A blog about making art and other things using cloth, paper, paint, colour, stitch, and all sorts of exciting techniques, some of which I'm sure I still have to discover! I hope that the joy all this gives me is visible in what you can see here.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Festival of Quilts 2011, Birmingham NEC, UK.

My visit to the Festival of Quilts this year was for one day only, and what I normally manage to do in two, I had to cram into one! Exhausting! I think the flooring in the NEC must be concrete under that very thin excuse for carpet, because after a couple of hours, my legs and feet are just as heavy as lead, and It's as though I'm having to drag a sack of potatoes behind me. Anyway, enough of that, because I still thoroughly enjoyed my day, and it is always so inspiring to see so many wonderful quilts and pieces of textile art. There is always a wide range in quality of workmanship and design, but as time was short, I tried to limit my closer study of exhibits to work that really stood out and demanded my attention. I did take some photos, but the lighting was bad, and so the quality of most is disappointing.



The above three images are wall quilts made by The Tentmakers of Cairo. Sadly, it seems it is a disappearing trade in Egypt, where there are only about forty older stitchers left. The younger ones who are being trained, often drop out because the work is hard, slow and low paid. From what I could understand, these stitchers are mostly male, and I watched Mohamed Dendon and his brother, sitting crossed legged, stitching these wonderful quilts. I asked them how long it had taken to stitch the top one with the foliage and birds. About five months they said. It was priced at £550! Needless to say, they all had a red sticker on the price ticket.


Above are three images of the work of Dr. Mary Loyd Jones, Hon. D. Univ. Wales. http://www.marylloydjones.co.uk/ I just loved these cloths, they were huge, but very atmospheric, and full of energy. Mary was born in Ceredigion, and says of her work, "My aim is that my work should reflect my relationship with the land, an awareness of history, and the treasures of our literary and oral traditions. I search for devices that will enable me to create multilayered images. This has led to my involvement with the beginnings of language, early manmade marks and the Ogham and Bardic Alphabets."

Another young woman whose work really impressed me was Padmaja Krishnan. Unfortunately I couldn't photograph her work, and since returning home have found it difficult to find any really good web-sites relating to her work. She makes embroideries using the Kantha style of stitch, which is basically a very simple straight stitch, but her work is very beautiful, and full of the spirit of her culture, but with some modern influences. She also likes to use another technique called Boro, which is an old Japanese tradition of  making use of remnants, or rags. Some of these have been very densley stitched to create beautiful articles of clothing and wall hangings.

Yoshiko Katagirl also had some wonderful applique work. Most of her wall hangings were on a black background, which really allowed her jewel like glowing colours to shine out.:



Finally, but by no means least, was the work of Alice Fox. http://www.alicefox.co.uk/ and http://www.alicefox-textiles.blogspot.com/ Alice was a joint winner with Rose Wood for the Students Awards - Graduate Showcase. Her work had a simple honesty about it, but with an underlying complexity that excited my senses, and left me wanting to explore her techniques and ideas.

I apologise for the lack of 'visuals' in this post, but urge you to further explore the links I've given above. I'm sure you will find lots to feed your creative muse! Enjoy.