I’ve just returned to Brunei from my annual trip to the UK and my second visit to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham. This year I didn’t attend any workshops as the ones I was interested in had sold out by the time I was able to register, so that meant I had plenty of time to look around and enjoy the wonderful display of over 1,000 quilts from all over the world.
For the first time I had two of my own quilts in the competition, here I am with my quilt inspired by the Borneo rain forest. The other quilt was my hand appliqué birds and flowers design which I wrote about in an earlier blog post.
I attended the gala dinner on the opening night of the festival, and little did I know it, but the quiet unassuming Japanese lady who was sitting at our table with her two daughters was the winner not only of the Miniature Quilts competition but also the Best of Show announced at the end of the dinner. Her piece ‘Mission Impossible 2’ a foundation pieced and reverse appliqué Mariner’s Compass design with 128 points was a true example of precision and perfection and a very deserved winner.
Mission Impossible 2 by Kumiko Frydl
As I had a bit of time on my hands this year I volunteered to help with the SAQA exhibit ‘Art meets Science’ with its very diverse array of quilts inspired by the theme. There was everything from a vibrant close up detail of a butterfly wing to an artistic interpretation of the H1N1 virus. I enjoyed meeting some of the other SAQA members while I did this as well as chatting to people who came to view the display.
While I was there, Alex Veronelli the Product Manager for Aurifil threads shot this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aU1NBKzvGDM which shows the quilts in much more detail so that you can see the intricacy of the designs and the quilting.
What struck me most about being at the show this year was the friendliness and camaraderie of so many of the people I met, whether it was going along the corridors of the hotel, sharing a table at breakfast or lunch, walking to the exhibition hall, going round the various booths of the exhibitors or attending the SAQA coffee morning. It made the whole show a very positive experience and I feel I made new friends as well as meeting up with old friends.
Needless to say I took this opportunity to stock up on threads and fabrics. Living in Brunei I generally have to rely on buying over the internet so it is a luxury to actually be able to look at and feel the fabric I buy, and to have such a fantastic variety of threads in all weights, colours and varieties all in one place. For the fabric I concentrated on original hand dyes which are much harder to buy over the internet as you really need to see them to appreciate their uniqueness. I kept telling myself I should look for colours other than greens and browns, but as you can see I didn’t do a terribly good job, although I did find these beautiful vibrant red and pink hand dyes as well as the subtle grey and blue fabrics.
As you can see from the photo I also bought a lot of threads, a good selection of Aurifil, plus a few by Superior, YLI, Oliver Twists and Madeira. Again I was mostly drawn to browns and greens which I tend to use so much of in my work.
In the next part I will post some of the photos of quilts I took whilst at the exhibition.