This is going to be a picture heavy post so I apologise in advance. Thursday saw Wendy and I making the journey across to the NEC at Birmingham for the combined Fashion Embroidery and Stitch and the Sewing For Pleasure Show. We had intended to get there for 9.30 when the doors opened but were delayed by an accident on the motorway but in the event we had plenty of time for looking and shopping. Shopping? Did I say that? 'Course I didn't!
It was certainly a busy show with a good variety of exhibitions and a multitude of traders. The Quilters' Guild had brought quilts from their 'Pearls of Wisdom' exhibition which showcases nationally less well known quilters from the British Isles. There were some beautiful and inspirational quilts in this group and I photographed almost all but I will just highlight a few here:
This quilt is entitled 'Angel's Tears' and is by Jill Stillman. You can see more of her work here .
This amazing quilt is entitled 'Karma' and is by Gilli Theokritoff and the quilt includes 4000 squares bonded and quilted with the word 'wisdom' in many languages.
This wonderful raw-edged (I love raw edges!) appliqued quilt is titled 'Pied Beauty' and is by Elizabeth J Wall. Based on the poem 'Pied Beauty' by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Elizabeth says that the pearls of wisdom in the poem created sparkling images. Her quilt certainly sparkles with exquisite detail and colour. I hope when you click on the image you will be able to see the gorgeous detail.
These screens and the 2 images that follow are felted banners made by members and friends of the Scottish Felters The Standards for Scottish Heritage celebrate Scotland's History and Culture in the year of the Homecoming.
This photo above shows the cartoon from which the banner in the foreground was made. The banners had all been attached to a sheer fabric for displaying.
For me the most stunning part of the exhibition was the showcase of the work of Dr Isabel Elliott who was Mistress of Embroidery at Gloucester Cathedral.
These collages do not begin to describe the impact of the sheer volume of work on display from this indomitable lady. Dr Elliott was hovering in front of her multiple displays and I had a few words with her. She is a dainty little lady and confessed that this is only part of her collection of work. It encompassed many forms of embroidery, works in 3-D and even quilts. A stunning collection which was attracting much attention. If you click here you can see further images of the embroidered child's chair that you can see in one of the collages above.
Above is a very small selection of the many quilts on the Afghanistan Inspiration stand. All of the quilts displayed incorporated a 10cm square of embroidery stitched by women in war-torn Afghanistan. These women are unable to make and sell their work in Afghanistan so Pascale Goldenberg encouraged them to make these embroideries to sell in Europe. Thirteen countries have come together to incorporate these embroideries into larger pieces and the exhibition will tour through Europe. This link will show you where else the works will be on display and at all of those venues you can support the ladies in Afghanistan by buying your own square.
Can you spot the original square here? The legend reads "The bird is no longer alone. He is in the land of the kind lion".
I love this distressed piece which is titled 'White Peace' and is by a lady from Latvia.
Isabelle Deru from Belgium made this piece which is "For all the women of Afghanistan who, like us, dream of happiness". A very moving sentiment. I bought a square myself which I'll show you another time as I haven't photographed my purchases yet. Did I say purchase-s? No, of course not! Just the one! Hmmm!
There were, of course, so many more stands that I didn't manage to photograph. Particularly outstanding were displays by Threads and Angelico which explored the concept of Coast, Longslade Community College, which included a piece by a blogger Maria Dent, Nolitex, Claire Fell and Louise Mabbs. I had a lovely chat with Mary Whittaker of Nolitex during the course of which I solved one of my problems with my Festival of Quilts entry (which still isn't made yet). Nolitex are exhibiting at the Sam Scorer Gallery in Lincoln in July this year from 12th to 25th July.
Well, I think I've gone on enough so I'll end with my own Journal Quilts which I was delighted to actually see for myself as part of the Contemporary Quilt Group display.