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Jenny Doan

Join the talented Jenny Doan at this year's Festival of Quilts. Jenny will be giving a two hour 'Trunk Show' with humour, laughter and even a few tears. Click above for more info!

Fine Art Textile Award

From 2019 onwards, the award previously known as Fine Art Quilt Masters has been broadened to become the Vlieseline Fine Art Textiles Award, an international juried exhibition open to all amateur and practising artists using textiles as their medium. 

Applications are now closed...stay tuned for the shortlist coming shortly.

Michael James

Visit Michael James' Gallery at this year's festival and be inspired by his constructed textiles New and Recent. The Gallery area plays host to some of the best known names in textiles and this year we are pleased to showcase talented artists such as India flint, Sandie Lush, The International Quilt Study Center & Museum and more.

Check out the gallery page for the full line up.

Learn a new skill

The Festival of Quilts offers the most comprehensive programme of textile workshops in Europe. There are over 250 classes on offer ranging from hour long taster sessions to two day master classes.
Every session is taught by an expert quilter.

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!
I spent two very happy days at The Festival of Quilts, the ambiance was incredible, and there was enough room between the stalls to move easily, the quilts were fantastic, and everyone I spoke to were saying it was the best one ever, a wonderful day!
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.
Jan Tillet's workshop was amazing. She was very well prepared and the content of the class was excellent, exceeded expectations and increased my interest and knowledge in the subject. Excellent value for money. Thank You Jan.

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The Festival of Quilts is back!
Join us to welcome the new season of quilting.

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Book Now and don't miss out on this year's Festival of Quilts. See over 300 exhibitors, learn from over 400 workshops and be inspired by over 20 galleries.

