Aside from the competition quilts at Festival Of Quilts, the other main quilty attraction is the special exhibitions, or ‘Galleries’. These cover travelling exhibits, such as the Baltimore Album and Aina Muze’s Eternal Thread, as well as showcases on the work of a number of artists who have done specific studies, such as Leah Higgins’ Deconstruction-Reconstruction-Evolution and Sandra Meech’s Polar Expressions and group showcases following specific themes. There were also a few areas dedicated to celebrating 40 years of the Quilter’s Guild.

I’ll take you through them in the rather random order that I saw them, with apologies for the fact that I apparently managed to completely miss the Baltimore Album, which is quite some feat as they appear to have been huge!

Quilt Art – Traces

Quilt Art is an educational charity which was founded in the UK in 1985 to ‘develop the quilt as an artistic medium and promote its recognition as an art form’. The group is made up of 19 international members who mount exhibitions every 2-3 years around Europe, as well as exhibiting in the US, Canada, Japan and Russia.

As with many of the group theme exhibitions, this was a very diverse collection of work as each member of the group interpreted the theme in their own way (the amount diversity seemed to stem from how vague the subject was!). These were my favourites from this exhibit:

Traces of Memory by Christine Chester – I liked the blue collagey background and the black and white stripes in this, but can’t honestly explain why:

Haptic Memory by Sarah Impey – I had to come back to read this, but I loved the idea:

Traces Of Lost Souls by Charlotte Yde – what isn’t so clear in this photo, but was a fantastic effect, was that the boats were embroidered on different layers of organza stacked on top of each other:

Silent Dialogue 2 by Cherilyn Martin – I liked the placement of the peter pan collar and words:

I do like an odd shaped quilt and vibrant colours, so it’s no surprise that Echo, by Janet Twinn appealed:

Breakdown by Sue Hotchkiss – talk about your odd shaped quilts, this was definitely odd and had a list of techniques that ran over 4 lines on the description card!

Passages In Time I by Sandra Meech – Sandra’s multi panel works attracted me both in this exhibit and in her own dedicated exhibit which I’ll cover further down:

Aina Muze – Eternal Thread

This exhibition celebrated the work that professor Aina Muze did in her lifetime, particularly looking at the 20 years she spent on patchwork and combining that with modern technologies to create her work.

Spirals was a fun two-layered creation of felt, where the cream front part was cut into spirals which pinged out all over the place:

Next was Interchange Of Centuries, inspired by Latvian ethnology:

These were two tiny wee works, and the button one intrigued me, not least the patience required to get them all to line up, I’m quite sure mine would meander off at random angles if I tried!

This piece was entitled Broken Nets, and was meant to represent the life storms that people regularly face:

Fragments Of Centuries was meant to represent romance in the pieces against a rough backdrop:

I’m sure I’m not the only one with a stash of old jeans that are being kept for ‘upcycling into the perfect quilt, well, here’s another idea, Born In The USA:

I just loved the colours in Dark Night, Green Grass, and the 3D elements were a fun addition:

Sandra Meech – Arctic Expressions:

I adored this exhibition so much that I actually bought one of the pieces in it, however, since Sandra has a book on her studies of the Arctic, she asked that we didn’t take photos and share the entire exhibition, so here’s a tantalising peek at the piece that was at the entry to the gallery:

And this is the piece that I bought – I told her (once I’d handed over the money), that I thought she was crazy for selling these beautiful art works for only £60, but she said she had priced it all to sell. The piece above was £475, and I wish I’d had a bit more lurking in the deep, dark recesses of my bank account to have bought it or one of her other larger pieces. If you want to see more, her book will be available here:

Sara Cook – Transparency And Transition:

Sara Cook curated this exhibition with work from artists in the US, Japan, the Netherlands and the UK who were inspired by the ancient Korean tradition of wrapping cloths, known as Bojagi where they explored the properties of translucent fabrics and informal grids. The work was very varied as you’ll see below.

Marielle Huijsman created these two pieces which actually went very well with Sandra Meech’s exhibition next door to them!

This piece by Yoojin Kim fascinated me. I’m sure you can tell who it is, but there were definitely some angles where it was clearer than others. It was entirely pieced out of squares and rectangles of fabric of varying sizes:

This was another piece by Marielle Huijsman, entitled My Senses:

I just loved the craziness of this piecing in this work by Magenta Kang, some of those bits were ridiculously tiny, but it’s very effective:

Magenta Kang also created this piece, and you may be able to see the black embroideries she did on a few of the saffron sections:

I struggled to get a good photo of this piece by Sara Cook with the contrasting transparent layers, but it was lovely in person:

This final one, also by Sara Cook, almost glowed, I loved the layered effect with the different colours of transparent fabric:

Eszter Bornemisza – You Are Here:

Unfortunately I didn’t get many photos of Eszter Bornemisza’s work, but these wee map fragments came out best. The theme of the exhibit revolved around ideas that reflect our relationship with urban life with fragmented, distorted or disintegrated city plans being used as imprints of our systematised living. (BTW, I am trying to translate and distil the descriptions of these exhibits from the FOQ website, but man, some of them are hard!)

These are Alterations and Urban Etudes:

Michael James: Constructed Textiles New And Recent:

Apparently I missed all but this one quilt from Michael James’ gallery, which I’m kind of sad about now, having seen what I missed on the website, apparently I didn’t turn a corner or something ¯_(ツ)_/¯

This is Coastal:

Leah Higgins – Deconstruction-Reconstruction-Evolution:

The gallery by Leah Higgins featured 3 bodies of work, each inspired by industries that have touched her life or shaped her environment, from collieries in the north of England, to the mills of the cotton industry in and around Manchester, to the print and publishing industries and their response to changes in their industry evolving on a daily basis

Rockwell Condensed, from the print and publishing section:

Bauhaus 93, from the print and publishing section:

These next 3 were just some of the examples of her colliery work, each one highlighting things from a specific colliery. Apologies, they were printed/stitched lightly on white, which made them hard to photograpg:

Karina Thompson – Pattern Within:

I only got one photo from this gallery because many of the rest were too large or awkward to photograph (like the extremely long heart rate monitor output that hung from the ceiling!) Her work is, you’ll be unsurprised to deduce from this, is based on medical data.

The poem on this was rather moving though:

I’ll be back with the rest of the special exhibitions I managed to photograph next week!

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