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The 2019 Festival of Quilts Calendar is now on sale!

Our brand new 2019 calendar is a celebration of the competition winners from 2018, with a photograph of a different quilt for each month of the year.

You can enjoy the beauty and craftsmanship of twelve quilts and hopefully you’ll be inspired to enter yourself in 2019!

The calendar makes a wonderful Christmas gift (or maybe just a treat for yourself!)

2018 Competition Winners

Each year the Festival of quilts hold a variety of competition for visitors to enter displaying over 700 quilt entries at the event. Check out the full list of the competition winners from this year's Festival of Quilts.

 

Show Highlights

The Festival of Quilts is over for another year and we would like to say a huge Thank you to everyone who visited.

Make sure you take a look at our photo gallery for all our favourite show highlights from the 1718 patchwork coverlet to An Evening with Ricky Tims!

 

 

The Patchwork Coverlet - 1718

The oldest quilt in existence the Patchwork Coverlet (made in 1718) was displayed at the 2018 Festival of Quilts to mark its 300th anniversary.

Check out the gallery to find out more about this piece of quilting history.

What people say

It was so good we visited the festival twice! For anyone that enjoys crafts, sewing, quilting or interested in having a go, I would strongly suggest going along and having a great day out. 10/10
Absolutely incredible works of art! Feel honoured to have seen these quilts close up - Superb!
There is so much talent on display that I always think it should be featured on the national news.
My daughter and I paid our first visit on Friday... We were totally blown away by the quilts on display and had a fantastic time shopping too. Will definitely return next year. Thank you so much for all the hard work in putting on such a magnificent show! 
Fantastic show with lots to see, do and buy! Made all the more special with my daughter winning the Young Quilter of the year (5-8 years). Will be back next year!
The artistry was amazing; there are some very talented quilters out there. It has given me the urge to become more creative with my time behind my sewing machine. Congratulations on what I'm sure will be a sell out of a show.
Another great event and my 13yr old enjoyed the 2 workshops she did immensely, and gave me time to mooch around at the things I'm really interested in too.

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The Festival of Quilts is back!
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Latest News

  • 24 JUL, 2018
    With just 2 weeks to go until The Festival of Quilts returns to the NEC, Birmingham we have teamed up with Artist Nancy Crow for a exclusive interview. Nancy tells us about her quilting journey and what her gallery will be bringing to you at this year's Festival!
      1.Can you tell us how long has your art practice involved quilt making? I started making quilts in 1970 when I lived in Porto Alegre, Brazil. I made the first one for my new son, Nathaniel, who was born there.   2. How did you get into quilt making in the first place? I have a Masters of Fine Arts in Ceramics and a minor in tapestry weaving. When I moved to Brazil in 1969, I could not take my potters’ wheel but I could take a loom. And there I wove enough work to have a solo show in Porto Alegre, Brazil, one of the southern most cities. I was 27 years old at the time. When I returned to the USA, I continued to weave. By 1974 I had moved to Athens, Ohio, where I met other weavers. By 1975 I began to make simple quilts as I found weaving increasingly frustrating. At the time, there was a “force of energy interested in contemporary quilt-making” moving across the USA and I got swept up in it. I come from a family of painters and working on the wall really appealed to me. When I sat at a loom I looked down all the time. But working on a wall I stepped back which allowed me to see what I was creating from a distance. I liked that immensely. I was able to think about what worked and what did not and then was able to quickly change out parts. At that point I realized that quilt-making was akin to painting but slower. I didn’t care about the slowness since I love color and I love fabric and I love machine-piecing. From that point I surged ahead, giving up my weaving and putting away my looms, all of which I still have!   3. You’re bringing the largest exhibition of your work ever to be staged in the UK to The Festival of Quilts in August. Tell us why 75 DRAWINGS: EXPLORATIONS IN MONO-PRINTING is so important to you and what visitors to The Festival of Quilts can expect from your exhibition? Mono-printing is a form of drawing. I like that! But learning to mono-print on fabric with thickened dyes takes a lot, a lot of practice, an enormous number of hours of practice. The dye can be very tricky to control in terms of its thickness as it wants to flow back into a solid surface almost as soon as one makes the marks in it. So one has to work rapidly which means making markings over and over and over until one has something that appears to be worth printing. And then print it immediately or all of the markings are lost. Hence the name mono-print or one-of-a kind. I wanted to see the progression from Day 1 all the way to the last 4 tall mono-prints, work made over a two year period. I wanted to see how much I improved in technique and control. I have never, never had a chance to do this. So this exhibition means so much to me because of this opportunity.   4. You abstained from screens/technology while working on 75 DRAWINGS to immerse yourself fully in mono-printing. What was that experience like and what did it bring to the work?

