In August, I had the chance to travel again with Kathy Brassill of Handcrafted Holidays. Here’s my first look back at the Quilt Festival in Birmingham. That’s Birmingham, England. I’ve long wanted to go to this show, because quilters in other countries have different aesthetics, and it was evident throughout the exhibits. Right away, I noticed two differences between American and English quilt shows, and we need them both.
I thought the Gin and Fizz Bar was a catchy name for a vendor booth. Well, I was wrong. It was accurately named. Right in the middle of the exhibits, they served all kinds of drinks along with sandwiches for lunch and snacks. I saw tables of women chatting and sharing bottles of Prosecco. I wanted to join them!
The second fabulous difference was the special exhibits. Unlike American shows where the special exhibits are always more quilts, in Birmingham these exhibits are all kinds of fiber art. I saw just one special exhibit featuring quilts, and it was a series of wall hangings featuring aspects of Welsh quilting designs.
I attended one lecture. It was by India Flint, an Australian. I so wish she would come to the US and lecture and do a workshop for one of my guilds, the Columbia FiberArts guild. Flint is amazing–a great speaker and fascinating artist whose expertise is in eco-dyeing. Notice how she likes to present barefoot.
There was an artist whose lecture I would have loved to attend. That was Eszter Bornemisza, a Hungarian mixed media artist. Unfortunately, we attended the show the last two days, and she spoke during the first. I have seen her work in magazines for some time and admire it for the layering and use of non-fabric materials.
The special exhibits featured artists from all over the world. I found this Russian woman’s aesthetic amazing. She truly has her own style. Her name is Galina Krasnikova. Look at the great texture created through hand stitching in the detail image.
I actually ran into a few people I knew. One special exhibit titled Transparency and Transition featured the work of my friend Youngmin Lee. I traveled with a group she organized with two others to Seoul two years ago. She is a Pojagi or Bogaji expert. Here she is standing next to one of her works, “Remnants of Memory”.
The famous Michael James had a special exhibit featuring some of his latest work inspired by his travels in India. The influence is evident. The following piece is two-sided. I don’t know which I like best. The colors simply glowed. His techniques include digitally-developed and digitally-printed cotton, reactive dyes, hand-painted cotton, and textile pigments.