Jean McLean - And The Sky Danced - Quilt

Festival of Quilts 2018 | Art Quilts

Quilty Pleasures from Mr X Stitch

Winners of The Festival of Quilts 2018 competition announced!

Karen Callaghan - Strelitzia - Quilt

Bedfordshire-based quilt artist Karen Callaghan has won the 2018 Fine Art Quilt Masters competition at The Festival of Quilts.

The Fine Art Quilt Masters competition (sponsored by Vlieseline Freudenberg) is an international juried competition which celebrates quilts that transcend craft and demand equal billing with gallery quality art works.  Karen’s winning work, Strelitzia, was inspired by a photograph of a leaf from a Strelitzia plant and won the artist £5,000 in prize money.  The quilt will be displayed in the Textile Galleries at The Knitting & Stitching Show in London (Alexandra Palace) this October and Harrogate in November.

Katy Whitby - My Favourite Things - Quilt

The Festival’s Handi Quilter Best in Show category was won by Katy Whitby Last from Huntly in Scotland for her Pictorial Quilt (sponsored by Juki) category-winning entry, My Favourite Things.  Judges praised the The Sound of Music song-themed quilt’s ”masterful conception and execution using unusual techniques to achieve a true trompe o’oeil effect, indeed serene and painterly piece.”  The artist won a £2,000 prize.

Denise Geach - Leicestershire 1718 - quilt

A one-off competition category designed to celebrate the display of the 1718 Silk Coverlet, the UK’s oldest recorded patchwork, at The 2018 Festival was won by Denise Geach from Melton Mowbray for her work, Leicestershire 1718.  Entrants were challenged to replicate or interpret the historic piece.  Judges said: “Confident colour choices combined with personalised design elements made this quilt stand out in a very competitive group.”

Winners of The Festival of Quilts’ other competition categories were:

The Quilters’ Guild Challenge (sponsored by Bernina) with a theme of Stitch(ing) through time – Mary Mayne from Dunstable: “Give me the time …”

Judges described the winning piece as: “A perfect match to the Guild Challenge theme.  The pieced, draped quilt is especially effective including its visible backing.  A delightful mixture of modern and traditional quilt making .”

Mary Mayne - Give Me The Time - Quilt


Novice Quilt – a new category for 2018 for those who have been quilting for less than three years – Susan Sami from Surrey: “Global Harming”

Judges described the work as “A magnificent and haunting composition with a subtle and effective use of colour together with highly innovative quilting technique.  All of this contributes to the intentions of the quilter.”

Susan Sami - Global Harming - Quilt

Art quilt (sponsored by Madeira) – Jean McLean from New Zealand: “And the sky danced”

Judges said: “This is an exciting, visually striking piece of work that demonstrates both excellent design and construction.”

Jean McLean - And The Sky Danced - Quilt

Traditional Quilt (sponsored by Clover) – Sandy Chandler from Cornwall: “Cachemire”

Judges said: “This is a well-conceived, clear design with an excellent use of relief.  The pale cream fabric is complemented by a deeper cream thread which is used to great effect in a variety of background fillings, all executed with accomplished technique.”

 Sandy Chandler - Cachemire - Quilt

Contemporary Quilt (sponsored by Janome) – Laima Whitty from the USA: “Harvest Moon”

Judges said the work’s “entrancing colour combination and highly imaginative skill in design, piecing and quilting reflect excellent visual impact making this quilt a very powerful and successful contemporary piece.”

Laima Whitty - Harvest Moon - Quilt

Modern Quilt (sponsored by Pfaff) – Mary Palmer from Innishannon in Ireland: “Lost in Translation II”

Judges described the work as “a masterpiece.  An exceptional and finely balanced modern quilt , skilfully and beautifully executed.”

 Mary Palmer - Lost in Translation II - Quilt

Group Quilt – Katie George/Sew with Pauline from Bewdley: “Circle of Life”

Judges praised the work’s “confident colouring” and said it was “balanced and consistently complex and interesting, showing a wide variety of techniques.”

Katie George/Sew with Pauline - Circle of Life - Quilt

Two Person Quilt – Julie Brandon and Valerie Schultz from New York: “Childhood Exhilaration”

Judges called the work “an evocative quilt full of charm.  The basic digital image is enhanced by so many details, such as the controlled use of embellishments and the original approach to the quilting.”

Julie Brandon and Valerie Schultz - Childhood Exhilaration - Quilt

Miniature Quilt (sponsored by Baby Lock) – Philippa Naylor from Beverley: “Circuit Training”

Judges called the work: “A stunning quilt with incredible attention to all aspects of its creation.  Every element is perfectly miniaturised – the piecing, the quilting and the applique.  We love the harmonious colour scheme.”

Philippa Naylor - Circuit Training - Miniature Quilt

Quilt Creation – Susie Yates from Beccles in Suffolk: “The Gift”

Judges called this: “An exquisite piece of work, full of intricate detail that rewards close examination.  Technically very accomplished and designed with great skill.”

Susie Yates - The Gift

Young Quilter/Young Embroiderer 5-9 Category (sponsored by Brother) with a theme of ‘Stitch(ing) through time – Basile Tharel from Orvillers Saint Julien in France: “The Desert Dinosaur”

Judges liked this “fun happy quilt with good raw edge applique and use of shiny thread (difficult to use) for the quilting.”

Basile Tharel - The Desert Dinosaur - Quilt

Young Quilter/Young Embroiderer 10-13 Category (sponsored by Brother) with a theme of ‘Stitch(ing) through time – Aoife Behan from Rathangan in Ireland: “Keep Calm and Sew”

Judges said: “This is a clever design translated well into fabric and stitch.  We love the thread on the sewing machine.”

Aoife Behan - Keep Calm And Sew - Quilt

Young Quilter/Young Embroiderer 14-18 Category (sponsored by Brother) with a theme of ‘Stitch(ing) through time – Miranda Hart from Sussex: “Dandelion Clocks”

Judges enjoyed this quilt’s “clever interpretation on the theme, couple with imaginative design.  Good use of fabrics, clever quilting and embroidery.”

Miranda Hart - Dandelion Clocks

The Festival of Quilts took place at the NEC Birmingham from 9th-12th August 2018.  It is Europe’s ultimate quilting destination and attracts 24,000 visitors from across the world.  Festival highlights include professionally curated quilt galleries by internationally-acclaimed artists and groups, hundreds of workshops, an extensive programme of talks, discussions and social events and over 300 exhibitors selling essential quilting supplies.  Next year’s The Festival of Quilts takes place from 1st-4th August 2019.

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