I love the Festival of Quilts. Usually. I come home with hundreds of pounds worth of fabric (and sometimes machinery) that I perhaps didn’t totally need. I have literally thousands of photos taken at festivals over the years which I still regularly draw on for inspiration. I meet friends there. We laugh. We point. Sometimes we point *and* laugh. Honestly. The quilted bags and waistcoats have to be seen to be believed!
This year, I met up with two friends – lovely Penny from rats as big as cats, and nbnq, who has written a far better review than I’m about to. We had much to talk about, and we were looking forward to seeing some gorgeous stuff.
We *did* see some gorgeous stuff. Well. We saw one gorgeous stuff. It was Penny’s quilt, which was utterly beautiful and incredibly well executed. Go and look at the final piece series on her blog and you’ll see snippets of it. It is jaw-droppingly stunning.
And we saw some other gorgeous stuff, in that there was a Pauline Barnes exhibition. And her work is amazing. But it was a professional show, and not part of the Festival, as such.
And the festival? Well, we spotted one *really* odd piece which was clearly made a couple of years ago (I thought it was a rule that entries had to be made within the year?) – and what’s more there was a book on sale at one of the stalls detailing its creation… We spotted one piece which was clearly made to a pattern from a Jane Brocket book although not, from what we could gather from the catalogue, submitted by Jane Brocket herself (I thought it was another rule that entries had to be original?). We spotted a number of pieces which were just simply ill advised from almost any conceivable design point of view.
There was, don’t get me wrong, an awful lot of technically accomplished traditional quilt-making on show. And I’m sure if traditional quilts were my bag I’d have had a ball. But they’re not. And so I really didn’t.
Perhaps it’s my bad. Or at least, perhaps it’s the bad of people like me. People who are technically accomplished but not traditional. I did mean to submit ‘She Knew the Names of Flowers‘, but I got busy and the deadline got away from me, and one thing and another…
But really. If this is the future of quilt making then I despair. I know there are other, better and more dedicated modern quilt makers out there. I know (from experience) that the judges of this festival don’t speak our language and it can be frustrating submitting entries only to have them dismissed, over looked, or critiqued on the basis of no understanding of the concept whatsoever. But unless we enter, unless we try to make our views and our styles known, we can’t ever expect any different, can we??
I’ve been joking for some years about making a 3-D quilt. Quite a graphic one. I might actually do it, this year.