The Festival of Quilts at the NEC has become part of my regular research visits along with The Knitting & Stitching Show in November. After a workshop cancellation I was so excited to have time to visit this year’s show.
The show has a mix of galleries and traders spread across three halls which can be a bit overwhelming when you first visit. This year’s show was definitely the best I have seen for a couple of years. Here are just a few of my favourite galleries and pieces.
Criminal Quilts is an art and archives project, crafted and researched by artist Ruth Singer in partnership with Staffordshire Record Office. Ruth has been working with these images since 2012 and over the last year has been Artist in Residence at the Record Office, researching and creating artworks inspired by images of female criminals who were photographed in Stafford Prison from 1877 to 1915. These pictures provide a compelling glimpse into the lives of around 500 women imprisoned for crimes such as drunkenness and theft, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries which Ruth has been researching along with a team of volunteers.
You can view more images from this amazing project on Ruth’s website.
The City & Guilds Gallery
There are so many talented emerging makers graduating from courses across the UK and it was great to see some exiting new pieces from this year’s gallery.
Emma Astill is a textile designer working with digital print and mixed media. Her work was really interesting and different.
Distorting DNA is a collection that is both aesthetically alluring yet taboo in its concept and presence. My interest in Criminology and Forensic Science became the starting point to my final collection. Within my textile studies, I aim to create conceptual starting points that lead to interesting and unusual outcomes.
Madeleine Gale is a textile designer who loves to work with colour and her stand immediately caught my eye. She has been selected as one of the five UK finalists for the 2018 Quilter’s Guild Student Bursary award. Here is an image from her ‘Rakugaki’ collection.
I’ve always appreciated the work that goes into any quilt, I’ve not made many quilts myself. I find the whole thing a bit daunting and I don’t have the largest studio to make bigger pieces! The Modern Quilts Gallery always showcases some amazing pieces with a contemporary twist.
It wouldn’t be a post about quilts if I didn’t include my favourite shape to use, hexagons. I’ve always loved how they tessellate to create different patterns large and small. My first piece of English Patchwork used hexagons to create a flower pin cushion so I have a fondness form hexagons in quilting.