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Latest News

  • 14 JUN, 2019
    Leslie Levy is the Executive Director of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum at the University of Nebraska. We caught up with Leslie to talk about the importance of quilting, why the museum has such an impact on quilting, and what makes the Baltimore Album quilts so special.  Q: Leslie, thanks for your time today. We’re super excited to have the International Quilt Study Center & Museum at The Festival of Quilts this year. For those of us that haven’t visited the museum, can you give us a whistle stop tour? A: When touring the IQSCM, visitors have an opportunity to see a wide variety of quilts and quiltmaking traditions. Our collection spans five centuries, has quilts from more than 55 countries, and a growing number of art quilts. When you visit the museum, you have an opportunity to sample that variety. The building itself is also beautiful. Designed with quilts in mind, you can look for them in the architecture. Q: Have you been to The Festival of Quilts before? A: Yes. I was there in 2017. It was my first time and I was very impressed with everything from the exhibitions, the lectures, vendors and overall organisation. It made for a wonderful time. Q: What are you looking forward to seeing this summer? A: The Gallery exhibitions are always inspiring, and I am looking forward to seeing the new and innovative quilts from those artists with which we are familiar; it is always inspiring to see Competition quilts and marvel at the artistry. I am definitely interested in viewing the Japanese Pavilion! Q: How important is the Museum to quilting’s history? A: Any opportunity to document history and provide a place where you can care for and preserve that history is a vital part of our culture. We feel really proud to do that internationally. Not only are we preserving our past, but we are documenting our present. It’s our challenge and our honor. Q: What would you say quilts have to tell us about society and culture? A: The exciting thing about quilts is that they can address every social and cultural element. There’s something about the need and desire for cloth that reaches all of us across time. Q: You’re bringing a fascinating collection of Baltimore Album Quilts to The Festival of Quilts from the 1840s and 50s. What can visitors expect from this collection and what’s the historical significance of these quilts? A: Baltimore album quilts are so unique and have an amazing story. They are technically strong pieces. We believe they were group projects made by one person who was evidently greatly skilled and helped others maintain a high standard in their workmanship.
    Leslie Levy talks about the Baltimore Album Quilts that are coming to the show this year
    Q: The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where the IQCSM is based, offers a unique masters degree in Textile History with a quilt studies emphasis – the only program of its kind in the world. Why do you think quilting has such a low profile in postgraduate education? A: Quilts can be studied from historical, socio-political, economic, technological, and design perspectives, and so on. The trend towards interdisciplinary methods and approaches is growing. Although quilt studies has had a low academic profile to date, it fits well with the field of material culture studies. At the museum and the university, we aim to work with undergraduate and graduate students who have an interest in quilts, whether that's through formal class delivery or internships and research projects. We also broadcast our research as widely as possible - to academics and non-academics alike - through exhibition publications and websites such as "World Quilts" at www.worldquilts.quiltstudy.org. Q: The Museum’s collection of quilts spans five centuries. Can you tell us about the oldest quilts you have in the collection and their relationship with quilts of today? A: The oldest quilts in our collection are a pair of silk whole-cloth quilts that were probably made in the 1600s along the Mediterranean. The whole-cloth quilt is a standard style. The use of quilting as intricate design elements - whether in whole-cloth or patchwork quilts - is something we see makers doing today, particularly by long-arm machine quilters. Q: The Museum also represents quiltmaking traditions from all over the world. Do you see distinct differences in techniques from different parts of the world? A: We see patchwork, appliqué, and quilting techniques around the world. There are differences in how they are performed and how the textiles are used. For example, in many parts of the world, from North America to Europe to Africa to Asia, quilting is both a practical and decorative component of clothing. Also, studio art quilts are made worldwide, meaning that quilts are more frequently seen on walls around the world than they ever were in the past. Q: Which quilt artists do you think are making exciting work right now? A: So many. Right now, the innovative techniques and materials we see quiltmakers using today are redefining what we understand as quilts. This year we were thrilled to add two of Michael Cummings’s quilts to our collection and he embodies all of those things. Q: Are you a quilter yourself? A: I am not. Are you surprised? My mother was a quilter and also had an antiques business when I was young, so was introduced to beautiful, intricate quilts early on. I learned much from her collections, and just listening as collectors, enthusiasts and quilters discussed quilts with her. We always had beautiful quilts on our walls, or on our beds.  
  • 14 MAY, 2019
    We are super excited to be joined by US artist and educator Michael James at this year's Festival of Quilts. Michael will be bringing his quilt gallery 'Constructed Textiles: New and Recent' as well as providing an unmissable keynote talk on the aesthetics of the Quilt, discussing the layers of meaning attached to quilts that are often difficult to sort. We were lucky enough to catch up with Michael ahead of the Festival to discuss all things quilting. Q: Michael, thanks for chatting with us. You were last at The Festival of Quilts in 2006 when you introduced your work exploring digital textile printing. What will you be sharing with Festival goers this year? A: In the ensuing thirteen years I’ve continued my studio practice and have remained focused on creating imagery on fabric using digital textile printing, a technological opportunity that offers nearly limitless visual range. I mostly work from photographic images but have also scanned and then manipulated painted imagery, and I’ve created drawings directly into Adobe Creative Suite® applications that I can then play with in the software and render onto fabric in different configurations. The Wasatch software that is linked to our printer offers lots of flexibility in creating repeat patterns of all kinds, so that’s another tool that we’re fortunate to have at our fingertips. Viewers will see the results of all of the explorations that the technology has scaffolded. Q: Your work often explores the inner world of dreams, memories and emotions. To what extent do you feel that quilting as a medium lends itself to this? A: I think that fabric has the capacity to hold memory, or maybe to stimulate it, but since I’m creating my fabric stock from scratch, more or less, it’s perhaps a little different than, for example, using someone’s worn clothing, or other domestic textiles, as elements in a work. I rely on the imagery that’s applied to the fabric to evoke