Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Back from Birmingham

I'm just returning to earth after a visit to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham. It was my second time, and it was great! There was so much to see that there was no way one could see it all in the time we had. The range of work is very big - everything from waving amateur quilts to professional works that knocked you off your feet. And that's what I find so fascinating about this festival, that beginners' works are accepted and hung right next to the experts' - it makes me think that I might actually venture to enter one of my quilts next time...

This tulip quilt was really fascinating. And Janet Bolton had her own exhibition with lots of different pieces. I knew they were small, but hadn't realized how small. Some of them were tiiiny! This one was the biggest of the lot. And it was lovely to meet Janet and chat with her as well.
In the Russian exhibition this great "night at the Opera" (I don't know if that was what it was called) was full of excuisite detail. You could read different stories from what was going on in each box - a wedding party, a mafia boss with his young mistress, a young woman with a vampire...

There were beautiful landscapes - this one used gauze to great effect for the foam of the waves.
Michael James had his own exhibition of recent works. He held a great lecture about his work, and found it really interesting to hear about his career and how he works. This one shows images based on photos of different works from the archives of a gallery (I forget which one), and the background yellow and purple bits are actuallly photos of the interior of the building.
Floral quilts were everywhere. This one has ribbon roses,
while this one is machine appliqued.
Swedish artist Ulva Ugerup had made a hot and cold quilt with teamugs that could be hung either way and was heavily embroidered.
A New York Beauty in great colours! I have been meaning to try my hand at this block, but have shied away from it so far, maybe this one will give the inspiration I need to get started.

It is really unfair to show just a few quilts, because there were so many that deserved to be mentioned, but I'll share some more over the next couple of days.

Kaffe Fassett had a great exhibition, showing quilts from his latest book "Kaleidoscope of Quilts". They are really stunning, but silly me, I didn't take any pictures, thinking "I have bought the book", so I don't have any to show you. But take my word for it, they were great. If you like his work, the book is really worth buying. The quilts have been photographed on different locations in Malta and the pictures are stunning. Kaffe's (look, on first name terms now...) lecture was really great as well - he is such a charming man and presents his work so well. After book signing in the shop (yess! I got a signed copy!) that sold his fabric he gave a tour of his exhibition and we got to chat about his choice of fabric and pattern - that was really the highlight of my visit to the Festival!

I also had a lovely chat with Dorothy Stapleton who is retiring from quilting - at least teaching and lecturing. Lovely lady with a great sense of humor!

I must admit I did a little bit of shopping as well... Not so much fabric - some of Kaffe's and a bit of batik, and some Fossil Fern. I got lots of other interesting bits and pieces though: hand dyed embroidery thread of different weights and colours in silk, cotton and linen, some silk and chiffon fabric for embroidery, shisha mirrors and silk cocoons and some issues of Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors - I think I might as well get subscriptions - I have been buying so many back issues lately...

That's enough gushing from me today. I'm trying to get back to normal here after being away on holiday for a couple of weeks. It's back to work again on Monday, so I'd better get some more mundane projects out of the way - washing, ironing and some boring paint jobs I have been putting off for too long. And then I might get back to my sewing machine again...

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