell in love with these four.

They are all hand sewn, and date from about 1870-1880. They weren't cheap, and I don't yet know what I'm going to do with them, but the feeling that someone made these over 100 years ago, is awesome.

All in all, a good day. I made it to about 4 pm, then went home and flopped!


Sew Create It - Jane said...

Sounds like an amazing day! Well done you for managing it on 5 hours of sleep!

Anonymous said...

I was at the Festival of Quilts for two whole days yet only saw 2 of the 4 quilts you show on your blog! Proves how massive it all is!


Exuberant Color said...

The tree quilt is wonderful. It definitely deserved an award of some kind.