2 days, 2 lectures, 2 cameras

22,451 steps

107 photographs (should’ve taken more!)

So much inspiration, so little time! 

I attended the 2022 Festival of Quilts on Thursday and Friday 18th and 19th August. My mission was dual focused. In part, I was showcasing the Monadh quilt in the exhibition but I also wanted to chat to quilters about meaning making in quilt design, to test my ideas and think about new possibilities for pattern design.

I did this in spades! With my qualitative researcher hat on, I analysed the competition catalogue focusing on the modern and contemporary sections. I looked specifically for references to data and I read about the 140(ish) quilts exhibited in the modern and contemporary areas of the show. I took photographs of the quilts I thought might be inspired by data (to explore later), I hung out at my quilt and spoke to people, bringing to life the process of making the Monadh quilt in a way the competition catalogue wasn't able to do. 

I also attended a couple of lectures. These were really two of the best hours I spent at FOQ22. Luana Rubin shared thoughts on International Quilt Trends through a vast collection of images and Mary Fons unpicked (metaphorically) 20 (or 80!) showstopper quilts from the US and UK.

There was plenty of time to bask in the skill of some of the world’s most amazing quilters, and a little time for shopping too.

Where was everyone?

I come from an academic background where it’s common for poster presentations of research to include time where researchers are on hand to elaborate on their poster. I therefore expected there would be more quilters hanging out by their quilts, talking about the techniques they’d used, sharing the thoughts behind their quilts or stories stitched into them. This wasn’t really the case as far as I could tell. And yet I got so much out of doing this myself. Some ‘got’ my quilt straight away (the walkers saw the contour lines!). Others needed more of an explanation. ‘Great concept, great concept’ was my favourite thing I heard about my quilt.. 

Elton John probably doesn’t wear sequins every time he plays, right? 

Although I sort of hope he does. Show quilts bring it all and for that reason my quilt with its beautiful muted tones perhaps struggled to ‘sing’ when surrounded by so many bright, contrasting, bold colours and abstract patterns. This got me reflecting on where the data is embedded in the Monadh quilt and the potential for taking this further, beyond piecing to fabric choice and the quilting itself. I learnt about the distinction between the show quilt that I should design my room around and the home quilt, which fits easily in the spaces it's used. Both have their place and while I love those classic tonal fabrics, next year I'll be bringing rainbows and sequins!