Friday, 19 August 2011

Festival of Quilts

Last weekend was the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham. I'd never made a quilt before but I needed something to work towards so I made a piece and entered it into the art quilt category. For regular readers you will know that this pieces is called Not Lost but Still Searching and looks something like this:

My Art Quilt
The piece and title are about how I felt at the time I was making it. Things in my life were all coming together and starting to make sense and I no longer felt lost but still felt, and feel, that there's a lot ahead of me (in a good way, it's exciting!) In mythology, crows were believed to be the carriers of the soul and to be unaware of time; able to see past, present and future simultaneously and so they seemed a fitting motif to adopt as they are able to see the bigger picture.

Seeing the quilt alongside all the others was a slightly weird experience, the venue is huge and there is loads going on. I really liked some of the stuff but I did find a lot of it a bit samey and traditional (which isn't in itself a bad thing but it doesn't float my boat.) There was some technically brilliant work and some great ideas and I really enjoyed looking round. I'm pleased I entered and went down to see it but I don't think it's something I'd do again. If I did, I would roll my quilt before sending it as unfortunately the creases didn't fall out which definitely didn't add to the display of the piece!

On display, with creases!
I also did a piece with my Textile Group at The Heathlands Project and that was also on display. The guys were all really excited about it being on show and want to do another one next year (by which time I will hopefully have recovered from the stress!) It was great to see our work up and we've had lovely comments about the colours and how much fun it is.

The Forest

On display

I had also entered another exhibition called Textile News: Freedom and had work selected for that show early this year. The opening venue was the Festival of Quilts so I got to see that as well before it goes off to Moscow and various other places. The person who organised it, Gudrun Heinz, was there and it was great to meet her. She was very enthusiastic and told me about some of the other entries and came to see the Heathlands quilt as well. For this show the pieces had to be 30x30cm maximum and the theme was freedom. I made my piece in January and it's a special piece to me because it kick started me working again. I looked at the idea of breaking free and portrayed a bird flying up and away. The piece is called 'Rise' and looks like this:

Rise. Dyed and pieced silks with hand stitching

Rise, detail
So, that's my work from the Festival and here are a few of the things I saw that inspired me! Some of them I liked the imagery, some the humour and some the ideas.

Flying High, Claudia Watkins

The Fun of the Fair, Blackheath High School

Everything Stops for Tea, Anjie Davison

The Fun of the Fair, Kings Sutton Primary School

Billie Joe Armstrong, Charlotte Bailey

Detail of above

Spoon Fed Love, Maria Thomas

Olite, Janine Visser

I got Stitched Up, Hayley Brooks

A Sketch in Time, Susan Chapman

Profusion, Mary Morris

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