    "As an artist I absolutely believe one must, one has to be in the moment! Being on a phone. Being on a computer. These activities are not being in the moment. Both keep the brain on the surface—shallow! They interrupt focus horridly. No! No! NO! Art—creating art—needs total focus and attention and daydreaming—not phones and computers. They are energy draining and a super form of procrastination. They have their role in life but not in my art. Think I feel strongly here? That is why everything is in bold and in larger size!!!!! "

      5. You’re well-known for the size and scale of your work. What are the pleasures and challenges involved in working on such large pieces? I am very short. 5 feet tall. So being able to create something large is quite a feat for me! I like large but I also think some of my small studies are beauts! In mono-printing, it would be super helpful to be 6 feet tall in terms of being able to lean over the print table further. Alas!   6. As well as bringing 75 DRAWINGS to The Festival of Quilts, you’ll also be taking part in the Festival’s Quilt Academy lecture programme (Hodgepodge: Making it Happen!, Thurs 9th August at 10:30, Festival Theatre). Can you tell us a little more about what you’ll be sharing? I will focus on my life as an artist and how that has meant so much to me. One of those things is the building of my “dream studio.” I began saving for this new space when I was 50 years old. Saved my teaching money and money from sales. I was religious about it. I wanted to have a serious space. By the time I was 68 I told myself, it is now or never. All the gods agreed and everything fell into place for my new studio to be built. But this will be covered in my talk with lots of photos. I will also include coverage of my machine piecing and other topics.   7. Do you think that textile art - and specifically quilt art - is undervalued as an art form? YES! YES! YES! In fact quilts are simply often dismissed.Strange when you realize that paintings are fabric with paint on them. By the way I do not use the term “quilt art” as I think it very derogatory. After all, do we ever say “painting art” or “sculpture art?” If you want to insult me, call me a quilt artist…..horrid! I am artist or quilt maker who makes quilts (my medium).   8. You’re the originator of Quilt National at The Dairy Barn Arts Center in Ohio. What’s the significance of this major event in the quilting calendar and how influential is The Dairy Barn to US - and even worldwide - quilting? It has become one of the major platforms for showing a broad range of what is happening in contemporary quilt making today. I believe it has more and more cachet in that museums and collectors come looking to see what is happening and to buy.   9. For those who have never been, can you give us a favour of Quilt National and share some of the highlights of next year’s 21st Biennial? The exhibition is installed on the lower floor of a huge renovated 100 year + old barn in Athens, Ohio, about 45 minutes from my farm. The jurors are usually comprised of a well-known contemporary quilt maker, a museum curator, and another artist (perhaps from a different medium) or a museum director. I think the variety shown (80+ works) gives the audience a wonderful understanding of the breath of work being created today.   10. What projects are you working on currently and what’s next for you after The Festival of Quilts? I am back to machine-piecing. When the weather gets just right, I hope to mono-print again working in color directly. But meantime, I am working on a large solo show for The University of Nebraska that will open in August 2019. This exhibition will cover the last 10 years of my work.
  • 27 JUN, 2018
    Check out the exclusive interview below with Quilting Legend Ricky Tims who will be joining us at this year's Festival of Quilts. Learn from the beginning how Ricky got into quilting and what he will be bringing to you at this year's Festival!     Q. Ricky, can you tell us a little about yourself?  How long have you been quilting and how did you get into quilting in the first place? A. I began quilting in 1991. It was sheer accident really. I had received an old 1955 Sears Kenmore sewing machine that had belonged to my Granny. She was 83 years old and remarried. She couldn’t take her sewing machine to where she was moving so it ended up with me. I got the idea to make a western shirt for two-stepping, but when I browsed the patterns I got cold feet. As I was leaving the fabric store (not a quilt shop), I passed by a small rack of quilt books. I thought perhaps a quilt would be easier to make than a shirt so I bought a book that looked like it was for beginners. The quilt was a sampler quilt. I didn’t know anyone who quilted so I just followed instructions the best I could. That was the start. I was hooked.   