Festival of Quilts 2010 – Part 2

As promised, here are some more photos from this year’s Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham,UK. In my last post there was a picture of the fabulous winning quilt by Kumiko Frydl, so here I will just post a few that struck me as I wandered around.

This quilt “Summer Meadow” by Jane Davies features a lovely hand dyed background with  hand stitched details.

Detail of the stitching.

Of course I am drawn towards anything featuring  jungle so I liked this quilt by Stephanie Redfern called “The Secret Jungle”

Detail of “The Secret Jungle”

This quilt  by Cherry Vernon-Harcourt was the winner of the Quilters Guild Challenge with the theme of ‘Summer in the City’.

Winner of Quilters' Guild Challenge

This quilt, ‘Blackberry Jam ,Jelly and Juice’,  made by Sheena Hughs, won second prize in the Art Quilt category

And this one ‘Pay the Ferryman’ by Annette Morgan was the winner in the Art Quilts category.

This quilt made by Grietje van der Veen reminded me of the beautiful olive groves in Spain. It was featured in the European Art Quilt exhibit.

Festival of Quilts 2010 – Part 1

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.

England and Festival of Quilts

I am back in Brunei now after spending a couple of weeks over in England, the highlight of which was my visit to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham. It was my first visit to the festival and only the second quilt show I’ve ever been to, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, having been a bit disappointed with the show I went to several years ago. This show more than lived up to expectations and I was very glad that I chose to stay there the full four days.

I traveled up from Southsea by train and as I arrived in Birmingham I was surprised by suddenly being surrounded by loads of women with small suitcases on wheels all heading purposefully in one direction. I guessed they were all going to the show, but what I didn’t realize at the time was that all the cases were empty, ready to be crammed with all the wonderful goodies available for sale at the show.

I arrived a little too early to check in to my hotel, so I dumped all my stuff, grabbed a bag and headed off myself. What struck me first was the size of the place and then the quality of the workmanship in the quilts and the wide variety of different styles on display. Everything from the latest techniques and materials to the most traditional, there must have been something to suit every taste. For the shoppers there was a marvelous variety of fabrics, threads, notions and everything else you could possibly wish for.


As I hadn’t been before and because I don’t normally have access to classes other than online, I wanted to take full advantage of the workshops being offered, so had signed up for two full day and one half day workshop. In retrospect, this was too much and didn’t leave me enough time to really look at all the quilts and trade stands properly. Two of the workshops I chose were on techniques and styles that are different to the way I normally work and although they were fun to do, and the teachers were good I don’t think I’d incorporate these things into future work.

 For me, the class that I got the most out of was the one conducted by the Australian teacher Pam Holland called Monet’s Garden, based on flower s she’d photographed whilst in France. Her method of working is similar to how I like to work, and the subject matter was also one that appealed to me. She introduced us to methods of creating shading and depth using thread painting and fabric pens, the pens were also used to add fine details. These are some techniques that I’d like to apply to my own quilts, and actually the pens would have come in handy for my last hornbill design that I was creating where I wanted to add some very fine palm fronds. Jan brought along a selection of her own work to inspire us including her award winning reproduction quilt and the full size copy of the Bayeux tapestry that she is currently working on. The attention to detail and workmanship in all the quilts is amazing.


The four days went all too quickly and I was very sorry when it was all over, but I left feeling inspired and keen to get to work on my own projects again and hopefully next year I’ll be able to enter something of my own. Here are a few photos from the exhibition……



The winner of the Art Quilts category


Winner of contemporary quilt category


A detail of quilt by Judy Bowker from Australia