Festival of Quilts 2014 at NEC Birmingham - by Joyce


I made a last minute decision to go to the Festival of Quilts on Thursday 7th August, the opening day. Travelling by train from Euston, I arrived at the show about 12.30pm and since I am more interested in Contemporary Quilts I headed for the Contemporary Quilt Section's challenge "Dislocation". Some very imaginative interpretations of the word and a couple that caught my eye were Ann Tuck's "Slipped Disc" conveying memories of a painful time in her life. Oval discs down the centre panel with curved lines radiating out on a reddish and green background. Worked on synthetic felt using transfer paints,appliqué and hand stitching. The other one was by Janet Bevan entitled "In Flanders Fields".

She had been moved by visiting the battlefields in Northern France and seeing the haunting images of photographer Frank Hurley. In her design she had incorporated a war-torn flag; white crosses with voile poppies;soldiers in the trenches;horses drawing gun carriages and a distressed flag with shadowy figures moving cross it. A very moving piece.

I then looked at the Art Quilts Section and a transparent piece in the shape of a Kimono caught my eye. It had been hung so that the light shone through the beautiful colours and realised it was by Neredah, who used to be one of our members. It was constructed with mostly square and rectangular pieces of varying sizes stitched together with Pojagi seams so it had the appearance of stained glass. The colours were sometimes vibrant and sometimes subtle with interesting textures within them. I understand clingfilm and spun bonded polyester were involved in the making.

There were some very impressive quilts in the Traditional Quilts Section combining imaginative colour schemes with traditional patterns.

The Primary Schools Section were given "In Our Garden" as their theme and there were some fun interpretations, one using photos of cheeky children as the centres of the flowers.

Linda Seward has a new book out on Art Quilt techniques and she had a stand displaying many of the quilts by textile artists used in her book.

Other sections included: Diversity in Europe; European Quilts Association; Graduate Showcase;France Patchwork; Crossroads,quilts from the Middle East; British and Finnish Stash Challenge and probably others I've forgotten! And I haven't even mentioned all the traders and Textile Artists demonstrating!

If you haven't been I can really recommend it, I only had a day to spare but there are numerous hotels nearby and if you stay for a couple of 
days there is time to do a workshop or two.