sensations, to prompt memories or to suggest a kind of metaphysical dimension held within the visual composition that the fabric construction supports. Q: We understand that your first-time travels to India have been a major source of inspiration for new work, some of which you’ll be showing at The Festival of Quilts. Can you tell us more about that? A: Travel has always impacted my work, in lots of ways. My first trip to India in late 2016 was cathartic, coming as it did on the heels of a long period of grief and mourning that followed the death of my wife Judith in 2015. Spirituality conditions lots of places in the world and how we experience them – Jerusalem, for example, or Rome or Mecca – and perhaps none more than India, the birthplace of four of the world’s major religions, including Buddhism. My interest in spiritual belief systems was enriched by experiencing places like Varanasi and Sarnath, and much of what I saw and felt was translated into the compositions that comprise this ongoing body of work. Q: You teach at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, and you chair their Department of Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design. To what extent do you feel that you’re a student of quilting? Is there more you want to learn? A: Well, I’ve been a student of quilting for more than four decades, so coming to Nebraska gave me the opportunity to apply a lot of what I already knew to very different purpose, specifically, the education of degree-seeking students within an accredited academic program. We were the first university to offer a Masters degree in textile history with a quilt studies emphasis, a program that we have broadened to embrace a more diverse material culture perspective. The degree program and a related certificate program can be completed entirely online, and we have a roster of graduates working in museums and other cultural institutions that attest to the success of the major. Q: For those of us that haven’t visited the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, can you give us a flavour of its highlights? A: We are fortunate to have a number of resources that are unique to this institution and that enhance students’ experiences, not to mention the broader community’s quality of life. The department itself houses the Historic Costume and Textiles Collections, over 5000 objects available for research and study. These often find their way into faculty or student-curated exhibitions in our Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery, where we install a diverse series of shows throughout the year. The university is home to the International Quilt Museum, the repository of the largest public collection of quilts in the world, and it too offers a continually changing exhibition program. The Sheldon Art Museum, housed in a Philip Johnson-designed gem of a building at our downtown campus, focuses on American art of the last three centuries, and it too presents an ongoing, changing roster of shows. In addition, there are numerous museums and cultural institutions of all kinds in the greater Lincoln-Omaha metro area, that help to make this something of the Athens of the Plains. It’s a beautiful if under-appreciated part of the country that I’m a huge booster for. Nothing like broad expanses of sky and 360 degrees of horizon to inspire and uplift! Q: As well as bringing Constructed Textiles New and Recent to The Festival of Quilts, you’ll be taking part in the Festival’s Quilt Academy lecture programme (Making Sense of a Studio Life: 45 Years and Counting, Sat 3rd August at 14:45, Festival Theatre). Can you tell us a little more about what you’ll be sharing? A: Well, that title sums it up well. I began making quilts in the early 1970s, while I was studying painting and printmaking in graduate school, so the talk takes a bird’s eye view of the development of my work from that time. There have been lots of detours and divergences in style and technique, but there have been some basic consistencies in my work over all these years. We’ll look at some of these and consider what it means to have and to nurture a studio practice of this sort. Q: You’re also the guest speaker at The Quilters’ Guild 40th anniversary dinner on Thursday 1st August and will be discussing the layers of meaning attached to quilts. Tell us more about that. A: I’ve long been intrigued by the “pull” that textiles and quilts, in particular, exert on our senses and imaginations. They have such widespread and democratic appeal, crossing borders, cultures and histories, and in many ways they comprise the narratives of our lives, the narratives of their makers’ lives. There’s something enigmatic in this, something elusive but palpable, and I hope to explore this a bit. Q: The organisers of The Festival of Quilts have announced an exciting new direction for the Fine Art Quilt Masters competition this year as it becomes the Fine Art Textiles Award, recognising the talents of a broader community of textile artists. Does the art world take textile artists less seriously than those working with other media? Is this something you have experienced in your own career? A: I don’t know what “the art world” is anymore, and I don’t know how one can generalize in its regard. I also don’t know how it “thinks” about all the dozens – maybe hundreds – of categories of artmaking that we see all around us. I think that the “quilt world” is more familiar to me in many ways, though I’ve not been uncritical in its regard. I’ve long felt that there’s a tendency among quilt amateurs to be too singularly focused on this specific form, and not sufficiently open to or conversant with the larger discourses happening in the studio craft and the fine arts worlds. Over and over I come back to something that the sculptor Kenneth Snelson is credited with saying: “Hardening of the categories leads to art disease.” Amen. Q: Which quilt artists do you think are making exciting work right now? A: I have enormous interest in and admiration of the work of the Ontario-based artist Dorothy Caldwell. Her work is rich in mark making and its physicality, combined with the ethereal nature of her visual compositions, says as much about artistic integrity as any work can. Pauline Burbidge continues to explore and to innovate in ways that are outside the box, and that independence of spirit is something that I value. It’s the key. Eszter Bornemisza’s work is intriguing, though I haven’t seen enough of it in life to feel fully confident in my assessment. Basically, I look widely and eclectically at lots of stuff, lots of type of work, far beyond the confines of the quilt or textile worlds. What matters for me is that the work has integrity. Embodying that is what’s most appealing to me in an artist’s work. Q: What projects are you working on currently and what’s next for you after The Festival of Quilts? A: My current work continues to follow on the India experience, and I expect that to continue into the summer and possibly beyond. I’m just gearing up to start printing new fabrics after a bit of a hiatus, and anticipate continuing that production at full tilt into the Fall of this year, as I prepare to retire from the university. Once academia is behind me I’m looking forward to renewing an art making practice that I hope will be somewhat free-form and against expectations. There’s certainly more traveling ahead of me, and with increased time to read across a wide range of interests, I’m sure there’ll be new inspirations and new directions. I like to think that artists get better with age. I guess I’ll find out.