Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Festival of Quilts 2013

The Festival of Quilts at Birmingham's NEC is the biggest patchwork and quilting event in Europe with around 1,000 quilts on display from around the world from leading international artists and groups and over 300 stands selling quilting and textile supplies. Since venturing into the world of textile art myself it is something I eagerly look forward to each year and to anyone who might think that quilts don't deserve to be considered an art form or are just twee 'patchworky' things to throw over your bed to make them look nice then think again. Just take a look at some of the stunning examples below which are testament that patchwork and quilting really does deserve to be way up there sharing the same fine art arena as painting and sculpture and I defy anyone who might say otherwise. So nuff said - on with the show:

Here is  Janneke de Vries-Bodzinga from the Netherlands standing next to Hurricane which caused a bit of a log jam around the Winners' wall attracting much attention not only because of her amazing quilt but her fabulous jacket too I think. There was much oohing and aahing from everyone but amazingly her quilt only achieved 3rd prize in the Art Quilts section. 

Now, who are the critics and fossils in the art world who still maintain that textile art doesn't qualify being called 'Fine Art'.  The times they are a-changin.  I rest my case!

Competing in the Fine Art Quilt Masters competition this piece particularly appealed to me due to my interest in feminine issues and the everyday lives of women. Called 'I Lied When I Said I Was Happy' artist Linda Barlow has embroidered a vintage French bed sheet to show I think how women can often feel tied to the house by the constraints and drudgery of cooking and cleaning and the pressure of trying to be the perfect housewife, cook and mother.     

Portraits of a Memory by Christine Chester -
Another entry in the Fine Art Quilt Masters category this is Christine's personal response to her father's loss of memory owing to dementia.


Christine uses an interesting technique which combines burning voile with machine embroidery, screenprint, lutrador, paper and wool felt.
The Through Our Hands exhibition was also at the Festival bringing together a number of international textile artists to showcase the very best of contemporary art quilts. I love Annabel Rainbow's work and she was on hand at TOH  to talk about her work and was able to answer my numerous questions about the  techniques she uses.  Each quilt has a central figure of a woman. Annabel then creates a background story about that person which she then stitches onto the quilt using text. 
Life 3, Switching Off - Annabel Rainbow

Life 8, Motherland - Annabel Rainbow

Life 7,  On the Shelf - Annabel Rainbow

Another artist participating (and also curating TOH with Annabel Rainbow) is one of my favourite quilters Laura Kemshall. Have long been a fan of Design Matters TV, an on-line tutorial company she runs with her mother Linda Kemshall (another favourite quilter of mine and participant of TOH) showing textile and mixed-media techniques.  I am also part way through their Creative Sketchbooks course aimed to develop sketchbook skills and techniques in drawing, painting, printing and mixed-media. Highly recommended and very addictive. 

Self-Portrait - Laura Kemshall (this may not be the right title as forgot to note it down)

A look now at the best of the rest.............


Irene MacWilliam - A Blog

I Need Some Advice - Liked the advice 'Don't Talk to the Artist' 
Recycled Denim Dress - Ineke Berlyn

Today I am in my Fifties, Tomorrow I am Sixty

 Every Text He Ever Sent Me - Lara Hailey
Lexicon of Fabrics

A quilt from the SAQA (Studio Art Quilts Associates) Exhibition Metaphors on Aging

Detail from above.  The artist uses cheescloth and muslin to acheive the effect.

Another great festival.  I always run out of time to get round and see everything. You really need more than one day here to do it justice and the show lasts for 4 days. I am always here till the very last minute, running around trying to see every single quilt and buy last minute supplies but I always go home full of admiration,   inspiration and the aspiration that one day I will create an art quilt worthy of exhibiting at the Festival of Quilts. 

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