Q. How is it that you’ve managed to combine such diverse skills and passions (quilting and music)? A. I’ve been a musician since before I can remember - truly! I started lessons at the age of three. Music was my life and my passion and was a fairly successful career before quilting came along. The marriage of the two happened when I created a lecture called The Music In My Quilt which demonstrated the parallels between the compositional devices of music and the elements of art. I needed a piano to do the lecture and suddenly my music became part of the quilting. In 1998 I left my position as choral director and dove head first into the quilting net. Thankfully, it caught me.   Q. It’s 10 years since you were last at The Festival of Quilts.  What memories do you have of the 2008 Festival? A. Besides the quilts, it was a story that I told at the gala, but I can’t relate that story here. Let’s just say it was a true story revealed for the first time and I’ll be telling that story again this year. Here’a s hint: it’s about smoked salmon.   Q. What are you most looking forward to about this year’s Festival? A. Besides the quilts (I love quilts), I’ll be looking forward to a few reunions with those I’ve crossed paths with in the past, but I also look forward to making new friends. My quilting friends have enriched my life so much that I would be lost without them.   Q. We know that quilting, music and teaching are your passions.  Can you give us a flavour of An evening with Ricky Tims, the social evening you’re hosting on Friday 10th August at this year’s Festival? A. The concert I present is multi-faceted. There will be piano music (no I don’t play a guitar, nor do I sing country music). The music is mostly instrumental and is something between classical and popular. It’s just easy to listen to. But the evening is also filled with stories. Between all the music and stories my goal is to give everyone plenty of laughs, but also to share some insights which hopefully will inspire. I hope everyone will leave on a high feeling like the world is theirs for the taking. I should mention that it will be a great evening for everyone - not just quilters. Be sure to bring friends and family who are not quilters.   Q. We’re thrilled that you’ll be giving some lectures/talks as part of the Festival’s popular Academy Workshop Programme on the Friday and Saturday.  What can visitors expect from those sessions? A. My lecture classes are just that - classes! While I always try to make my classes entertaining, these Master Class Lectures are designed to share a wealth of information in a short period of time. These are the presentations where quilters will learn more than they would in a sit-n-sew class. Remove the sewing aspect and the reward is time. Time allows me to share so much. I encourage everyone to be sure to sign up for at last one of the Master Class lectures. They won’t be disappointed.   Q. We know you believe that every quilt has a story to tell.  We’re so excited that you’ll be bringing along some of your own work to the Festival.  Can you tell us the story of just one of your quilts that will be on display? A. I’ll be bringing with me one of my newest quilts. It’s a small wall quilt - only 30” square. It is a tribute to the new musical, Hamilton, which I know has received the same rave reviews in the West End as it has on Broadway. I’m a Hamilton fanatic. The quilt is called Hurricane. It was inspired by the line from the musical, “In the eye of the hurricane there is quiet for just a moment - a yellow sky.” Although it is somewhat minimalistic, it is also complex with quilting. And look closely… there’s a fun, hidden surprise for anyone who likes to proof read (wink).   Q. What quilting projects are you working on currently and what’s next for you after The Festival of Quilts? A. Currently I have a short-term BOM project called Hungarian Rhapsody. This has been a summer project and over 300 quilters are making the quilt. I’m staying one step ahead of them in order to make the videos that go with the quilt. Should anyone be interested they can find Hungarian Rhapsody at my website. The most exciting upcoming project is that I am finally making a pattern of one my most beloved quilts - Dad’s Lone Star. That quilt was made by both dad and myself. It’s a dynamic variation of lone star and has been a requested pattern for over a decade. Finally, I’m making that wish come true.   Q. Whose galleries are you most looking forward to seeing at The Festival of Quilts? A. While I’ve looked at the lineup of galleries, I must admit they all are enticing. It will be a joy to explore them and discover which quilts most capture my attention. I know I’ll have a different perspective to share following FOQ, but for now, I’m just really excited to be there.   Q. What’s the best piece of quilting advice anyone has ever given you? A. Quilt because you love it. Quilt because you have to. The most memorable quote I was given was in reference to patience. “It doesn’t take patience to do something you love”. I believe that. I can spend hours on end just pushing through a quilt. Life’s ups and downs are embedded with each stitch and the memories stay with the quilt. Perhaps that is why quilts become such treasures for future generations.