The Festival of Quilts 2022

I got back yesterday after spending two full days at the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham. It was very enjoyable and I am now very tired! However, let me give you a flavour of my time there (which will obviously be a highly personal one). I’ll begin with what I put in to the Festival and go on to what I got out of it.

First of all, do you remember me mentioning a block for the Bernina Covid Quilt? I wrote about it here This is the block sewn into a quilt:

Block by Amanda Jane Ogden in the Bernina Covid Quilt at the Festival of Quilts 2022

This is what the whole quilt looked like:

One of the three Bernina Covid Quilts at the Festival of Quilts 2022

However so many people took part, illustrating their Covid experience in fabric, that there were enough blocks for THREE quilts. The use of a particular fabric (yellow with white polka dot) really unified the pieces).

In the ‘Contemporary’ category of the contest, I entered a quilt called ‘Memory Tape’.

'Memory Tape' by Amanda Jane Ogden at the Festival of Quilts 2022

It used a vintage industrial measuring tape, found washed up on the beach at Seaham in County Durham. This made reference to memories of the area’s industrial past. It also sparked memories for me because my father used just such a tape when designing gardens. Parts of the quilt were like garden designs on squared paper, complete with embroidered flowers.

'Memory Tape' (detail) by Amanda Jane Ogden at the Festival of Quilts 2022

In The Quilters’ Guild Challenge (‘We all share one world’), I entered ‘Now you see her, now you don’t’, depicting a whale. This makes reference to the effects of micro-plastics in the ocean. Baby whales are dying due to the toxic load ingested in their mother’s milk. Pods of whales are decreasing in size.

'Now you see her now you don't' by Amanda Jane Ogden at the Festival of Quilts 2022

In the ‘Modern’ category, I entered ‘Joy!’ I had the idea for this quilt for months before making it. It isn’t perhaps reasonable to expect to be happy all the time, but looking for the joy is different. I wanted the viewer to have to look a little for the message, as with the whale quilt above.

'Joy!' by Amanda Jane Ogden at the Festival of Quilts 2022

This gem, entered in the ‘Pictorial’ category is by Pat Sharples, a quilter and embroiderer based in County Durham. The embroidered flowers are a delight.

In the Winner’s Gallery, I just loved this vibrant depiction of Venice, entered in the Pictorial category. It is ‘Impresion Tramonto en Venecia’ by Spanish quilter Immaculada Gammaldon Villanoosa de Coon.

'Impresion Tramonto en Venecia' by Spanish quilter Immaculada Gammaldon Villanoosa de Coon

Highlights from other parts of the show included this fabulous quilt made of Suffolk Puffs (or yo-yos if you are in the US) made by Laura Otto in 1964 and entitled ‘Unique Yo-yo’;

'Unique Yo-yo' by Laura Otto, 1964 at the Festival of Quilts 2022

Here is a close-up.

'Unique Yo-yo' (detail) by Laura Otto, 1964 at the Festival of Quilts 2022

This Pictorial quilt ‘Intermission’ by Danny Amazonas, made in 2016 really drew one in.

'Intermission' by Danny Amazonas at the Festival of Quilts 2022

I enjoyed the hyper-realism and wonderful textures of Jane Sanders ‘Self-Portrait’ in the Fine Art Textiles section.

Jane Sanders 'Self-Portrait' in the Fine Art Textiles section at the Festival of Quilts 2022

In the SAQA exhibition whose title was ‘Forced to Flee’ the quilt below, about a refugee from the Syrian war, was full of impact. It is called ‘They are also us’. The maker is Eunhee Lee from Seoul, South Korea.

'They are also us' by Eunhee Lee from Seoul, South Korea

More quilts packing a huge emotional punch were to be found in the Sophie Hayes Foundation gallery where the quilts on show were made by survivors of modern slavery. For more information about this organisation, go to the link at the end of the post.

Sophie Hayes Foundation quilt at the Festival of Quilts 2022

This is just a taste of the striking, beautiful, challenging, emotive and colourful quilts on display. On top of that I attended four excellent lectures and learned new things. The Festival of Quilts takes place next year at the NEC from 3-6 August 2023. Maybe see you there?

Amanda Jane Textiles offers unique fabrics for sale here, quilt patterns here, classes here and quilts for sale here

The Sophie Hayes Foundation: https://www.sophiehayesfoundation.org/

Published by Amanda Jane Textiles

I am an artist, designer and maker living in Ramsgate, UK

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