It was a week earlier than last year but last week saw me heading off to Birmingham for the annual beanfeast that is the Festival of Quilts! This amazing mecca for all things quilty and textiley provides a great focus for all manner of ladies and sometimes gentlemen and, despite a change of promoter, excelled itself again. You will probably have seen some reports on line already and I would recommend you to look at Maggi Birchenough's blog and Lis Harwood's blog for their view and favoured pieces. (Maggi has a particularly good report on the Horizons exhibition).
I took over 250 photos so I won't put them all up but will give you a flavour of the things that caught my eye.
As ever, there was a keen sense of expectation and excitement as people queued to get in. I had bought a so-called VIP ticket which meant that I didn't have to queue (that was its main benefit in my experience).
I did of course make a bee-line to see my own quilt which was in good company hanging next to Bailey Curtis's Cornish Memories a&b based on a residency in Cornwall and visits to standing stones and Newlyn.
Hilary Gooding, a fellow Contemporary Quilter, was awarded a Highly Commended for her piece 'Straplines' which featured many familiar sayings.
This quilt by Kathy Unwin titled 'Shieling' appealed to me both for it's colours and for the surface texture achieved by the added fabrics and stitch.
Inspired by music, Allegro Ma Non Troppo by Merce Gonzalez Desedamas.
Hilary Beattie's On The Edge which started as a seascape but evolved into an expression of Hilary's feelings about security, stability and safety. It won her a Judges' Choice Highly Commended award.
Hilary worked like a dervish on her stand demonstrating her creative skills and promoting her new book.
My lovely friend Sandra Wyman and her beautiful Dragonfly which earned her some excellent comments from the judges.
This double faced offering by Spanish quilters won the Group Quilt category. It was inspired by the changing electronic street publicity banners that are so much part of our cities.
This amazing, broken surface is part of a quilt in the Banjara Historic Indian Textile collection on display in one of the 'white' exhibition spaces. All the textiles on display had had long and hard previous lives and bore the evidence of their use. This particular surface made me think of the natural lines on the beach when the tide has gone out. Thoughts of trying to achieve a similar surface by exposing fabric to the elements are buzzing in my head.
Another piece by a friend, this is Bowled Over by Wendy who blogs as Emmelines Place. I watched parts of this flower bowl being made and I think it's beautiful.
This is Uta Lenk's Quilt Creation 'Euro Blues' which contains the word, blue, in about 25 languages and the single block log cabin folded symbolises the House of Europe visible from different angles.
This fabulous Quilted Corracle by Linzi Upton won the Quilt Creations category.
OK. Enough for one post. I'll leave you with this very colourful lady I spied in the aisles: