Sunday, 11 August 2013

One woman went to the Festival of Quilts.

I have a problem or two with the Festival of Quilts, one major thing is how much the traditional quilts have been downgraded. Far fewer people are entering this category these days though judging by what the traders sell, more people are making traditional quilts than anything else with Contemporary quilting coming a close second. I didn't bother to look at the ART quilts and as far as I could see neither did an awful lot of the people attending (or if they did, the commonly heard cry was 'why'). This isn't against art on my part, just the fact that so many of the entries are neither art nor quilts.

The winning quilts in the 'normal' quilt show categories were at the end of an aisle with about eight foot between them and a wall and this was also the passageway to get in and out from this part of the show...... The maximum prize awarded for a contemporary or traditional quilt is £2,000 which is brilliant for a European show until you hear the maximum prize for an art quilt is £5,000. (and the judges of this included a woman who has a degree in marketing and another who writes fiction..... I didn't bother to find out who the others were, I lost the will). So there were fewer quilts to see which interested me (sometimes I feel I would need to go to Australia ).

 Having said that there were about half a dozen or a little more or international quality. And those I loved. Andrea Stracke's wholecloth was lovely. The first time I walked past the winning quilt in the traditional category I thought it had been stenciled, but no it was beautifully appliqued roses on a giant doily. Each petal of the rose had carefully selected fabrics to give the impression on stenciling and the doily background had fine embroidery round each piece to give it dimension and made it seem like it was floating slightly above the background. 

One particular quilt caught my eye and it was this one by Jean Ball. Each tiny star had been fussy cut. Heaven knows how long it took to piece this.

There was a lovely quilt in the European Gallery but no photos were permitted. The good news is there is a 'legal' copy here on Babara Brackman's blog. I feel it a shame when the no photography rule is implemented unnecessarily. When I have seen a photo online, it makes me want to see the real thing even more.

Annabel Rainbow's work was to be seen to be believed.  The quilts are much larger than I had thought. Go see at The funniest thing were a group of women, looked at her quilts, then back at me. It took a few minutes for me to realise they thought I had been the model! I think she is a very cool woman so was delighted.

I took my rollator. It makes me feel embarrassed because I can walk without it but I would never have managed the whole day without it so on balance it wins.


  1. I so agree .. if they want to make art.. go enter an art competition!

  2. Thanks for the review. Finding most of the larger prizes here in the U.S. are sponsored by the sewingmachine companies so go to nontraditional quilts. So much so my local guild dropped the hand-quilting category (only because the three quilters who wrote up the categories are all long arm quilters.) Fortunately a local museum has a show the following month and that one really promotes traditional qults!

  3. Oh, how I agree with you! I have been lucky enough to attend the FOQ every year and now only bother to look at the traditional and miniature quilts.

  4. I agree with you on the art quilts. I just can't go there!

    I have been back today and went and checked out the EQA gallery to see where the notices were that said no photography. I saw none and checked with the two European ladies holding the fort and asked whether their had been a no photography policy at any time during the show. I was assured their had been none.
    I do adhere to a no photography notice if I see one.
    As usual the Quilters Guild had notices on their stand.
    All in all a good show I just wish the organisers would display the winning quilts at the opposite end of the aisle where their is more room for visitors to see them and better light.

  5. Although i appreciate the hours that go into making the Art quilts, there is no comparison - give me traditional quilts every time. They are true patchwork and are what inspire me.

  6. I like the idea of having the winning quilts all together, but the position is wrong at the moment. If they were at the other end of the aisles it would make more sense.

    There were some lovely quilts, but fewer to my taste than when I first went to the Festival of Quilts. I particularly liked a striking red and white, square in square quilt.

    I was there for two days and also used my rollator - it is the only way I can do a full day anywhere!

  7. I have stopped going to the FoQ - I was getting depressed at not seeing much I liked, nor was I inspired. I would never enter a quilt because, unlike judging standards, I don't admire perfection as I find it rather soulless. I think personality and presence are more important and so many quilts don't have either! I could go on at length as to why I think this is, but I won't bore you any longer!