Welcome to Quilty Pleasures where we celebrate Art Quilts, their creators and the cultural history of the humble quilt.
The winners at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham England last month have been announced and we are happy to share the winners and their incredible works of art!
Mary Palmer and Anne Kiely won The Handi Quilter Best in Show Award at this festival for their Two Person Quilt category-winning quilt, Who Will Tell the Bees? They also won first prize in the Two Person Quilts category (sponsored by The Craft Cotton Co) and the category Best use of Longarm (sponsored by The Grace Company) categories.
Their work was created in linen, cotton and wool with etchings created digitally onto fabric. It was constructed by hand and then quilted by machine.
Judges said: “We liked the theme, good combination of different elements and how it really tells a story. Brilliant! A fabulous example of interpretative long-arm quilting, entirely appropriate to this magnificent quilt.”
Other winners, and their respective categories, are as follows:
Art Quilts (sponsored by Madeira) – Betty Busby, US, Titled Vertex.
The judges admired the work’s “shifting focus across the design and the meticulous execution. Subtle and unusual colours and fabric patterns are skillfully handled in this quilt, with a great sense of depth.”
Contemporary Quilts (sponsored by Janome) – Claudia Pfeil, Germany, titled Fractal
Judges said the work was: “Impressive! It has the ‘wow’ factor. An excellent result in risk taken with embellishment which adds an airy effect. The strong background compliments the overall design with a variety of different techniques which demonstrate excellent workmanship.”
Group Quilts (sponsored by Bombay Stores Fabrics) – Cowslip Workshops, UK, titled Over the Hills and Far Away.
Judges at The Festival of Quilts liked the work’s “clever use of fabrics, from the themed print to the subtle use of colour in the pieced border. An effective use of negative space complimented by the applique and appropriate quilting on a well-balanced, beautifully executed quilt.”
Miniature Quilts (sponsored by Baby Lock) — Sandra Newton, UK, titled Embrace this Day.
Judges said: “The dynamic impact of the piece is created by imaginative use of colours and attention to detail. Exemplary use of materials and techniques to create a stunning work. ”
Modern Quilts (sponsored by Pfaff) – Robyn Fahy, Northern Ireland, titled Fractured Circles.
The criteria for this category has changed and the entries no longer need to be functional works.
Judges said: ”The work is beautifully executed with rhythm and motion as well as depth and texture created with the quilting which perfectly complements the overall design.”
Novice Quilts (sponsored by Cotton Patch) – Katarzyna Plesniak, Poland, titled Pieces of Memories.
Judges praised the work’s design, “with a deep meaning, excellent use of a limited subtle colour palette, a rich and evocative texture and great interpretation of the theme.”
Pictorial Quilts (sponsored by Juki) – Juana Castañeda Romera, Spain, titled De Oriente a occidente la mas.
Judges said: “A strong image, well balanced in the frame and immaculately executed. Congratulations on an amazing piece of work, a privilege to have judged it.”
Quilt Creations – Lynne Barker, UK, titled Chest.
Judges said: “This highly evocative piece promotes a huge emotional response. The use of threads, knots and their placement make a stunning contrast to the discs. The thread shows ripples of movement through the piece to contrast with the seeming regularity of the outside ‘armour’.”
Schools & Groups of Young Quilters – Primary/5-11 (sponsored by Brother) with a theme of ‘Memories’ – Shenley Brook End School, UK, titled Memories: the Mind is a Puzzle.
Judges praised the “light and airy piece, portraying memories that are important to a child. We loved the jigsaw effect that linked memories to each other.”
Schools & Groups of Young Quilters – Secondary/12-16 (sponsored by Brother) with a theme of ‘Memories’ – Atelier de Couture Magique, Belgium, titled Years Over the Sunset.
Judges said: “We loved the use of the sun and figures to show the passage of time. The colours were particularly well chosen.”
The Quilters’ Guild Challenge (sponsored by Bernina) with a 40th anniversary theme of ‘Four Decades – One moment’– Kate Dowty, UK, titled Forty Shades of Green.
Judges said: “This stunning quilt is a simple concept, executed with confidence in style, beautifully presented in lovely colours.”
Traditional Quilts (sponsored by Clover) – Gwenfai Rees Griffiths, UK, titled Pennsylvania.
Judges said: “This beautiful sophisticated design with subtle colouring has been expertly employed with exquisite workmanship at every level. We all agree there was nothing to alter.”
Young Quilter/Young Embroiderer 5-9 Category (sponsored by Brother) with a theme of ‘Memories’ – Beatrice Varley, UK, titled Rainbow Fairy Memories.
Judges said the winning entry was: “A very good composition, very well stitched. The fairies are not too strong in colour – it means it is a part of the colour play. Excellent embellishment.”
Young Quilter/Young Embroiderer 10-13 Category (sponsored by Brother) with a theme of ‘Memories’ – Naroa y Nahia Sevilla, Spain, titled Hermanas por el mundo.
Judges called the entry: “A striking quilt that draws you in to look closer. An excellently composed piece of work. Fabulous!”
Young Quilter/Young Embroiderer 14-18 Category (sponsored by Brother) with a theme of ‘Memories’ – Kyle Long, Ireland, titled My Memory Timeline.
Judges said: “We love the shape and arrangement of images. Such a fun quilt to make everyone smile.”
New for the 2019 quilt competition were two overlay categories which recognize the different skills involved in work made using a longarm quilting machine and work that is hand quilted. Entrants in any competition category were eligible to enter the new overlay categories. Winners were:
Best use of Hand Quilting (sponsored by Aurifil) – Andrea Stracke, Germany, titled Ruby
Judges praised the Traditional category entry’s “well-planned design and exemplary stitching, a beautiful quilt.”
The winner of the Visitors’ Choice Award (sponsored by The Quilters’ Guild) was Taj Mahal at Sunset by Pippa Wardman which also came second in The Quilters’ Guild Challenge.
Artist and maker Ann Goddard has won the inaugural The Vlieseline Fine Art Textiles Award for her work, On
The Cheshire-based artist’s work explores the crossover between sculpture and textiles. Her winning entry is
a 3D wall-hanging made from bark cloth, sticks, entomology pins and wire, and was informed by the effects
of human activity on nature.
Runner up for the Most innovative use of textiles was Marilyn Rathbone for her work, Self-Avoiding Walk,
which she describes as “a playful response to the conundrum, ‘how to make an artwork without making
decisions about composition, colour and line?’”
Winner of The Festival of Quilts’ new Lifetime Achievement Award (sponsored by eQuilter.com) was Janice Gunner. The award recognizes and celebrates the commitment, achievement and dedication that a specific individual has made to the quilting community throughout their life – either through own work, their teaching of others or through their lifetime devotion and enthusiasm for the world of quilting.
Anna Baptiste, Event Director for The Festival of Quilts, said: “Jan has committed her life to textiles, is an international award-winning quilter, teacher, lecturer and writer, a former President of The Quilters’ Guild and a recipient of a City & Guilds Medal of Excellence. She has been a long-time champion of textile artists and was instrumental in creating this festival. We’re honoured to present her with our first ever Lifetime Achievement Award.”
The Festival of Quilts takes place annually at the NEC Birmingham and is the biggest patchwork and quilting event in Europe. It attracts 25,000 visitors from all over the world.